Category Archives: Glassware

Scenes from an Allagash Brewery Tour in Portland, Maine

Yesterday I spent the day in Portland, Maine, hitting up various beer nerd spots, including Allagash Brewing Co., where I took part in a tasting and a brewery tour.

If you’re ever in the Portland area, I definitely recommend a stop at Allagash. Even if you’ve never been to Maine and/or don’t plan on visiting any time soon, the following images give you an idea of what you’d see during a tour of one of New England’s, and America’s, best and most creative Belgian-inspired breweries.

The entrance to Allagash' brewery on a rainy day in Portland, ME

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Allagash Coolship Cerise and FV13 sour ale for sale in the retail store. Coolship bottles are only sold at the Allagash Brewery.

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Allagash beer and tshirts for sale in the retail store

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Allagash brewing and fermenting tanks

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Mini kegs of Allagash’s rare Coolship Resurgam in the barrel-aging room

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UBN

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One More Reason to Dig Dogfish Head

Dogfish Head for Life beer coaster

I’ve been drinking beer from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery for nearly a decade. I remember the first bottle of Dogfish 90 Minute IPA I drank at an Irish pub called the Squealing Pig in Boston’s Mission Hill neighborhood. It blew me away and sparked a love affair with hops and IPA.

I support Dogfish first and foremost because it brews great beer. But I also support the brewery because it’s a cool, socially responsible company with a sense of humor that genuinely cares about and values its customers. (Read, “5 Funky Facts I Learned About Dogfish from Founder Sam Calagione’s Book,” for more on Dogfish.)

Case in point: I purchased Dogfish’s new Spiegelau IPA glass the day it was released via Dogfish’s online store. Less than a month later, my glass cracked while I was hand washing it under very hot water. I didn’t drop the glass. I didn’t bump it. It didn’t shatter. It just cracked straight down its side, from the rim of the glass to close to the bottom of its “bowl.”

I tweeted about the incident, and Dogfish quickly responded, asking me to send details to its customer support account. I did so, received an email response within 24 hours and a new Dogfish IPA glass in just a few days.

Dogfish didn’t have to send a new glass; I honestly didn’t expect to get another one for free. Glasses break, right? Especially when people are drinking alcohol out of them.

That said, I also probably would not have purchased another Spiegelau IPA glass. I collect beer glasses. I own other Spiegelau glasses. I have other Dogfish glasses, and I have never had one break while simply washing it, without bumping it or anything. This makes me question the viability of the design of the IPA glass. Its features work just as Dogfish, its partner in design Sierra Nevada and Spiegelau intended them to. It provides an quality IPA drinking experience. But the glass is so thin along its rim that I bet I won’t be the only person to see their IPA glass break for no good reason.

Time will tell, but I’m still dubious. Either way, I appreciate the new glass. And even more, I appreciate the gesture of good faith. Thanks Dogfish. (Shout out to Janelle at Dogfish who responded to my email and quickly sent along a new glass.)

UBN

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Spiegelau Beer Connoisseur Glasses for the Discerning Beer Nerd

Spiegelau Beer Connoisseur Glasses

Specialty-glass-maker Spiegelau has been getting a lot of attention this month thanks to the introduction of its new IPA glass, which was designed along with Dogfish Head Craft Brewery and Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. (That glass looks remarkably like a wine glass from Riedel, a Spiegelau sister company, but that’s another story altogether.)

Spiegelau has been making fancy glasses for beer aficionados for quite some, though. In fact, Spiegelau’s Beer Connoisseur set, which is composed of one wheat beer glass, one lager/blond glass, one tulip and a tall pilsner glass, is probably my favorite set of unbranded glassware. I got my set as a gift from my girlfriend, and I use it constantly. I prefer to use branded glassware whenever I can—I’m just as much of a beer-glass nerd as I am a regular ol’ beer nerd. But, honestly, the quality of these four Spiegelau glasses is higher than 90 percent of the branded glasses in my collection anyway, and I drink so many different kinds of beer that using corresponding branded glassware isn’t always an option.

