If you’re a devout lover of craft beer – the getting excited about new brews, going to beer festivals, subscribing to beer newsletters kind – then you’ll have a decent understanding of how beer styles differ. Each has its own delicate balance of characteristics and flavours, and how you serve your beer can have a huge impact on how you experience these.
The Craft Beer Series
Over the past decade, extensive sensory testing has proven that style-specific beer glasses make a difference to your enjoyment. In fact, we’re here to tell you that your beer will smell and taste better when served in the right shaped glass.
Spiegelau introduced the Beer Classics series as the first step to encourage beer drinkers to move from the bottle to the glass. Following this release, a chance meeting with two of North America’s most prominent brewers of India Pale Ale (IPA) led to the creation of one of Spiegelau’s most successful products: a style-specific glass for IPA and the development of the Craft Beer series. Spiegelau went on to design another four glasses to bring out the optimal flavours of unique craft beer styles as part of this series, working with independent brewers and industry leaders to refine and develop the products.
India Pale Ale originated in the mid-18th century, when India came under British rule and Britain began exporting beer to India. Much paler than many other beers at the time, it was made using large quantities of hops, which added a distinctive bitterness and preserved the beer well for travel. By the late 19th century, IPA was being produced in North America, Canada and Australia.
This glass was developed in collaboration with Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery and Ken Grossman of Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, and has made a huge impact on the industry for its ability to highlight the complexity of the beer’s aromas.
Its unique shape enhances the citrus and grapefruit aromas of the hops, and balances the strong bitter characteristic of the IPA with the sweetness of the malt. Its distinct ridges also work to aggravate the beer, refreshing the head with each sip.
This beer style was developed when British porters drifted over to Ireland in the 18th century. It is a dark beer made by top-fermenting using barley that has been roasted until it turns black. Initially called “Stout (strong) Porter,” it eventually came to be known simply as “Stout.”
It is characterized by its coffee or chocolate-like fragrance, and smooth texture. At its best, Stout balances bitterness, which comes from roasting the barley, with sweetness, which is derived from the malt.
This product was developed in collaboration with Eric Wallace of Left Hand Brewing Company and Brett Joyce of Rogue Ales. The shape brings out the rich aroma of roasted malt that is characteristic of Stout. It creates a harmonious equilibrium between the coffee or chocolate aromas and the beer’s bitterness. The glass shape also encourages a rich, creamy head.
American Wheat Beer / Witbier
Wheat Beers have been crewed for more than six centuries, with its style and character evolving over time. Its popularity suffered a hit in the 18th century, when the quality of barley malt beers improved, but is now one of the most popular styles in Bavaria and Germany.
American Wheat Beer has a refreshing flavour, made using 30-75% malted wheat. The style is characterized by a delicate and fruity aroma and a soft texture on the palate. Witbier is a fruity and spicy Belgian-style white ale, made from malted barley and unmalted wheat, and can be flavoured with orange peels and coriander.
This glass was developed in collaboration with Laura Bell of Bells Brewery. Its shape encourages the fruity ester aroma, which is typical of American wheat beer and Belgian-style Witbier, while still maintaining balance with its characteristically refreshing style.
Barrel Aged Beer
Barrel Aged Beer represents the height of a brew master’s talent and passion. The beers are usually stored in a second-use timber from a winery or distillery, and may have been used to store champagne, wine, cognac or rum. With unlimited options, the possibilities with Barrel Aged Beers are endless.
Long-term wood aging imparts the most complex expression possible with regard to the aroma, taste, mouth feel, and finish of these special beers. Barrel Aged Beers are truly a connoisseur’s choice.
This product was developed in collaboration with the brew masters of four of the world’s great producers of Barrel Aged Beer. It is the result of two years of development and partnership with Great Divide Brewing Company (Denver, Colorado); Green Flash Brewing Company (San Diego, California); Uinta Brewing Company (Salt Lake City, Utah); and Cigar City Brewing (Tampa Bay, Florida).
This style originated in the Bohemian town of Pilsen in 1842, produced by a Bavarian brewer named Josef Groll. It was distinctive due to the use of paler malts, and was the world’s first pale lager.
Pilsner-style beers have an aromatic structure that is especially characterised by delicate hop aromas. It also has high carbonation, producing a thick head, and a light refreshing body.
This product was developed in collaboration with renowned Austrian brewery Trumer Privatbrauerei. Headquartered in Obertrum near Salzburg, Trumer is considered a specialist in pilsner-style beers. The shape of the glass helps release the delicate hops, by accentuating the aromatic structure of this style, and encouraging the carbonation. It provides the ideal balance between bitter and residual sweetness to deliver pure refreshment.
As much as budget and shelf space allows, we encourage you to start experimenting with your glasses to discover the right products for your favourite beers. Pour the same beer from one glass shape to another, or try the same beer at different temperatures.
For a shortcut way to experience this for yourself, join us at one of our Craft Beer Tastings. Click here to find events in your area, or sign up to our newsletter to hear when new events are planned.