© 2009-2011 Quality Eating and Drinking London Ltd


© 2009-2011 Quality Eating and Drinking London Ltd

Older: Poach pods

Duvel: a better beer-glass?

Duvel tulip goblet: £4

Can a glass really make a difference to how something tastes? Glassmakers Riedel constantly aver that shape and rim are crucial and that one must have the right sort of glass for each style of wine; and Belgian beermakers have also been keen that drinkers should use the correctly branded stemware for their offerings. In the latter case, the major point at issue, one suspects, is that their product gets advertised by those drinking it. Why else, for example, would Kwak come in a round bottomed flask which can only be put down on its accompanying wooden retort stand? Quite.

I was intrigued, therefore, to receive news of Duvel's latest innovation: a subtly engraved swash Duvel D in the bottom of their tulip goblets. Its purpose? To preserve the head and the sparkle of the beer. So does it do the job?

To discover the truth, this intrepid tester poured a number of Duvel samples into a variety of shaped glasses: tall ones, fat ones, round bowled and flat. One, of course, was the engraved Duvel special. Was I sceptical? I generally am. Was I won over? On two accounts.

The engraved glass certainly kept a definite spritz in the drink for longer. Duvel is a deceptively alcoholic heavyweight among beers and not for superquick quaffing. In the wrong glass the beer did tend to turn a bit flabby and dull, with its maltiness deadening the alluring pear skin elements it also boasts. The Duvel D glass visibly displayed a more energetic stream of bubbles and exhibited a much livelier, spritzier palate that was far more supple and alive.

It also kept its head alive markedly better, making a considerably more attractive glassful. A disintegrating Duvel head leaves its remnants rather like scummy dissipating soap suds in well-used washing up water. Not an endearing sight.

So there we have it. Just a gimmick? No. Worth the investment? At around £4 a chunky stem, it won't break the bank (or itself that easily). Ultimately, I guess it all depends on how much Duvel you're likely to drink.


OK, the dull scientist in me says that the continuing generation of gas is simply down to the existence of nucleation sites which are no more than perturbations in the smooth surface. So what might be making the D special? Well, unlike random nodules, pits, or micro-scratches, I suppose that the deliberate shape of the D will be producing relatively widespread striations around the glass, and that these will be stronger nucleation sites than the aftermath of a rub with a tiny piece of grit or bone-shard. Is it a reasonable approximation to the generation of a ring of foam which pushes out to the rim and into the centre, thus maintaining a degree of stability?

Of course I don't know, I'll just need to practise.

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