Spiegelau glass is very thin and delicate. And it’s also quite expensive. This set of four glasses sells for $49.90 plus shipping in the official Spiegelau’s online store, but Amazon.com will sell you the same set for $39.99 plus shipping. (Free shipping is available for Amazon Prime members.) All of the glasses have the Spiegelau logo on their bases.

From Spiegelau:

“Each of these glasses is especially blown thin, and has a thin rim that lifts the perception of mouth feel and taste. The beer specific glass shape supports the beer in releasing its full spectrum of flavors and delivers them to nose and mouth.”

My favorite glass is the tulip, because I drink a lot of Belgian and Belgian-style ales that are best suited to this type of glass. It’s very well designed, and it just feels elegant. I also use the lager glass quite a bit for lagers and hoppy ales—though I’ve mostly been using the Dogfish Spiegelau glass for IPAs.

Spiegelau Beer Connoisseur Glasses Logo

Amazon.com says they are dishwasher safe, but I always hand wash my glasses just in case; they don’t feel dishwasher safe.

Again, these glasses aren’t cheap but if you take care of them they should last a long time. And they genuinely do enhance the beer-drinking experience.

UBN

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Dogfish, Sierra IPA Glass Looks a Hell of a Lot Like Riedel’s Red + White Wine Tumbler

Dogfish Sierra Spiegelau IPA Glass and Riedel Wine Tumbler

UPDATE: Dogfish commented on the similarities between its new IPA glass and Riedel’s Red + White wine glass on a related post on A Good Beer Blog. Here’s what it had to say:

“Hi, all. Wanted to share some background on the development of the new IPA glass.

“At the earliest design and tasting workshops, Sam and Mariah from Dogfish, Ken and Brian from Sierra, and Georg Riedel sampled from dozens and dozens of glasses from Spiegelau/Riedel’s huge library. (You wine lovers out there know that Spiegelau has been around for more than four centuries, so there were a lot to choose from.)

“Traits of various glasses that boosted the hop aromas and flavors of IPAs helped inform the direction of our glass, but the final design came from carefully refining eight original hand-blown glasses. This wasn’t plucked from a shelf.

“The Red and White glass did stand out in workshops — but for all the wrong reasons initially. Our whole panel chuckled at the odd-looking base. However, after much testing it became obvious the function of the rolling base outweighed its fashion. The friction and surface area of those ridges aerate beer on its way in and out of the glass. Each member of our panel, voting without knowledge of anyone else’s opinion, favored the base.

“In later workshops we learned that the upper bowl of the Red and White glass was not best-suited to IPAs, so several one-off molds were made featuring different bowl geometries and dimensions on the rippled base. We labored over the right bowl diameter and flare angle to best direct and contain aroma for the drinker and finally came to agree on an ideal design. At that point, Spiegelau literally broke the mold. They no longer make any glass with the rippled base other than the IPA glass.

“We all agreed that the IPA glass also had to hold a larger volume, too. At 19 ounces, it not only accommodates a 12-ounce pour at home, but also a 16-ounce bar pour with plenty of head. The bigger volume dictated a thicker base, which also houses laser-etched nucleation. The CO2 rising from Dogfish’s tiny shark and Sierra’s hop boosts the aromas of IPAs and helps sustain head.

“We took our 50 collective years in craft beer, heeded the experience of a premier glass manufacturer, and created what we feel is an exceptional glass to enjoy IPA. We don’t expect everyone to love it, but wanted you to know that it’s not ‘off the shelf.’

“Cheers to those inspired to give it a try!”

This is a solid response from Dogfish. It was open and honest about using the Red + White glass design as inspiration, and it explained the subtle differences between it and the IPA glass. Again, the brewer initially represented this glass as something entirely new and different, and it clearly is not. I wouldn’t necessarily expect Dogfish or Sierra to explain that they got the design from an existing wine glass in their promotional blog post but some background information on the design process, like the information they shared above, would have been helpful and could have been posted on their online stores.

As I wrote in my post, this glass really does enhance the IPA-drinking experience, if for no other reason than it’s a high-quality glass that makes drinking an IPA feel more special. I like mine a lot. So it’s a good thing for beer drinkers willing to spend $9, plus shipping, on experimental glassware, even if Dogfish, Sierra and Spiegelau were a bit misleading when they introduced it.

