CNN has a neat little story on the efforts to make a better beer container. It ends with the writer doing a comparison between a glass designed for IPAs and a regular pint glass.
Teasing aside, while I think it’s neat to have glasses specifically designed for a particular beer, there is one problem. With no less than 30 styles of beer and a minimum of two but usually three or more substyles beneath that, the obvious question comes up: “How would making glasses for each style be practical for anybody?”
If your IPA glass is great at keeping carbonation up throughout the drinking process, then what does that do to a style like a stout, which isn’t supposed to have the same level of carbonation? If the solution is: well, just get a stout glass, then the cost starts to get really absurd, if you like to drink many styles of beer (as I do) and you assume a cost of $10 a glass.
I have better things to do with $300. This is also why I didn’t care about glassware for the longest time: it was the kind of issue that seemed more trouble than it was worth. Even as I do the glass experiment, I have to admit that in most cases the improvement on my beer is notable but not overwhelming. Which brings up the next obvious question: “Why bother? Just give me a clean glass.”
Of course, that doesn’t take away from the functionality of a proper glass or the cool idea. Just because it’s a pain, doesn’t mean that the proper glass doesn’t improve the drinker’s experience. Advances that are too expensive now can be improved on and hopefully made cheaper, so we get better glassware for our across the board style of drinking. That doesn’t suck.