Beer glass overkill


I’m a sucker for a gimmick. Especially a beer gimmick. Take that beer glass above. It’s called the Uncle Frank and it started appearing in an insane amount of social media photos in Australia. At one stage it seemed like every single craft beer being drunk in this country was in one.

So of course I ended up buying one.

And I found out it wasn’t too bad. Sure, it’s size and shape may not be the ideal for total sensory delivery of the beer, but that lip at the top makes it so damned comfortable for drinking. It kind of reminds me of drinking straight from the can.

But that’s it – I’m not buying any more beer glasses. As it is I’ve already got far too many. In fact, I could probably chuck away all but four of them.

All I’d need is the Uncle Frank, the Tulip glass, the half-pint glass and the big witbeer glass for those 500ml hefes I love so much.

Because, if you ask me (and you’re reading my blog, so you sort of are) we’ve reached overkill when it comes to beer glasses. We’ve gotten so frigging precious about drinking the right beer from the right glass.

I used to do it. I bought that damned Spiegelau IPA glass and kept using it, even though I secretly hated it. I hated the way it looked like some prop from a shitty 1970s telemovie. I hated the way it felt in my hand. I hated that I worried it would overbalance every time I put my beer down. I even hated the way I feared it shattering every time I washed it up.

Man, I hated that glass so much. Any alleged improvement in the aroma or taste of the beer was totally cancelled out by that level of hatred. And I say ‘‘alleged’’ because the more I used it the more I became convinced any level of improvement was illusory. Or, if it was actually there, my nose and palate would never be sophisticated enough to detect it. So what was the frigging point.

READ MORE: The worst beer glass ever

But like an idiot I bought their stout glass too. Even though it looks almost identical to that IPA glass I hate so much. And has the same problems with balance and just goddamn awfulness to drink from. Did it make stouts taste any better? Nope.

Recently I’ve found out Spiegelau has brought out a witbier beer glass. And dear God, it looks almost the same as the other too. Imagine a stout glass with most of the base cut off and you’ve got it. Anyway, here’s a photo of the family.
Scary how similar they all look, isn’t it? Reckon you could drink a witbier from the stout glass and get the same effect? I do. Among the description of the glass Spiegelau claims the ‘‘laser cut lip ensures crisp, clean delivery in every sip’’. Please, it’s just a damn beer glass.

People, this is too much. We need to stop with this excessive beer wank bullshit.

It doesn’t take genius to see Spiegelau has just seen the beer geek as a new market segment. Nor does it take a genius to figure they won’t stop here. What’s the bet they’ll figure out the IPA glass isn’t optimal for a double IPA and launch something else? Or another glass for black IPAs? Or lambics?

In your gut you know it’s going to happen.

In your gut you also likely know these glasses don’t really make all that much difference.

So instead just pick a few glasses and stick to them. Don’t worry about whether they have laser-cut lips, 600 nucleation sites for the rapid delivery of aroma or other such wankspeak. Pick the ones you actually like, the ones that truly feel good in your hand. The ones you don’t have to worry about breaking every damn time you touch them.

While I have four in the list it’s the Uncle Frank and the tulip that get the bulk of the workout. At a pinch, I could even use the tulip for just about everything.

Whether you’re a newbie or a hardened beer geek, don’t get hung up on the glass. At the end of the day, the enjoyment is supposed to come from what’s in the glass and not the glass itself.

10 replies »

  1. I, too, am a sucker for beer gimmicks and glasses. I do enjoy my Spiegelau IPA glass though and it gets a (very) frequent run out for most of my beer consumption. I will draw the line at the Uncle Frank. I will not go there as it reminds me too much of a jar – a mason jar – which I believe to be the ultimate in beer wankery.

    • I agree with you about Uncle Frank’s similarity to a mason jar. But the crucial difference is in the lip, where it has none of those screw-top ridges. The Uncle Frank feels very much like drinking from a can to me.

  2. Some glasses just speak to you….and it’s hard to resist. My go-to glasses are usually the wrong shape for what I’m ‘meant’ to be drinking.

    And I agree the Spiegelau glasses have never appealed to me.

  3. I’m with 250 Beers on this one. I’m not a fan of the Frank at all. I reckon I have 4 different glasses that I use as well. I do like the Spiegelau IPA glasses, which I got as part of a Good Beer Week event last year and I have a couple of Stout glasses, which I bought when they were priced pretty well on the website earlier in the year. More testing is still required on the stout glasses, but I think i would have been happy enough with the tulips which I also own a couple of. The other glass I use a lot for beer is a stemless red wine glass.
    I have no doubt there will be heaps more beer glasses from Spiegelau. Go have a look at the Reidel (Spiegelau’s parent company) website and see how many variations on wine glasses they have

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