Glassware has always been something of a battle in our house. Floz has been on a mission since his late teens to collect the appropriate glass for each of his favourite Belgian breweries; that coupled with nearly a decade of beer festivals, gifts and bar jobs has left our cupboards groaning under the weight of fine German craftsmanship. In spite of my inadvertant efforts to edit down our collection by pitting heavy Gueze Boon glassware against lightweight Cloudwater IPA glasses in the washing up bowl, the collection is still growing at an exponential rate.
Although I complain about the lack of kitchen cupboard real estate, I’m also a huge fan of the innovation and variety available in the glassware market. I’m also a real beer merchandise whore. When a brewery brings out a new t-shirt, beanie hat or jewellery then I struggle to resist the urge to buy one of everything ; glassware is no acception. So when a series of breweries released new merchandise around Christmas, aside from the usual struggle to maintain a respectable bank balance, I found myself intruiged by a new shape dominating the market.
I’d seen the Allegra shape before, but I would normally associate it with trendy wine bars. Its actually one of my favourite designs for a wine glass. I understand the down sides but it just feels so pleasant and balanced to hold. Its more recent popularisation within the beer market is welcome news to me. Brewers I’ve noticed so far that have adopted this shape include Liquid Light , Newtown Park and Vocation.
Therefore, I thought it would be worth highlighting some of the pros and cons of the beer industries new kid on the bar.
- Shape: As with many beer glasses, such as Tekus and Tulips, Allegras have the benefit of a funneled shape which helps to accentuate the aroma of whatever beer it is used for.
- Low Centre of Gravity: By removing the stem, and with its rounded base, this glass will be a lot harder to knock over than its stemmed cousins. This will save embarresment and criminal waste of beer.
- Instagramable= Advertisment: Stemless Allegras are undeniably attractive to look at, and in a world where looks equal likes, the natural benefit of breweries adopting this glassware is the free advertisement they will get online as every beer geek worth thier salt snaps and tags thier products into the public eye. Though one might argue that these glasses drift dangerously close to #propervaseware, the effect will still financially benefit the breweries.
- Cleanability: Unlike the Craft Master IPA glass design previously adopted by many of the industries most ardent IPA breweries, the Allegra is infinitely easier to clean. I would argue it beats many stemmed beer glasses in this department too, requiring less soaking and fiddly sponge work.
- Hands on: Although the shape benefit is the same as the stemmed versions, the instantly recognisable drawback of the Allegra design is the fault which effects the humble Nonic or Conical pint glass; by having your hand on the glass you naturally warm the beer quickly, resulting in the last half to third of your drink being above preferred serving temperature. However, with thicker glass quality than many of the wine versions I’ve come across, the Allegra might withstand this issue a little longer than expected.
- Girth: Part of what makes this glass attractive is its shaply curve. Unfortunately this will play against it in that it takes up more space than its stemmed counterparts in our already oversubscribed glass cupboard. They are also not stackable or hangable unlike thier pint and stemmed friends, so would likely be a pain from a bartenders point of view.
Overall, I feel the positives far outweigh the negatives of this glass design. I’ve only highlighted a few of the pros and cons. Whatever your opinions may be, this is likely to be the dominant glass design of 2021, and I for one welcome this change. Now I just have to make room in the cupboard.