A Good Beer Blog


Have you read The Unbearable Nonsense of Craft Beer - A Rant in Nine Acts by Alan and Max yet? It's out on Kindle as well as Lulu.

Maureen Ogle said this about the book: "... immensely readable, sometimes slightly surreal rumination on beer in general and craft beer in particular. Funny, witty, but most important: Smart. The beer geeks will likely get all cranky about it, but Alan and Max are the masters of cranky..."

Ron Pattinson said: "I'm in a rather odd situation. Because I appear in the book. A fictional version of me. It's a weird feeling."


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ethan -

Wow, well *that* is astonishingly disappointing; I'll give you that. Innovative cannot honestly be said of it, clearly. Repurposed seems a better fit, or broadend, indeed. Remarkable. Nice find.

Peter Collins -

Yes, nice find indeed! I am not a huge fan of the design in the first place but to see the innovation and creativity bubble burst with this little discovery just adds icing to the cake. Well done!

Alan -

You know who must be scratching his head? Jim Koch who spends all the effort on a new design.

Bill K. -

Yea I don't really feel sorry for those that got all excited and forked over $10-$20 so that they can have this contraption.

Mirella -

Whaaat! An interesting find indeed...

Jeff Alworth -

Alan, this comes damned close to journalism. I urge you to reconsider these instincts in the future--they give blogging a good name.

dave -

My wife has been telling me we need more wine glasses. Two birds one stone, excellent.

Alan -

Jeff, if journalism is checking out the comment at Time a magazine's website then call me a journalist! ;-)

Gary Gillman -

The panels at the two breweries tested 12 designs, so (to me) it makes sense that one of them was an adaptation of something out there in a similar form. Perhaps some had more direct input than the one ultimately selected but it doesn't really matter. After all, the logic of oxygenating wine applies to beer too. If it's the first application to beer as seems the case, that validates the buzz IMO.

Personally, I think a glass should be pleasing to look rather than strictly functional. E.g. the traditional V-shaped tulip for pilsener has never been improved on.

That said, I don't think beer drinkers need any of these these things though. Just swirl the beer around to release CO2 and oxygenate it a bit, that's all you need to do. Or pour it into another glass from which you've drunk the water, say. This stuff isn't rocket science and it always amuses me to see brewers and glass makers come up with elaborate designs said to improve the drinking experience. I am no particular fan of the shaker but it's okay. True enough, I don't like to drink beer from the American handle glass (often bevelled) or a glass with a label on it, I don't know why, I just don't like them! But I'll just pour the beer into a water glass, that's all.

I'd rather see the effort expended in such matters put into making better beer or more beer.


Alan -


KentE -

What [a] moron<strike>s</strike> [I must be for coming across as a cheese eating schoolboy...(Ed.: OK, that was me. Watch your language.)]!

Did you expect Riedel to bring blobs of molten glass to blow into different shapes to try? You go to Riedel because they have a ton of glass shapes designed to enhance aroma and taste. You try what they have and tweak the best to suit your purpose. I like the thin glass, much like many of my German and Belgian glasses. The shaker pints that most pubs use are just one step above a ceramic dog dish. I think it is a great glass and will probably order a second so that I have from of each brewery.

KeentE -

Sorry if I offended. I'm 70 years old and have a low tolerance for ignorance. So many reasons to like this glass. It holds 19 oz. Enough to hold a pint plus a proper head. Most tasters and pints are filled to the brim with no room for head or aroma. Can't swirl a full glass. Just drank a Hopslam from the glass last night. As for selecting and tweaking an existing design, what's wrong with that? If it works, use it. I don't think many were drinking beer from the Riedel 'O' glasses until Sam and Ken came up with the idea. If you look at your Sam Adams Utopias glass, you will notice it is a tweaked Riedel whiskey tasting glass with a different foot.

Gary Gillman -

Well it's bigger for one thing, and it's hard to see (just from those pictures) what else might be different - maybe the glass, thickness, etc. I'd think the breweries looked at vessels resulting from ideas from the glass-makers and their own or some combination. I'm just speculating but there are probably only so many ways to oxygenate in a glass! (The narrower bottom clearly allows the liquid to "tumble" into the larger part like a waterfall sort of).

The idea itself is quite old isn't it, it is behind glasses being partly full at Munich Oktoberfest, or the old Canadian beverage room pitcher, pear-shaped with the bill-like spout, allowing an aerated and foamy pour in those old 12 ouncers (later 10). Before your time, Alan? Maybe not, you're getting up there too. :)



Gary Gillman -

Alan, by Oktoberfest I meant that I assumed those big dimpled glasses have a non-smooth inner surface from the dimpled stamping or moulding, plus too the fact that the glasses are filled to have a large head. If the inner surface is smooth (i.e. if I'm wrong about an irregular inner surface), some aeration would still come, from the big head on the beer i.e. as poured at Oktoberfests in Germany. I know some people don't like the big heads of foam because it reduces the beer being purchased, but there is a gustatory and digestive logic to this way of serving IMO. It's different with cask ale of course due to the very low pressure in the beer, but apart from that all beers including most craft beers are served pretty fizzy, as much or more than German lagers in fact.


Alan -

That for that, Kent. I am soon 50 years old and have limited tolerance for the sort of ignorance you displayed in your initial comment.

