Beer On My Shirt: The Spiegelau IPA glass, the Tulip, and the Lake Erie Monster

J. R. Shirt, August 23, 2013

For my 35th birthday, Wife gifted me the Spiegelau IPA glasses. I gifted her with repeated requests for odd birthday sexual favors. By “odd birthday sexual favors,” I mean “odd” as in the “odd numbers” because odd numbered birthdays and even numbered birthdays carry two very different varieties of sexual favor requests. Even the request forms are different.

It appears, however, due to a severe backlog at the desk of whoever processes the birthday sexual favor request forms at the Beer On My Shirt offices (frankly, they should be fired), that Wife hasn't even been getting these requests. As we sat down to test the merit of the Spiegelau IPA glasses, I inquired on the status of my requests, to which Wife responded “What requests?”

I explained how I had been filling out the proper forms, pink for odd numbered birthdays and pale yellow for even numbered birthdays, for at least the past three to four years and placing them in the wooden box in our kitchen.

“You know, the box, in the kitchen, labeled 'Suggestions and Sexual Favor Requests'. Who's in charge of that, any how?”

Wife, with the empathy of a nursing home administrator, which, as of my 35th birthday, is her official title, patted my hand and said she would make a few calls in the morning and get to the bottom of it.

I responded by excusing myself to go to the bathroom for the 14th time in a half hour, at which point my swollen prostate and itchy hemorrhoids merged together into one weird, huge, fucked up thing. And just like that -- I'm a goddamned Centaur.

Son of a bitch!

Halfway to seventy, half horse, half man, Wife seemed completely unaffected by any of these developments. She slowly poured Great Lakes' Lake Erie Monster (BAR 3.87) into the IPA glass, then a tulip glass, and finally, a shaker pint glass. As if to say, “fuck your horse problems,” she clicked a ball point pen and handed it to me. This was serious. We were taking notes.

As you might assume, the shaker pint was the worst. While this glass produced the most head, it also managed to produce the least amount of fragrance. The flavor was mostly resin with pine, booze, and just a hint of citrus with a solid sweet, malty, caramel finish. The line between mouthfeel and flavor were slightly blurred, as the carbonation and bitterness worked together to build a park bench on the back of your tongue. Overall, while still a solid beer, this glass presented the beer as mild and malty at first, followed by a harsh, bitter finish. A perfect illustration of why Double IPAs are not, or at least should not be, served in the shaker pint.

Things got interesting when we started comparing the tulip glass to the IPA glass. We first noticed a difference in the behavior of the bubbles. In the tulip glass, the bubbles traveled along the curved edge of the glass, producing the least amount of head of the three glasses and the least amount of lacing as we drank them down. In the IPA glass, bubbles traveled straight to the top of the beer in cylindrical column that emerged from the strange base of the glass (you may be able to see this in the photo at the top), keeping a thin layer of foam on the beer down to the final sip.

In terms of aroma, the tulip glass presented a stronger smell at first, with floral notes, pine resin, citrus, and faint caramel. The IPA glass presented a sweeter and more complex smell, more pineapple than pine, with hints of salt and oranges. The flavor was similar in both glasses with a nice combination of floral and herbal flavors with a bright citrus burst that finished with an easy caramel sweetness. The difference lay in the fact that in the tulip glass these flavors were more subdued while in the IPA glass, as you could probably guess, the characteristic hop flavors were heightened. That isn't to say it is less balanced or more bitter, simply that the flavors provided by the hops were heightened and, honestly, it made a pretty big difference in the experience – hop flavors and bitterness seemed to be engaging the entirety of my tongue, something that had not happened when drinking from the tulip or the pint. 

Prior to receiving these IPA glasses, I would typically drink Double IPAs from a tulip. And what I was learning in this side by side comparison is that I may have been missing out. The tulip seems to smooth a beer out, but possibly at the expense of really getting the full flavor experience from the hops. One thing I will point out regarding the tulip is that a bottle of beer pretty much fills the glass. Perhaps I am putting too much beer in the glass. The IPA glass, it seems, is idiot proof in that it holds a bottle of beer with plenty of room to spare. Perhaps that makes a difference.

To round out the experience, both Wife and I noted that the feel of the beer was smoother and somehow more vibrant from the IPA glass. The tulip, when compared to the IPA glass, had a flatter, more dry feel that Wife described by referencing cotton balls. As it warmed, from either glass, the beer took on an oily, booze-like quality that coated the mouth and was quite enjoyable.

Overall, Wife, not a big fan of IPAs, appreciated the manner in which the tulip seemed to tone things down from a hop flavor and bitterness perspective. On the other hand, I found the IPA glass to be extremely impressive in the way that it seemed to highlight the hop characteristics of the beer without sacrificing anything in the overall balance.

We both agreed the shaker pint, compared to the other two glasses, did this beer absolutely no justice.

Also, here is a table with ratings of the Lake Erie Monster separated by the glass type, with the rated average based on BeerAdvocate's weighted rating. (The below table was inspired by a table found in a similarly inspiring article on in-home glassware comparisons entitled "One Beer, Three Cups: Founder's Porter" by Josh Augustine. Follow him on Twitter @El_Josharino)

Great Lakes' Lake Erie Monster



Spiegelau IPA Glass

























Weighted Average





The Pro's and Con's of being a Centaur (see also, The Pro's and Con's of having a horse body)

Pro: Bigger dick.

Con: Have to get all new shoes.

Pro: No more pants.

Con: All the “horse walks into a bar” jokes I have to hear.

Pro: Trips to Tijuana just got a lot more 'interesting.'

Con: Trips to Tijuana just got a lot more 'interesting.'

Con: Have to get a horse trailer.

Con: Impossible to scratch my itchy butthole.

Pro: I'm only seven in horse years.

Con: Saddles make me look fat.

Pro: Maybe I get to finally be in a parade.

Con: My asshole neighbor that yells “Here comes the dog and pony show!” from his porch everyday when I walk my dog past his house. Yeah, we get it, she's a dog, I'm a pony. Good one.