Glasstronomy

Are you a fan of dimpled jugs or a perhaps more of a straight person? Maybe you’re partial to a shaker, a nonic, a chalice or a tulip? Do you not care a jot, if not you most definitely should..

As I may well have mentioned to you before, glassware is important to me and when I’m out at a bar or pub or wherever I have been known to throw a hissy fit after my beloved beer has not been given the respect it deserves. Just because it’s a foreign beer it does not mean that any old foreign branded glass will do.

orval-perfect-pourIt’s not about branding either, although I do think it helps with the overall experience. With some exceptions, for example an Orval chalice should only ever be seen with a nice foaming domed head of Orval in my opinion. But as with Orval, the shape of the glass has been designed with the particular beer or beer style in mind and that should be considered when you fill it with a tasty beverage. Check this brilliant info-graphic taken from the Brookston Beer Bulletin for examples.

It’s a similar picture at home too, in fact my glassware collection is starting to take over the house, that with the beer of course. But I do have a  favourite go-to glass that I use more than any other. It’s pictured below and it was part of a “classics – beer connoisseurs collection” I had given to me at last years beer bloggers conference after a session hosted by manufacturers Spiegelau. (pictured below)

41b52tu+s6L._SL500_AA300_The item in question is the stemmed glass on the right, listed as a stemmed pilsner glass, for me it’s more of a tulip-goblet hybrid and is perfect for aromatic IPA’s and such as it holds a good amount of beer, allows enough space for the head and most importantly focusses those lovely aromas.

IMG_5952Being honest all these glasses are fantastic, the quality is outstanding, the look and feel of each one is second to nothing I have ever used before and of course this improves the overall drinking experience. (No I am not being paid to write this by the way)

For this reason alone I was really excited to hear the news late last year that Spiegelau were collaborating with Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head and Ken Grossman of Sierra Nevada to create the perfect IPA glass. “Designed to showcase the complex and alluring aromatic profiles of American “hop forward” IPA beers, preserve a frothy head, enhance taste and mouthfeel, and present a comfortably wide opening for the drinker to savour each beer”.

So, despite my ever beer suffering wife’s plea for “no more beer glasses” I ordered some, and tonight am putting the new grand design to the test, head to head against the incumbent champion.

As a first observation before beer hits product, there’s a lovely feel to this glass, the precision edged lip is great as always, plus you have the slightly ridged base which feels good in the hand. The design also addresses perhaps the only flaw I could raise with some of the taller designs in that it is base weighted, these glasses are really fine, incredibly light and normally could easily be blown over in a breeze, this feels solid.

For the head to head I’m going to use a beer that I know should really benefit from the work that has gone into the design, it has an awesome aroma profile, full on taste and most importantly I know it is as fresh as fresh can be as it was direct from the brewery, Axe Edge IPA from Buxton.

IMG_5960Whilst there was nothing scientific about this test the beer was served at the same temperature, just chilled enough to try and maximise the aromas. At this point I should mention that my first worry about the design was unfounded, at first glance I thought it would be a nightmare to pour beer into, but on this first try at least, there was no problem at all.

IMG_5961After several passes of each on the nose I have to say it’s one nil to the new boy, Axe Edge is a proper tropical fruit fest anyway, but this really boosts those aromatic fruity notes right out like an Dyson-air powered hop cannon.

Surprisingly it wins on taste too, the difference isn’t huge but is noticeable unless there’s just a “new toy” placebo effect going on here, but I think not. Aroma and taste being linked, it makes sense that a glass that by design has a ridged inner surface to continuously boost aroma whilst you drink will push that aspect as you take beer into the mouth, that’s my theory anyway. 2 – 0.

To complete the clean sweep and to reiterate my earlier comment it feels great, I really like the feel of my old faithful goblet but this somehow just feels right, substantially chunky at its base to feel comfortable to hold without transferring too much heat from the hand, but remaining delicate in the upper body so as to keep the drinker, you and I, fully aware that this is no ordinary drinking vessel. Plus to top it all off the head retention, I assume being topped up by those clever ridges was excellent too, staying intact long after the other had subsided.

The verdict, well for me it’s pretty conclusive, for IPA’s at least this is my new glass of choice but I’m a glass geek for sure. Should you buy some, well that depends on how much you experiment and how much you are willing to spend and what you prefer to drink? The four glass set covers lots of styles and retails at about £30 direct from the website or from Amazon, whereas the twin pack of IPA specific glasses is £15, I’d happily recommend both to anyone serious about their beer.

If it helps to sway you though, both Sierra Nevada and Dogfish Head are donating all of their portion of proceeds from sales to hop research, a worthy cause for any hop head.

