The Effects of Glassware by Ginger Johnson

By Ginger JohnsonLast week found me in Denver Colorado at the Craft Brewers Conference. Among the offerings was a class lead by Spiegelau USA on glassware. Specifically it was on the newly designed and released Stout Glass, in partnership with Left Hand Brewing and Rogue Ales. 

If you have never considered your glass for beer, it’s time. Even though I’d been told and I have learned a bit about the difference the “right” glass makes to give you the best beer experience, I was blown away by how obvious it became during the workshop.

Here is some of the information I want to share today.

  1. Spiegelau is a 500-year-old company. Riedel is their parent company.
  2. The “Joker”, aka ubiquitous shaker pint we see virtually everywhere beer is poured, is one of the worst glasses for beer.
  3. All glass is not created equal. Quartz is mined for the specific glassware made. Spiegelau uses ultra pure quartz, which makes ultra pure glass.
  4. “Microns are like miles” when it comes to designing glassware. The sensory science behind glassware development is powerful.
  5. Glassware will either harness or regulate aroma.

By Ginger JohnsonAs the incredibly adept presenter, Matthew Rutkowski stated, “This is the status quo being changed.” 

I’m a believer now more than ever. The generosity of information presented by Matthew as well as the two brewery representatives AND the bonus Spiegelau glassware we got to take with us, made this event a truly remarkable and memorable one.

It’s time to keep cleaning my glass shelves. While I’m not going to get rid of anything that’s not Spiegelau in a wholesale fashion, it is making me rethink how I drink and from what vessel.

Many thanks to the folks who made this eye and taste bud opening class possible.

Till the next glass ~


By Ginger JohnsonGo Here: Find a beer bar, conventional bar or other establishment that uses various glassware for drinks. Request (if not insist!) your beer is presented to you in a different glass than a shaker pint if that’s what they usually use. If they refuse and they have other glassware to use (wine glasses work well), thank them and go elsewhere. Repeat until you find a place dedicated to giving you and the beer a better opportunity.

Try This: Glassware experiments are excellent to try at home and with friends. Gather a bunch of packaged beer (bottles & cans, not growlers), get an assortment of glassware together of various shapes and sizes, and a handful of friends. Pour the various beers in the different glasses – proceed to smell, examine and taste the beers. Let me know what you think.

If you have questions about the beer industry, food pairings, speaking engagements and events, you can find Ginger at or

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