April 6, 2020
The Little Brown Jug tulip glass is the best way to taste the flagship 1919 Belgian Pale Ale and many other seasonal beers that LBJ offers. The tulip glass looks stylish and sophisticated, but there is a reason behind its use, specifically with Belgian style beers.
The shape of the tulip glass resembles a goblet. The body is bulbous like the flower from which it receives its name. It has a wide base and short stem to allow for an easy grip while maintaining proper temperature and the ability to swirl the beer like a wine to lift the aroma. A round body, thin waist and flared opening traps and concentrates the aroma.
Head is the foam at the top of the beer that is produced by bubbles of gas. The shape of the tulip glass assists in healthy head retention. The narrow lip supports the head even above the brim of the glass. If the glass were straight like a standard pint glass, it would spill over the edge and all of the amazing foam at the top which brings out the aroma would be lost. A proper pour is also a key component and is why at the LBJ taproom, we have a two-step pouring process. First, pouring vigorously at the start knocks out the carbon dioxide, which lightens the beer, creates the head and kicks up the aroma. The beer and head are then allowed to settle for a moment which creates a thicker head. Second, the pour is finished so there is about an inch of head and a mushroom appearance above the brim of the glass. Aroma is an important part in the experience of enjoying a Belgian Pale Ale and other brews in the tulip glass. Head retention does not just give great aroma it also aids with the beer’s volatiles by creating a foam of proteins from malts and bittering acids from hops that trap aromas.
What are beer volatiles? They are compounds created by yeast metabolism during the fermentation process. The product of fermentation is alcohol, fruity/flavourful esters, spices, hop oils and other fermentation by-products. These are elements you smell while you enjoy your beer of choice. The head retention caused in-part by the tulip glass design helps capture these and make them last.
There are many beer styles that pair with the tulip glass. Little Brown Jug’s 1919 Belgian Pale Ale, Golden Ale, Belgian IPA, and Monarchy English Brown Ale are great examples (sorry Black Lager). You can also enjoy other Belgian ales, stouts, IPAs, saisons, red ales, fruit beers, Lambics and more.
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