Check out Sam and Greg’s thoughts on the design process and finished product below:

I’m off for a refill..

Cheers

IPA Day – Thursday 2nd August 2012 – #IPADay

Remember this? One of many events that went ahead August 4th 2011.

I can’t help noticing that IPA Day seems to be passing us by this time around.

About this time last year Twitter and Facebook were awash with cracking beer events to commemorate the day and I recall being so jealous that I was not at any of them. I’ve hardly seen anything at all to make me green with envy and I know I’m not alone as even friends in London are struggling to find places to go.

“If you’re not familiar with a ‘randall’ its a device pioneered by US Brewery, Dogfish Head, which allows you to percolate finished beer through whole hops to deliver extra fresh hop aroma and flavour to the beer just before it gets to the tap.” (courtesy of Magic Rock Brewery Blog)

So far I’ve heard from The Grove in Huddersfield who host Magic Rock Brewery and will be serving two British draught IPA’s through “Hop Randalls”.

Port Street Beer House who will have the chaps from Summer Wine Brewery at the bar to launch their new Black IPA “Gorilla” and will be serving hot dogs from ‘Dirty Dogs“.

Finally last but by no means least The Free Trade Inn in Newcastle Upon Tyne who have a whole raft of cracking hop bombs for your delectation and delight.

Closer to home I heard from The Wharf in Macclesfield who although do not have a specific IPA Day event, are celebrating winning the CAMRA Pub of the Season award with several top class IPA’s. (If you too are running an event and want it noted here, just drop me a line and I’ll try to add details or list it in comments below the post.)

Online Event:

Now I’d love to be at any one or all of the above, but after a rather beer centric holiday and the financial constraints of an over exuberant Belgian beer haul I think it’s unlikely.

If find yourself in a similar situation and cannot make an event near you, how about joining me in the virtual beer bar on Twitter, Facebook or Google+. No rules or specific beer list,  just get yourself down to your local beer retailer, grab a few of your own favourite IPA’s and crack them open tomorrow night from 7:30PM (UK time) or when ever it suits you really dependant on circumstance or time zone.

Twitter hash tag for tweets is #IPADay and you’ll find me @filrd, please share this info on your feeds, Re-Tweet, Facebook or old fashioned email.

Poster info from events is below, check it out and make your plans, come on it’s IPA Day EVE!! 

IPA Day Thursday 4th Aug 2011

A Celebration of IPA, IPA DAY 4th AUGUST 2011 – #IPADay

This is just an update really from a post created a few weeks back to remind you that it is International IPA day TODAY and there’s still time to get involved.

As far as I can find out there are no events planned in the Stoke On Trent, Staffs or local Cheshire areas, which is a damn shame, especially if you look at some of the other fantastic things organised in places like Mr Foleys Bar in Leeds as an example.

Sadly I can’t get to this as we have an early start on the 5th, when we’re on a mission to hit GBBF, so it looks like a night in with my own IPA collection, but I’m open to ideas…

What will YOU be doing?

……

The following is the extract of the piece from Raise The Bar:

Announcing International #IPADay: A Social Celebration of Craft Beer 
Attention all craft beer evangelists, brewers, bloggers, and suds-savvy citizens! OnThursday, August 4th 2011, you are cordially invited to participate in the largest international craft beer celebration and virtual conversation the world has ever seen.
International #IPADay is a grassroots movement to unite the voices of craft beer enthusiasts, bloggers, and brewers worldwide through social media. On Thursday August 4th, craft beer drinkers across the social sphere and across the globe will raise pints in a collective toast to one of craft beer’s most iconic styles: the India Pale Ale. This celebrated style represents the pinnacle of brewing innovation with its broad spectrum of diverse brands, subcategories, and regional flavor variations – making it the perfect style to galvanize craft beer’s social voice.

#IPADay is not the brainchild of a corporate marketing machine, nor is it meant to serve any particular beer brand. #IPADay is opportunity for breweries, bloggers, businesses and consumers to connect and share their love of craft beer. Getting involved is easy; the only requirements are an appreciation for great beer and the will to spread the word. Anyone can participate by enjoying IPA with friends, making some noise online with the #IPADay hashtag, and showing the world that craft beer is more than a trend!http://ipaday.eventbrite.com/

Tips on How to Take Part:

1.       Organize an #IPADay event at your brewery, brewpub, restaurant, bar, home, or office (Ex:  An IPA dinner/cheese pairing/comparative or educational tasting/cask night/tap takeover…). Share your events on the official #IPADay forum at http://www.ratebeer.com.

