A Newly Designed Beer Glass
“I became unhappy with the traditional glasses for Samuel Adams Boston Lager,” said Jim Koch of The Boston Beer Co. “These glasses weren’t presenting the beer at its best to the drinker and not properly enhancing the ingredients and the brewer’s intent.”
Koch had three main problems with the traditional Bohemian pilsner glass:
1) The outward flute dissipates the aroma and the head.
2) The glass is too tall and throws the beer to back of the palate so that no malt is tasted on tongue.
3) The entire flavor sensation is lowered, involving less of the front of the tongue.
“This glass might be okay for a lighter, dryer standard American lager,” Koch said, “but not for a fuller-bodied and flavored pilsner.”
Koch believed that the conventional wisdom about beer glasses was completely wrong, with all efforts directed towards branding and marketing—but not the taste of the beer. “Form was not following function,” Koch said.
So one year ago Koch set out to find the perfect glass for his flagship beer. The search turned into a design-from-scratch undertaking. Koch hired a top flavor analysis company, TIAX, of Cambridge, MA. After much research, many tasting panels and test designs, the best glass design was picked, and production began last November at Reidel Glass in Austria.
All the research led to the understanding that the taste of the beer changes in the glass at three points: when it’s full, 2/3 full and 1/3 full. “We designed the glass for these three times,” Koch said. “The shape is driven by function. It’s not necessarily the prettiest, most sophisticated glass or the cheapest to make like the shaker pint.”
This new glass holds 16 ounces of beer, plus a head of foam. In addition to the three-tiered shape, nucleation points were laser etched inside the glass for the controlled release of carbon dioxide.
“We’re hoping it will start the same re-evaluation of beer glasses like the Reidel wine glass did at the 1958 World’s Fair,” Koch said. “The glass is the final element in the brewing process.”