Beer Glass That Makes Your Stouts Taste Better

Photo: Ariel Zambelich/WIRED

Some beer tastes good regardless of what you drink it out of. But that doesn’t mean it can’t taste better. Spiegelau’s latest brew-specific vessel is precision-engineered for maximum enjoyment when you’re drinking a stout, thanks to a combination of high-end glass, strategic curves, and the inherent deliciousness of beer itself.

The majority of stout beers are served up in glasses that resemble a contoured version of your average pint glass (Guinness) or a snifter-like goblet (a whole lot of domestic/microbrew stouts). Spiegelau is a 500-year-old German company that has already perfected the art of making flavor-enhancing mugs for IPAs, pilsners, lagers, and wheat beers, not to mention a fleet of wine varietals. The company teamed up with Left Hand Brewing Co. and Rogue Ales — two breweries who know a thing or two about stouts — to build the ultimate stout delivery vessel.

According to my mouth and nose, they have accomplished this goal. Three of my friends — who ranged from hard-core stout connoisseurs to almost-never-beer-drinkers — agreed without hesitation after a taste test. When you drink the same beer out of a pint glass and these specialized stout glasses — Left Hand Milk Stout, in our scenario — the Spiegelau glass made the brew smell better, taste better, maintain its flavor complexity and milky consistency longer, and expanded the lifespan of its head. Plus, it makes a full glass of stout look like a truncated ace of spades, which is a bonus.

To help bring the glass quality in line with the beer quality, Spiegelau and teams from Left Hand and Rogue considered everything from the shape of base to the angle of the bowl and rim. The slightly concave form they settled on for the bowl helps preserve the aromas unique to stouts. It also acts like a scent cannon, delivering those alluring and complex fragrances straight to your nose. Meanwhile, the glass’s narrow top supports head retention, as does the angled shelf the beer flows over as you sip your gloriously dark brew.

Apparently, the materials and processes used to make these glasses are just as important as the physical design. Spiegelau’s glasses are silky smooth to the touch, which might sound strange given that most glasses feel pretty smooth to the touch. But the company claims that its “platinum glass process,” which runs the glass in its liquid form through platinum tubes, makes its glassware unnaturally slick. The stout glasses feel almost daintily light and thin-walled, but zinc is used to make them more crack-resistant and dishwasher-safe than they seem.

If you’re a devout stout drinker, there is absolutely no excuse to avoid getting one of these glasses. They work. A set of two unmarked ones goes for just under $25 via the Spiegelau site, but that’s the most-expensive option. You can get Left Hand Brewing-branded stout glasses for $9 apiece, a two-pack of Rogue Ales-branded stout glasses for $18, and various combo packages of beers and glasses on the Rogue site for $28 and up.

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