While the majority of the beer drinkers I know drink pints of craft beer when given the option, I have always been a half-pint kind of girl¹. I do enjoy drinking a full pint² of beer from time to time, but generally, I order half-pints because it means I can try more beers in an evening than if I was drinking a full 400-568mls at a time. It also means I can keep up with my larger, male, beer-drinking buddies – I can finish a half pint in about the same time as the boyf can polish off a pint.
Last month, my home away from home, Hashigo Zake, made a change to their glassware. They have done away with their stemmed, 300ml half-pint glasses and replaced them with what they’re calling “the fancy” – a stemmed, wide-mouthed glass produced by the German company Spiegelau. It can hold more than their standard half-pint serve, and so they’ve marked all of the new glasses with a 300ml line.
I adore these new glasses. You have the option of holding the glass by the stem, or by cupping your hand around its bottom. It has a wide, round bottom, like that of a red wine glass, making it perfect for swirling – something I enjoy doing with pretty much any beverage³. There’s also a decent gap between the 300ml mark and the lip of the fancy, making it easy to enjoy the aromas of the beer without accidentally dipping the tip of your nose into the head of the beer. Basically, drinking out of a fancy is a thoroughly enjoyable experience.
My beer of the month was consumed out of a fancy. Nøgne Ø Sunturnbrew is a beer that I’ve enjoyed very much several times before. But I have no doubt that the new glass enhanced the drinking experience of the 11% brew.
Nøgne Ø Sunturnbrew is a smoked barley wine brewed every winter solstice by the Norwegian brewery. It’s got sweet, dark fruit aromas, with raisin and cherry coming through the caramel malt, and a peak smoke hit. The flavour is sweet and sticky, with brown sugar, caramel, raisin and a touch of roast. Then, just as you think the mouthful of flavour is coming to an end, a lovely, peaty flavour jumps out and cuts through the stickiness. As the beer warms in the fancy, which I had cupped in my hands, the flavours become more powerful, and they meld together oh-so well.
I enjoyed 300mls of the Sunturnbrew for a good half-hour before my glass was empty, and the only thing that stopped me from ordering another was knowing I had a netball game the next day. While the beer is difficult to find on tap here in New Zealand, it is available in bottles from Hashigo’s online bottle store, and it may have found its way to a few off-licences as well. The beer is one that ages well, and if you drink it at home you can choose whatever vessel you want to enjoy it out of.
I know I’ll be having another few before the year is out.
¹ On second thought, perhaps the name of my blog is a little misleading… though “A Girl and Her Half-Pint” is not quite so catchy.
² Which, here in New Zealand, means a vessel holding somewhere between 400-568mls of beer.
³ Admittedly, I treat most beverages like beer – swirling my coffee, tilting my water glass when I pour it, sniffing my tea…