Here it is folks, the column you’ve all been waiting for. It’s the second and final part of NEIL MILLER’s ‘best beer glass’ review.
This is the second column in my surprisingly popular series about the most beloved beer glasses from my rather extensive collection. As noted in part one, these glasses are not necessarily the best from a technological, tasting, or aesthetic perspective. Heaven knows these two certainly are not. Rather, they are glasses that invoke feelings ranging from happiness, pride, mirth, mischief, shame, and everything in between.
Charles & Di Wedding Mug – This is a standout in my collection. When I show people my display cabinet for the first time, this is the glass that gets the most comments. The most common being “WTF is that thing?” followed by “Oh dear god, why?”
It was purchased alongside my good friend and long-time drinking buddy Flash at a huge secondhand store up the Kapiti Coast. Sadly, the shop is long gone. Perusing through the shelves with armloads of dodgy ’80s and country records (yes, actual albums – look it up younglings), we were confronted by two of these magnificent vessels. I almost dropped my A-ha record in reverence. They had to be bought by us, and the price tag of $2 each was within our means.
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Obviously, the eye is first drawn to the incredibly cheesy picture of the “happy” couple on the front. On the back, there is a message that the glass is “to commemorate” the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer but I strongly suspect it does not have official royal approval.
As a beer vessel, the first impression is that it is incredibly heavy. The glass is very thick. When filled with beer, and it holds a lot, it is almost too much effort to lift. Flash and I tended to fill halfway. Beer drinking should not be exercise, it should be a celebration of a lycra-free life.
This regal mug has the unique ability to outrage both royalists and Republicans equally, which means it was $2 very well spent. It is also the only royal item I have in my house that is not legal tender. Unless you count a Princess Leia action figure (not a toy).
For the record, I am a staunch Republican.
Rugby World Cup 2007 Glass – Like the last glass, this one is likely to cause intense discussion because of the bittersweet (mainly bitter) nature of this event. Unlike the previous one, it is an officially endorsed product. Heineken does not just put its name on any old thing…
Before alert readers ask: “How much Heineken did you have to drink to get a free glass?” I must clarify that I won it at a bottle store. You spent a certain amount of money and you got the glass. There was a limit of one per customer. Otherwise, I would have had a full XV by the end of that tournament, particularly after “that” quarter-final.
At the time, fans naturally expected the All Blacks to win the Cup. Instead, France knocked us out in the quarter-final with Kiwis baying the referee Wayne Barnes had missed a forward in France’s winning try. Many continue to bay today even though Barnes is, outside of New Zealand, thought to be one of the best refs in the world.
On to the glass which is rather obviously rugby ball-shaped with the top missing and a flat bottom. Both of those are excellent design features so you can get beer in and it won’t fall over all the time. Obviously a gimmick, it may have been ahead of its time as it looks similar to the top of the modern, trendy IPA glasses. Those are designed to funnel the aroma upward to the nose, which would not be much use to Heineken lager.
Again, another big glass but this time in girth rather than weight. People with smaller hands may need both here. The small label allows the colour of the beer inside to be showcased and as a beer tasting glass, it is pleasantly good, even though that is an accident of the rugby ball shape, rather than by design.
Fill it up with American Pale Ale, outrage the Heineken marketing team, and drink to forget the horrors of the 2007 World Cup.
Next time, we do a different virtual beer tasting (starring fresh-hopped ales).