Boulevard Brewing’s quadrupel ale, The Sixth Glass, comes with a stern piece of advice on the back. In capitalized, block-white letters on a black background, the potential drinker is admonished:
SERVE IN THE PROPER GLASS
with a little picture right above this warning of what the proper glass would look like.
Now, I could show you what the proper glass is but there are over 8 million entires under Google’s image search under ‘proper glass’. They cover pipes, slippers, magnifying glasses and a few less than subtle jokes that go on t-shirts college boys wear. To be honest, I don’t have the inclination to actually hunt down what they insist is the proper glass visually or physically. And I suppose now is as good a time as any to make my confession:
I am a good beer drinking barbarian.
I will drink from the bottle if there is no glass. I don’t care about the fancy pants labels on a beer if the beer is good. A clever name is nice but not required. Just give me the drink and I’ll take it from there. I don’t believe that the glassware enhances my drinking experience…ever.
Now, let me back away from that last statement just a touch. I am aware that beer is a sensory experience. Sight matters but not nearly as much as the aromas, which are critical to the process of drinking a beer, then the flavors of the beer. As a beer drinker I try to be aware of the feel of a beer so I can appreciate that part of the experience too. Of these inputs, smell is the one that is most blunted by drinking a beer from the bottle instead of a glass. In the case of some beers (and in this case I’m thinking of my experience with Session’s black lager) limiting the senses might improve the taste of a beer but for the most part, drinking beer out of a glass is preferable because you just get more out of it.
All that said, don’t try to sell me on ‘this glass is more important than that glass for x beer style’ because I think it’s utter hogwash.
In the meantime, the head on my quadrupel sits there like white frosting on a liquid bourbon cake. The beer warms up and the caramel flavors stretch out over my mouth, like a rubberband moving from the front to the back. The finish is a bit dry, not quite white wine levels of dryness but still enough to whet the appetite for more.
The proper glass? A full one. Pour me another, please. Happy New Year everybody!