The power of suggestion

Having convinced drinkers that wine is best appreciated from fishbowl-sized glasses, another arm of Riedel – Spiegelau– has the beer-drinker’s psyche in its sights.

The press release arrived just before father’s day, accompanied by three very fine, elegant blown glasses – ‘the pilsner’, ‘the lager’ and ‘the wheat beer’. They’re beautiful glasses and certainly add to the sense of occasion when enjoying fine beers.

The wheat beer design, in particular, appeals because its bulbous top accommodates the abundant foam found in the best wheat beers, especially the bottle-conditioned versions, or hefeweizens.

Of course, the power of suggestion deeply affects how we taste and enjoy food, wine and beer – physically as well as psychologically. And the glass spruikers, being acutely aware of this, can lead rooms full of people to a blind faith in one-litre glasses – or a belief that every beverage demands its own perfect vessel.

Branded, distinctively shaped beer glasses have been part of Europe’s bar scene for decades. They’re catching on here with the growth of the premium beer market and certainly add to our pleasure. But part of the Spiegelau message is hard to swallow. Glasses that guide each beer style precisely to the right part of our palates – yeah, right!

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2008