2.       On August 4th, share your photos, videos, blog posts, tasting notes, recipes, and thoughts with the world. Be sure to include the #IPADay hashtag in your posts Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, WordPress, RateBeer, Foursquare, Gowalla, Yelp, Untappd or any other social media site.

3.       See what other people are saying by searching “#IPADay” on Google,search.twitter.com, et cetera…

4.       Track down your favorite IPA’s, ones you’ve been meaning to try, and ones you’ve never heard of; share them with friends and share your thoughts with the world.

5.       Have a good time and know that by sharing your experiences online, you’re strengthening the craft beer community at large.

We have managed to team up with some of the UK’s top craft beer outlets, The Port Street Beer House, Manchester, The Free Trade Inn, Newcastle, The Rake, London, The Southampton Arms, London, Mr Foleys, Leeds & others TBC…  To run #IPADay events, mini fests, live blogging, tastings & more! Also being the week of The Great British Beer Festival what could tie in better with the UK’s largest beer festival than a day dedicated to the world’s most loved beer style!

You are encouraged to share links, blog & tweet about the event & above all use all types social media to promote International IPA Day on August 4th. The twitter hashtag is #IPADay.

Get involved in this Worldwide collaboration & give IPA it’s very own day!!

Register Yourself on the Event Brite IPADay Page.


International IPA Day

A Celebration of IPA, IPA DAY 4th AUGUST 2011 – #IPADay

If you follow beer blogs or Twitter feeds I suspect you need to read no further as you will have already seen this announcement several times.

I received the attached update from a very excited Summer Wine Brewery, understandably so as they were chosen to be the European Host for the event. I love a good IPA and SWB are brewing some really exciting stuff at the moment, so the accolade I can assure you is well deserved.

Now all I need to do is decide whether to attend an event, organise one or join in the fun from the comfort of my living room, any ideas??

The following is the extract of the piece from Raise The Bar:
Announcing International #IPADay: A Social Celebration of Craft Beer 
Attention all craft beer evangelists, brewers, bloggers, and suds-savvy citizens! OnThursday, August 4th 2011, you are cordially invited to participate in the largest international craft beer celebration and virtual conversation the world has ever seen.
International #IPADay is a grassroots movement to unite the voices of craft beer enthusiasts, bloggers, and brewers worldwide through social media. On Thursday August 4th, craft beer drinkers across the social sphere and across the globe will raise pints in a collective toast to one of craft beer’s most iconic styles: the India Pale Ale. This celebrated style represents the pinnacle of brewing innovation with its broad spectrum of diverse brands, subcategories, and regional flavor variations – making it the perfect style to galvanize craft beer’s social voice.

#IPADay is not the brainchild of a corporate marketing machine, nor is it meant to serve any particular beer brand. #IPADay is opportunity for breweries, bloggers, businesses and consumers to connect and share their love of craft beer. Getting involved is easy; the only requirements are an appreciation for great beer and the will to spread the word. Anyone can participate by enjoying IPA with friends, making some noise online with the #IPADay hashtag, and showing the world that craft beer is more than a trend!http://ipaday.eventbrite.com/

Tips on How to Take Part:

1.       Organize an #IPADay event at your brewery, brewpub, restaurant, bar, home, or office (Ex:  An IPA dinner/cheese pairing/comparative or educational tasting/cask night/tap takeover…). Share your events on the official #IPADay forum at http://www.ratebeer.com.

2.       On August 4th, share your photos, videos, blog posts, tasting notes, recipes, and thoughts with the world. Be sure to include the #IPADay hashtag in your posts Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, WordPress, RateBeer, Foursquare, Gowalla, Yelp, Untappd or any other social media site.

3.       See what other people are saying by searching “#IPADay” on Google,search.twitter.com, et cetera…

4.       Track down your favorite IPA’s, ones you’ve been meaning to try, and ones you’ve never heard of; share them with friends and share your thoughts with the world.

5.       Have a good time and know that by sharing your experiences online, you’re strengthening the craft beer community at large.

We have managed to team up with some of the UK’s top craft beer outlets, The Port Street Beer House, Manchester, The Free Trade Inn, Newcastle, The Rake, London, The Southampton Arms, London, Mr Foleys, Leeds & others TBC…  To run #IPADay events, mini fests, live blogging, tastings & more! Also being the week of The Great British Beer Festival what could tie in better with the UK’s largest beer festival than a day dedicated to the world’s most loved beer style!

You are encouraged to share links, blog & tweet about the event & above all use all types social media to promote International IPA Day on August 4th. The twitter hashtag is #IPADay.

Get involved in this Worldwide collaboration & give IPA it’s very own day!!

Register Yourself on the Event Brite IPADay Page.