Last week Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. and specialty glass-maker Spiegelau released a fancy new glass, which Dogfish called “a new standard for IPA glassware.”

Well, the glass may be a new standard for IPA glasses, but its design apparently isn’t original at all. In fact, it looks remarkably similar to Riedel’s O Wine Tumbler Red + White wine glass.

The only differences between the two that I can see are the capacities—the Spiegelau IPA glass holds 19 ounces, and the Riedel glass holds 17 ¼ ounces. And there’s a “laser-etched logo on the bottom of the bowl to sustain carbonation and head” on the Spiegelau glass that isn’t found on the Riedel version. The Riedel version also costs about twice as much as the Spiegelau glass, at least on Amazon.com. (Dogfish and Sierra are selling single glasses for $9 plus shipping; Amazon.com has a set of two Riedel wine tumblers for $39.99 plus shipping.) And, of course, the Riedel version doesn’t have a Dogfish or Sierra logo on its side.

It’s also worth noting that Riedel owns Spiegelau. In 2004, Spiegelau was purchased by Georg Riedel, the owner of Riedel Glass Works, and it is now part of the Riedel/Nachtmann/Spiegelau Group. So Riedel owns Spiegelau, and it’s feasible that they would share glass designs.

I really like the Dogfish/Sierra glass, because it’s made of high-quality glass, and it’s different than any other beer glass I have. But I admit, I feel kind of misled by Dogfish and Sierra, who seem to have positioned their IPA glass as an original design. They never really came right out and said that, but they certainly implied it.

In the end, none of that really matters; the glass enhances the IPA experience, so it’s good for craft beer and craft beer drinkers. But something about how Dogfish and Sierra presented the new glass rubs me the wrong way.

UBN

A Good Beer Blog via BeerPulse.com

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Hands/Lips On with Dogfish’s New Spiegelau IPA Glass

Dogfish Head Spiegelau IPA Glass and 75 Minute IPA

Guess who just got a visit from Shippy Shipperton.

Last week I posted about Dogfish Head Craft Brewery’s fancy-schmancy new IPA glass from German glass-maker Spiegelau, and I promptly ordered one of the glasses. Today, my Spiegelau IPA glass arrived, and I’m currently using it to consume a frosty Dogfish 75 Minute IPA.

Along with Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.’s Ken and Brian Grossman, Dogfish founder Sam Calagione and his wife Mariah designed their IPA glass to have the following attributes:

  • Thin, round walls to maintain proper temperature longer.
  • A slender, bowed shape to amplify hop aromas.
  • Wave-like ridges to aerate beer on its way in and out of the glass.
  • A wide mouth, allowing drinkers to comfortably nose the beer.
  • A laser-etched logo on the bottom of the bowl to sustain carbonation and head.

Anybody who is familiar with Spiegelau glassware knows it is of exceptional quality, but it’s also extremely thin and delicate. The Dogfish IPA glass is no different, and I bet lots of clumsy and/or inebriated Dogfish drinkers will be breaking these badboys in the not-so-distant future. But if you’re careful with the glass, wash it promptly after use and store it somewhere safe, this fine piece of funky German glassware should serve you well in your adventures with hoppy brews.

Dogfish Head Spiegelau IPA Glass

The Dogfish Head Spiegelau IPA glass is kind of fucking weird looking. But so am I, so I’m okay with that. And I must admit this IPA tastes—and smells—pretty darn good right now. Pretty, pretty, pretty good.

Learn more about Dogfish Head’s nine-dollar, 19-ounce Spiegelau IPA glass on the brewer’s website. And you can buy a Sierra Nevada branded Spiegelau IPA glass for the same price on SierraNevadaGiftShop.com.

UBN

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Dogfish Head Releases Fancy New Spiegelau IPA Glass

Dogfish, Sierra Nevada SpiegelauIPA Glass

A couple of weeks ago, I told you about Dogfish Head Craft Brewery’s A Hop Eclipse Now promotion, as part of which it will release two new IPAs and a fancy new beer glass. Today the brewer took the wraps off the glass, which is made by German-glass manufacturer Spiegelau, and it’s calling the glass “a new standard for IPA glassware.”