I don't care about the glass. I am pointing out the glaring gap in the big craft PR and the actual facts of how this came to be. It's clearly an off the shelf product that has been tweeked or at best a 5% shift of an existing model. I agree that there is nothing truly new under the sun. But in this case - unlike the Sam Adams glass - little that is unusual, by way of team creation or even design went into this news bite fodder.

As they say, haters gonna hate and the lack of respect shown to good beer fans in this PR effort is telling.

KentE -

I love good beer fans. Some of my best friends are good beer fans. I was just offended by the haters dissing Sam and Ken, two of my favorite brewers for a very long time.

Alan -

Well, I can only judge by actions and handsome is as handsome does.

Kurt -

This seems a crafty bit of PR...

ethan -

Who dissed Sam &/or Ken qua "brewers?" But it is undeniably the case that the campaign behind the glass falsely purports that the product was an innovation rather than a resizing- and yes, that's pretty lame. I'm not about to stop drinking Ruthless Rye- just not out of this glass.

Alan -

That was a pre-emptive "hater" slap, Ethan, as I saw that bleat coming. To question is to hate. Lock step crafty is no different that lock-step macro.

Pivní Filosof -

Stop bitching! You are hurting the movement and if the movement starts crying you will all feel guilty!

Chris -

No, not Ken and Sam! Where would we be without Ken and Sam!? Lost!

Roger -

BFD. These are not the same glass, though they somewhat resemble each other. The Spiegelau IPA glass is large enough to hold 16 ounces of beer plus a good head, and has laser-etched nucleation sites on the bottom (as does the Sam Adams glass). Besides being not quite as good for a full pint of IPA, the Riedel glass is more expensive, 2 for $29.50, compared to 1 for $9.00 for the Spiegelau IPA glass from either Sierra Nevada or Dogfish Head.

Dogfish -

Hi, all. Wanted to share some background on the development of the new IPA glass.

At the earliest design and tasting workshops, Sam and Mariah from Dogfish, Ken and Brian from Sierra, and Georg Riedel sampled from dozens and dozens of glasses from Spiegelau/Riedel's huge library. (You wine lovers out there know that Spiegelau has been around for more than four centuries, so there were a lot to choose from.)

Traits of various glasses that boosted the hop aromas and flavors of IPAs helped inform the direction of our glass, but the final design came from carefully refining eight original hand-blown glasses. This wasn't plucked from a shelf.

The Red and White glass did stand out in workshops -- but for all the wrong reasons initially. Our whole panel chuckled at the odd-looking base. However, after much testing it became obvious the function of the rolling base outweighed its fashion. The friction and surface area of those ridges aerate beer on its way in and out of the glass. Each member of our panel, voting without knowledge of anyone else's opinion, favored the base.

In later workshops we learned that the upper bowl of the Red and White glass was not best-suited to IPAs, so several one-off molds were made featuring different bowl geometries and dimensions on the rippled base. We labored over the right bowl diameter and flare angle to best direct and contain aroma for the drinker and finally came to agree on an ideal design. At that point, Spiegelau literally broke the mold. They no longer make any glass with the rippled base other than the IPA glass.

We all agreed that the IPA glass also had to hold a larger volume, too. At 19 ounces, it not only accommodates a 12-ounce pour at home, but also a 16-ounce bar pour with plenty of head. The bigger volume dictated a thicker base, which also houses laser-etched nucleation. The CO2 rising from Dogfish's tiny shark and Sierra's hop boosts the aromas of IPAs and helps sustain head.

We took our 50 collective years in craft beer, heeded the experience of a premier glass manufacturer, and created what we feel is an exceptional glass to enjoy IPA. We don't expect everyone to love it, but wanted you to know that it's not "off the shelf."

Cheers to those inspired to give it a try!

KentE [Making his Last Appearance] -

Thanks DFH for the input! I for one love the glass and intend to buy several more. BTW bloggers, I was wondering why if Grant's or Anchor or Ballantine or whoever you think made the first American IPA, then why don't you criticize other brewers for copying an existing beer style and hyping it?

Chris -

*Whoosh* that's the sound of the crux of the discussion going over Kent's head.

Alan -

Thanks anonymous Dogfish Head person. That makes much more sense than the original press releases. Much better story, too, though certainly a sibling of the shelf. Thanks for the update!

Kent, your ignorance of good manners and accusatory tone has earned you a comments ban. Way to go, troll.

Just plain Kent -

Alan, my comments were directed at the other commenters, not your blog. I feel they were unfairly giving negative comments about something on which they didn't have all the facts. I see a lot of that on blogs. There is a name for that that seems to offend you.

Alan -

Forgiven. But you need to appreciate we have a fairly positive tone around here or at least rely on strength of argument and good evidence in support of our position. This here blog is coming up on ten years so I am not concerned with what you see elsewhere other than being sometimes ashamed of my descendants.

Alan -

Note: The original statement from a story quoting Spiegelau Vice President Matt Rutkowski indicates that another Riedel glass was the inspiration, one that bears far less resemblance.

Joe D -

I was one of those to run out and buy the glasses from Dogfish and received them yesterday. While I was not able to do a side by side comparison of IPA's in a regular glass and the new one, I will say the hop aroma really seemed to pop out of the top of the glass. Also, while the rim seems so thin, the glass itself is top shelf. You get that nice bell chime when you flick your finger on the outside of the glass, so while it may not be crystal, it's definitely the most upscale beer glass I have.