They recently released a new glass, The Imperial, and I placed the very first order for them (I bought two). They arrived today.
The Imperial is intended for, well, imperial ales and high-gravity beer. In specific, it shines with over-the-top IPAs. The basic idea of the glass is that it’s a snifter, but a large one. The glass is capable of uncomfortably holding an entire 22oz beer, but only an idiot would use it that way (you’re welcome).
Instead, this substantial snifter does well with a moderate (but not overly generous) pour, allowing plenty of air for aroma to develop. It’s probably no surprise it works more or less like any other type of snifter in this regard.
This is a heavy glass, with walls far thicker than any of the other PBGC models to date. It’s also large. I find it a good size to hold with one hand, but I think those without large hands will find it a bit of a struggle. A person with very small hands would likely need two of them to hold the glass for drinking. Holding via the base of the vessel is incredibly unstable, and slipping the glass into one’s hands doesn’t work nearly as smoothly as with an actual snifter (which usually comes with a very narrow stem). Again, it takes rather large hands to hold this via the bottom as well. Additionally, where the working stem of the glass is broken off (I don’t know what the correct term for this is), there are sharp glass edges, a feature that I’ve seen in other recent runs of PBGC glasses that I haven’t entirely appreciated. This makes me wary of holding the glass from the underside. Just imagine it’s a chalice for Belgian ales without a stem, and it starts to make sense.
That sounds overly negative when it should not – I am quite fond of these glasses. They are, however, very large, very thick, and very heavy. Get out the Captains of Crush gripper and start training before attempting a serious session with these snifters. The Aromatic Beer Glass is a quite a bit more versatile and manageable for those without large hands or that might be pouring smaller portions. It’s also incredibly attractive and lacks the sharp glass edges. But, if one wants a large and incredibly solid glass for big-ass IPA consumption, these are pretty hard to beat. There’s definitely something to be said for a large snifter to truly develop and analyze the aromas in a nice hoppy ale.