Dogfish apparently worked along with Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. on the glass design.

“I’ve been a longtime believer in the importance of using quality glassware to enhance the enjoyment of quality craft beer,” says Dogfish Head Founder and President Sam Calagione. “The process of collaborating on the design of this hop-centric glass takes this concept to the next level.”

Dogfish, Sierra Nevada and Spiegelau IPA Glass

From Dogfish.com:

“Calagione, his wife, Mariah, and Sierra Nevada’s father-son team of Ken and Brian Grossman worked hand-in-hand with Spiegelau to bring this glass to life. Through a series of design and tasting sessions, the team created a glass with:

  •     Thin, round walls to maintain proper temperature longer.
  •     A slender, bowed shape to amplify hop aromas.
  •     Wave-like ridges to aerate beer on its way in and out of the glass.
  •     A wide mouth, allowing drinkers to comfortably nose the beer.
  •     A laser-etched logo on the bottom of the bowl to sustain carbonation and head.”

The glasses are available now online for $9 each at Dogfish.com and at the brewer’s Delaware brewpub. I’m a huge fan of all three parties involved. I own a set of Spiegelau Beer Connoisseur glasses, and I love them.  And I already ordered a pair of these new glasses.  To be honest, they’re kind of awkward and ugly looking. But I’m a beer-glass nerd on top of being a regular beer nerd, and I these new glasses will be a nice addition to my glassware collection. Can’t wait to fill ’em up with some Rhizing Bines IPA.

UBN

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Dogfish Head ‘A Hop Eclipse Now:’ New IPAs, New Glass and New Randall the Enamel Animal

Dogfish Head A Hop Eclipse Now

Dogfish Head Craft Brewery today announced a new promotion it is calling “A Hop Eclipse Now”—a play on the title of the classic film “Apocalypse Now”—and it will be unveiling two new IPAs, a new beer glass and a “new” Randall the Enamel Animal fresh-hopping device during the next few months.

The idea behind A Hop Eclipse Now is to celebrate the current popularity of IPAs and other hoppy beers in America right now, as well as spotlight Dogfish’s rich history of brewing hoppy ales.

The brewery hasn’t specified which new IPAs will be unveiled, though he did say one of them will be fruit infused, not unlike its Hellhound on My Ale IPA. That beer is expected to be released on March 1, and it could be called A Hop Eclipse Now. And a few months ago Dogfish announced that it is working on another collaboration brew with Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., an imperial IPA called Rhizing Bines, so that could be one of the new hoppy brews. Dogfish also didn’t unveil its new glass design yet, but the brewery’s founder Sam Calagione says the glass will be shown off in early February. And the following image, taken from the end of the A Hop Eclipse Now video clip below, gives us an idea of what the new Dogfish glass could look like.

Dogfish Head New Glass Design?

Calagione also says Dogfish will begin selling mini Randall the Enamel Animal fresh-hopping gadgets soon, and the Dogfish website says the $20 Randall Jr.s will begin shipping in February. Dogfish also listed the next-generation, full-size Randall, called Randall 3.0, for sale last month.

Finally, as part of the A Hop Eclipse Now celebration, Dogfish will host a number of related beer dinners across the United States starting on February 7 in Philadelphia and ending March 17 in Cambridge, Maryland. (I’m kind of pissed off that none of them are close to Boston, but I guess that’s my problem. Meh.)

Find more information on Dogfish’s A Hop Eclipse Now and the related new products and beer dinner’s on the brewer’s website or watch the above video.

UBN

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Relive Cantillon Zwanze Day 2012 with T-Shirts and Tulip Glasses

Cantillon Zwanze Day 2012 Tulip Glasses

Saturday, December 1 was this year’s Cantillon Zwanze Day, and I was fortunate enough to attend a Zwanze celebration in Cambridge, MA. (For information on Zwanze Day and a recap of the Zwanze Day event , read this post.)

Like many beer nerds, I collect beer glassware. And some of the more difficult glasses to obtain are Cantillon glasses. Sure, you can order some of them online from Belgium, but the shipping costs more than triple the price of an already expensive glass. So I’m always on the lookout for different ways to obtain Cantillon glassware.

