Being a beer guy about town has its advantages. As it works out, I am the first (I think) kid on the block to have received one of the high-tech beer glasses made by American craft brewer Samuel Adams. If you are a beer geek, you will know about these glasses, as they have been advertised in all the major beer magazines. If you aren’t (and I know most of you aren’t), Sam Adams claims that they have designed a glass that will enhance and improve your beer drinking experience. Their bumpf can be found here, where they claim it enhances their beer in five ways.
My favourite claim is the “turbulator” bump. There has got to be a joke in there somewhere.
I am not telling you this to be a jerk and make you jealous. You will get your chance too. Until now, the glass was only available in the U.S. However the Sam Adams rep in Alberta is bringing up a palate of glasses as a promotional item – they are going to give a free glass away with every six pack of Sam Adams Boston Lager. Now, don’t rush to your local liquor store yet – they are not due into the province for another week or so, and will be available only at select liquor stores (those of you in Edmonton have a good idea which store to find them in…).
But they will be available. I simply received an advance copy, which I consider a “review” copy. The Sam Adams glass is one of those love-hate things. Beer guys like me have been wondering about it since it was released a couple of years ago, but also maintain a healthy dose of skepticism about its claims. So given my early gift, I decided to put the glass to the test.
I performed a side-by-side taste test. Two bottles of Sam Adams Boston Lager: one in a traditional conical glass (the common sloped, straight-sided glass) and one in the Sam Adams “Perfect Pint Glass”. The beers were handled identically, served at the same temperature and poured at the same time. I alternated between the beer for each portion of the evaluation (appearance, aroma, flavour).
I think this is a decent experimental design. Before giving the results, I do offer one caveat. The glass is a 16-ounce glass, meaning a bottle of Sam Adams doesn’t quite fill the glass, which may affect its impact. Therefore the glass might be better suited for a tap environment, but, alas, there are no Sam Adams tap accounts in Edmonton.
Caveat aside, I forged ahead with the test anyway. And this is what I found. The special glass beer had a noticeably stronger and rounder aroma than the regular glass. I picked up more of the soft biscuit malt and grassy hop in the special glass. The colour and head were similar, although I did notice that the special glass had larger carbonation bubbles.
I didn’t notice a difference in flavour, per se, but did observe that the special glass gave the beer more life. I found the carbonation more lively which perked up the beer’s overall impression. The two beer warmed at a comparable rate, and neither held an advantage at head retention.
My conclusion? I think the glass does offer subtle differences to the overall impression of the beer, but nothing most people would notice. The nucleation sites at the bottom of the glass seem to change the carbonation, and possibly the
“turbulator” might give more life to the beer.
Samuel Adams Boston Lager is a well-made amber lager, so in either glass it went down pleasantly. Would I pay money for the glass? Not likely. However, it was a fun diversion for an afternoon. And, good thing for you, you won’t have to pay for it either – just pick up a six-pack of Sam Adams and it is yours.
In more important news on the Sam Adams front, Alberta can expect a wider range of their stable on store shelves in the coming months. Now that is something worth writing home about. And good think I now have a special glass to drink them in when they get here.