Beer drinking has gone through ebbs and flows, persecution, acceptance, and now finally the detailed attention this ancient libation deserves. From beer’s humble beginnings dating back to, at the very least, the fifth millennium B.C.E., to the precise science that has enveloped juxtaposing flavors, innovative brewing processes and the ever evolving list of styles, beer has become the bridge between blue collar and white.
Thankfully, the Boston Beer Company (Sam Adams) saw the need to put this liquid present in its proper wrapping, and developed the Better Beer Glass.
“We wanted to create a glass that offers beer lovers a full sensory drinking experience by fully showcasing Samuel Adams Boston Lager’s complex balance of malt and hop flavors. This glass achieves that mission.” – Jim Koch.
While many have believe that size matters most, the shape seems to dominate the importance in the case of beer barware. The most common glass you’ll find is the traditional pint glass, that follows a straight line, tapering from a small base to a wider opening, the Sam Adams Glass combines the foundation of a pilsner glass with the flare of a tulip, allowing for aeration to work it’s magic through the glass. This, almost upside-down cello, looking glass, gives a burst of glass at the top, letting the bubbling beer hit the palate in such a way that genuinely makes a bottled beer taste as if it was off tap.
Like many men, I have done multiple years of “research“, exploring flavor profiles, the intricacies of beer, and what glasses bring to each style.
I wish that were true.
In truth, beer is a beverage best served cold, and in my hand. When I first read about this glass, several years ago, I threw the fact that Jim Koch worked with real life scientists out the window and drank my beer however it was served to me.
After delving into the opinions, the nay-sayers, the supporters, and the overall availability, I decided to toss my palate into the ring and give it a shot, or in this case a pint. To keep things fair, and to toss a wrench in the words of Mr. Koch, I purchased a Pale Ale microbrew that is somewhat readily accessible across the US, and popped the top of several bottles, and poured them into different glasses with a single bottle as my control. Going against the idea of a Lager, I wanted to see for myself if this glass would stand up to a different style of beer, rather than just a Sam Adams Boston Lager. From water glasses to a towering pilsner glass, I filled each one to the brim and gave them all the same treatment as I poured.
As I watched the head form on each of the poured beers, I noticed something interesting about the Sam Adams glass. A tiny funnel of bubbles continuously streamed from the bottom of the glass, acting almost as if there were a nitrogen widget lodged in the bottom of the pint. These bubbles formed around a small laser-etched circle, and then gracefully floated to the top, brining with them the same effervescence of a tap pour.
Sipping each offering, there was no denying that Jim had done his job, and unlocked an ancient knowledge, long-since forgotten, on how to achieve a tap pour out of a bottle. The glasses are no more expensive than those glasses you bought as part of a random birthday gift for your friend last year. The thing that sets these glasses apart from the other tasting vessels is that these work; they really work.
My 100% scientific conclusion is that these feats of engineering do, in fact, make beer taste better. Casting style and label aside, the accentuated tulip style gives the bubbles a chance to develop the flavor profile of the beer, as they rise from the laser etching. This effect adds depth, and allows for the nuances to come to the forefront on the palate. Simply put: this glass is worth double the price if it makes your bottled beer taste like it comes from your favorite tap at your local watering hole.
If beer matters to you, or if you are simply looking for a new glass to replace the one you broke last week, put these to the test and watch, or taste, how it out shines expectations.