Prior to the 2012 Zwanze Day celebrations, I’d read a number of recaps about Zwanze events in past years at which attendees could purchase Cantillon Zwanze glasses. So I was really looking forward to grabbing a few at Lord Hobo in Cambridge. But unfortunately, Lord Hobo didn’t have Zwanze glasses or any other Cantillon crap for sale. (I later read that the bar was supposed to get t-shirts and glasses, but they never showed up on time, but I’m not sure if that’s true or not.)

Cantillon Zwanze Day 2012 T-Shirt

So I had to take things into my own hands. After some online research, I found a liquor store in Chicago that’s selling both Cantillon Zwanze 2012 tees and tulip glasses. The glasses have the West Lakeview Liquors name on them, but that’s a small price to pay for a unique Cantillon glass. (West Lakeview hosted its own Zwanze celebration on December 1.) Now if you didn’t attend any of the events, or you’re just not particularly interested in Cantillon glassware, you might be wondering why you should care. But if you’re thinking that than fuck you, man, I didn’t tell you to read this post.

If you do care, you too can get yourself Cantillon Zwanze 2012 glasses and t-shirts from West Lakeview Liquors. The glasses cost $9.99 each, and I paid $21.99 for my shirt–$19.99 plust $2 for the XXL size. The glasses have the liquor store’s name on them, but I don’t mind. And the t-shirt is the definition of beer-nerd chic, with a small Cantillon logo on the front left breast and a list of all the 2012 Zwanze Day locations on the back. West Lakeview even still has a few Zwanze Day 2011 t-shirts, if you’d rather than vintage.

Visit the store’s website for more details on the glasses and tees. But you should act fast if you’re interested; the glasses in particular will be gone before long.

UBN

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The Chainmail Beer Stein Fit for a Medieval Knight

Chainmail Beer Stein

Like many serious beer nerds, I collect glassware. But this one-of-a-kind, chainmail beer stein made entirely of ringlets of galvanized steel is one of the most unique beer steins I’ve ever seen. Of course, you wouldn’t really want to attempt to drink a beer out of it because it’s full of holes. It’s not for sale, anyway; its creator spent more than a year designing and building the five-pound, 7.5-inch tall stein, so he/she probably wouldn’t part with it without a (sword) fight—or an exchange of significant funds.

Still, that thing would make a worthy addition to any beer nerd’s glassware and/or tchotchke collection.

UBN

Via ChainedBeauty.DeviantArt.com

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How to Make Your Own Custom Beer Nerd Christmas Ornament

Beer Nerd Christmas Tree Ornament

Yesterday my girlfriend and I bought our 2012 Christmas tree. After setting it up and arguing about whether or not it was straight enough in its shitty-plastic stand, we dug up our box of ornaments and started decorating. I cracked a bottle of Stone Brewing Co.’s Enjoy By 12.21.12 IPA and quickly realized that I don’t have any craft-beer-related Christmas tree ornaments. Shameful, I know.

I decided to remedy this unfortunate issue and make my own custom beer nerd Christmas ornament. If you can gather a handful of bottle caps, a round Christmas ornament and some Krazy Glue you too can make your own beer nerd ornament. (But your ornament probably won’t be as awesome as mine.)

Step one: Collect bottle caps. I didn’t use standard bottles caps, but instead chose to use the smaller caps that come on top of corked bottles of beer. I also used caps from different breweries, but you could use only caps from your favorite brewery.

Step two: Buy Krazy Glue.

Step three: Get yourself a round Christmas tree ornament.

Step four: Crack a beer. (You might get thirsty while building your custom ornament. I know I did.)

Step five: Carefully apply Krazy Glue to the bottom edges of your bottle caps, and then stick them one at a time to your ornament. Be patient and let each one dry before trying to add more caps. (Note: The Urban Beer Nerd assumes no responsibility for fingers stuck to other digits, bottle caps, your beer or anything else. If you can’t use Krazy Glue without getting it everywhere, you have no business making this ornament. Moron.)

Step six: Let glue dry, hang the ornament on your Christmas tree, raise your glass for a toast and then bask in your new creation’s glory.

UBN

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