Glassware matters - Toss aside your shaker pints and don’t look back

By Neill Pieper

Photo: Neill Pieper

Photo: Neill Pieper

The craft beer industry is constantly updating the ways in which beer should be consumed. Crowlers, growlers, cans, bottles, kegs, mini-kegs, teku glasses – there is no end. But when it comes to glasses, it really does matter what you pour your beer into. As Broncos linebacker Von Miller has famously said, “You can’t put regular gas in a Ferrari.” Similarly, you wouldn’t put a $20 barrel-aged stout in a pint glass that still has remnants of your favorite college party beer. Bill Eye, the owner of Bierstadt Lagerhaus, said he would like to see brewers have the same respect for their beer as winemakers do for their wine. You wouldn’t put wine in a mason jar, so why would you put your pilsner into a chalice?

But it is confusing! When do you use a teku? A tulip? A beaker? Every glass has its time and place and as a general consensus, there is not one glass to rule them all. On the upside, there are a plethora of local options at your neighborhood brewery to kick-start your glass collection. Packed glass shelves and hoarding tendencies can lead to domestic disputes, so try to keep your collection in check.

We’ve done some of the work for you and picked out a few of Colorado’s coolest glasses, literally and figuratively. Left Hand’s IPA and stout glasses are designed to stay cold longer than regular pint glasses. 

So, pour your premium beer into a vessel worthy of its stature. Imbibe on.

Left Hand Brewing Co. Stout

Left Hand is THE Colorado stout and nitro brewery. Glass developer Spiegelau partnered with Left Hand on the development of its stout glass and the product is truly great. You’ll never go back to your regular pint glass. From the bottom of the glass to the top, it has been engineered for perfect stout consumption. Laser etchings on the bottom of the glass create a nucleating affect, sending bubbles to the surface, retaining head and accentuating aroma. Behind the Left Hand bar, beer slinger Steve Davis explained it best: “It’s like dropping a Mentos in a Coke.” The candy agitates the CO2 much like the nucleation point agitates the CO2 or nitrogen in a beer.

Left Hand Brewing Co. IPA

The Spiegelau IPA glass has been around for a while, yet it still seems to perplex. The rippled edges of the glass act as a “refresher” that aerates and balances the flavors while you drink. In both the stout and IPA glass, the “bowl” of the glass amplifies the hop and malt aromas, wafting the tropical, piney, chocolate, coffee flavors from your beer to your nose. The aromas of your beverage help shape your tasting experience. In addition, the extremely thin glass keeps your beer cold longer. 

Bierstadt Lagerhaus Pils

One of the most thoroughly designed and thought-through glasses in the lineup, the Pils glass from Bierstadt is a testament to better beer and the brewery’s German roots. The .3-liter size is designed to keep the beer the same temperature from start to finish. “Pilsners are delicate beers,” says Bill Eye, owner of Bierstadt Lagerhaus. “(Pilsners) are at their best at the same temperature for the whole experience.” The narrow opening helps concentrate aroma. According to Eye, German brewers believe the pilsner is the purest expression of their craft. The elegant beer style of the pils lends itself to the art deco feel of Bierstadt’s glass, which pays homage to their 1932 German brewhouse. The folks at Bierstadt believe in their product and glassware wholeheartedly. Bierstadt will only sell its beer to bars that adopt their glassware, in the hopes that consumers may enjoy their product the right way. 

Cerebral Brewing Co. Munique & Beaker 

Cerebral brews are served up in the munique tulip, perfect for multi-grained saisons or dry-hopped grisettes. Cerebral’s taster beaker, however, is one of the things we love most about the staff’s creative approach. The Cerebral beaker is simplicity and authenticity all wrapped into one. Taking great beer and displaying it in a fun and creative way keeps the analytical discourse on beer to a minimum and the focus where it should be: on camaraderie.

TRVE Brewing Co. Rastal 

With a lineup of American Wild Ales, TRVE deploys a Teku-style glass to embrace its counter culture vibe and beer. The TRVE team wanted a glass that highlighted all the hard work it takes to make their beers. An aesthetically appealing glass that also pronounces the nose (aromas) and flavors of the beer is important to the drinking experience.

Crooked Stave Artisans Tulip and Charente

One of the most versatile glasses in the lineup, the tulip (pictured) is suitable for a wide range of styles. This Belgian-imported glass is great for head retention and aroma. The delicate nature of this glass lends itself to smaller swigs. Andy Acker, taproom manager at Crooked Stave,  points out their lineup of sour beers are made to be sipped and not chugged. Both the tulip style and Crooked Stave’s new Charente glass (not pictured) are made to reflect a drinking experience similar to that of wine. Swirling your beer around the bowl of the glass releases volatiles that increase the aroma and taste.

Photo: Neill Pieper

Photo: Neill Pieper

When he’s not in a brewery or on the mountain, Neill Pieper works on marketing and digital media for Thirst Colorado.