Posted: Mar 1, 2013 12:00am ET
It’s no secret that the hop-forward taste of India Pale Ales, better known as IPAs, are a big hit with American craft beer lovers. IPA, perfect for showing off the intense flavors and aromas of American-grown hops, is not only now the best-selling craft beer style in the country, according to the Brewers Association, but also the most-entered category at the Great American Beer Festival, the nation’s premier beer festival and competition. In other words, craft beer drinkers love IPAs and brewers enjoy brewing them.
So with all this IPA floating around, it makes sense that Bavarian glassmaker Spiegelau, which has been blowing glass since the 16th century and was bought out by acclaimed wine glass and decanter maker Riedel in 2004, has added an IPA glass to its lauded Beer Classics collection. In short, the thinness and superior materials of the glass, along with its odd shape, enhance an IPA beer drinker’s experience because it maintains the proper temperature, head and carbonation of an IPA for longer.
To aid in the design of the IPA glass, Spiegelau tapped the minds of Ken Grossman, founder of Sierra Nevada Brewing, and Sam Calagione, founder of Dogfish Head Brewery, two of the country’s most influential beer men known for concocting stellar IPAs. Adding some punch to the launch, Grossman and Calagione also collaborated on a new IPA called Rhizing Bines, the two’s first joint effort since their celebrated Life & Limb brew in 2009. (More on this, including tasting notes and cigar pairings, in a future blog.)
But first, the glass. Spiegelau unveiled the new IPA glass at a colloquium-style event moderated by company vice president Matt Rutkowski and held in New York City’s NoMad Hotel. On hand was Grossman and Calagione. Rutkowski, who cut his teeth in the restaurant industry as a wine director, caught the craft beer bug in the mid-1990s and studied to become a certified beer sommelier. He’s worked at Spiegelau since 2007. Shortly after he joined the company, it debuted its Beer Classics collection in the form of three vessels: a lager, tulip and wheat beer glass. Essentially, it’s the goal of Rutkowski and Spiegelau to launch a series of glasses that enhance the drinking experience for craft beer lovers, much like what Riedel was able to accomplish in the wine world years ago.