Liquid Diet: Thanks to a New Collaboration, a Better Way to Drink Suds

Dogfish Head and Sierra Nevada have created a damn near perfect glass for hoppy American ales.

Welcome to Liquid Diet, where Christopher Hughes finds the extraordinary stories behind the people and places that quench the thirst of the Boston area.

Dogfish Head Spiegelau glass

The new American IPA glass produced by Dogfish Head and Spiegelau. Photo courtesy of Dogfish Head Brewery

Tulip, stein, snifter, chalice, flute, stange; beer has always had an answer to wine’s advocacy of appropriate glassware. But these stemmed, stretched, and bloated cousins of the everyday pint glass have always been more complimentary of German, Czech, and Belgian beer styles. American tastes are certainly varied, but those that steer away from the light lager demographic tend to gravitate toward the resiny, citrusy allure of hop-forward IPAs. The English might have invented the India Pale Ale, but American craft brewers have re-imagined its modern day profile into something so far beyond its ancestral origins, that it now merits its own category.

That’s why it’s fitting that two of this country’s most important figures in craft beer, particularly in the continual dry-hopping process, have collaborated with German glassworks label Spiegelau to create a new vessel specifically for the American IPA. After watching Sam Calagione from Dogfish Head drink from one of their glasses on the short-lived Discovery series, Brewmasters, Spiegelau reached out to Calagione and Sierra Nevada’s Ken Grossman to partner on this challenge.

Spiegelau considered hundreds of designs, but through blind tastings conducted by Calagione and Grossman, they eventually whittled it down to include certain features: a base with undulating ridges to aerate the beer; thin walls that have a surprising impact on maintaining colder temperatures; a slender figure to funnel hop aromas directly to your nose and palate; and, my favorite touch, a Dogfish logo laser-etched into the bottom of the bowl that helps sustain carbonation.

“Excitement for IPAs is exploding in America,” says Calagione. “So is the recognition that the right glassware enhances the drinking experience. The timing was just perfect for this.”

Both brewers also emphasize that the American IPA category has branched off into exciting new terrain like imperial, dark, and fruit IPAs that are ideal candidates for the new glass. And as champions of hop farmers and industry-wide innovation, Calagione and Grossman are donating their licensing fees from the glass to support new hop research.

Available at Craft Beer Cellar in Belmont, $10 per glass