Hazy, dark brown with a head of fine ivory bubbles. For a brown ale it’s a bit on the dark side reminding me more of a porter. I’m used to brighter, more clear browns so I’m a bit surprised by how hazy it is.
As it pours I’m getting smells of toasted oats, maybe some tobacco, and hints of black coffee. When I go to take my first sip that tobacco is more up front. This beer is dark and smoky and very inviting!
The taste complements the flavor and matches it pretty closely. It’s slightly nutty but burnt tobacco and coffee flavors are the main attraction. This beer is sweet and malty with a very mild hop finish.
Bilbo’s Brown is medium bodied with mild carbonation. It’s soft and sweet with a slight hint of tangy-ness on the finish. All-in-all this is a very pleasant and sessionable brown ale.
Poured from a 32 ounce growler on the same day purchased.
Why That Glass?
For a brown ale you can rely on either a seidel or a pint glass. Browns are usually sweet and malty with very low ABVs. As a result a pint or the seidel are ideal for serving. I think you could also get away with a goblet.
More About This Brown Ale
There’s not much more to say about this brown ale. Cold Harbor doesn’t list many details regarding this beer’s availability or style on their site. Next time I’ll have to get a picture of their board.
The tulip Pint is also known as the Irish Imperial Pint or Guinness Glass. While you’re likely to see this glass a lot it’s not quite as versatile as some of the other styles of pint glass.
This glass gets its name from it’s familiar tulip shape. Unlike shorter stemmed tulips its top lacks a flared mouth and instead ends with walls pointing straight up. These glasses are almost always 20 ounces but some mild variation can occur.
Benefits of the Tulip Pint Glass
Like other pint glasses the most immediate benefit is volume. The Imperial Irish Pint holds about 20 ounces which is plenty of space for a large pour while still leaving a generous amount of space for a beer’s head.
With it’s smaller base and more pronounced bulb some people might also find it a little easier to hold than the nonic pint.
These glasses also provide a good look at a beer’s deeper colors while the wide mouth helps support head retention. Of course it also helps with taking large sips of “Nitro” beers that have thick frothy heads. For nitros keep a napkin handy ’cause a milk beer-mustache is in your future.
There are smaller versions of this glass floating around in various different sizes. Many will be branded “Guinness” but will only be 16 ounces.
You want to be looking for a 20 ounce glass. Due to a quirk in how we deal with fluid ounces there might even be some small variation there but that’s OK. A true imperial pint will measure just over 19 US ounces and for our purposes that’s pretty OK.
Just avoid the 16 ounce ones.
What Beer Goes with a Tulip Pint Glass?
Most people know this glass as a Guinness Glass so that’s a good jumping off point. Irish Stouts are so tied to this glass it almost feels wrong to drink them in anything else. The same goes for Irish Ales.
After that any beer billing itself with the term “Nitro” is a safe bet. The wide mouth at the top of the glass makes a beer’s creamy head and body that much more tantalizing.
This glass also works well as a utility glass for any ales or lagers poured from a large bottle. Personally, I’d avoid lagers and keep them in something like a large pilsner or a stange but it’s not a huge deal. You’ll have to go back to the fridge to retrieve the bottle more often but it’s worth it.
I’d also avoid beers with really active carbonation, sour beers, or beers with higher ABVs. Those are better suited to other glasses.
Where Can I Buy Tulip Pint Glasses / Irish Imperial Pints?
These are going to be some of the easiest glasses for you to get a hold of. Every liquor store, box store, and some supermarkets are going to have them. Just check for either a 20 ounce volume marker or the imperial crown either on the bottom or lip of the glass.
They’re also a common inclusion in most craft beer glass sampler boxes.
A seidel is a wide-mouthed glass mug with thick walls and a sturdy handle. They’re often dimpled and can be short and rounded or large and barrel shaped.
These beer mugs are made with thick, sturdy glass walls and a strong handle which makes them easy to hold and carry. They commonly hold about 20 ounces but larger versions certainly exist. Bigger, barrel shaped beer seidels can hold up to 44 ounces.
Seidels (especially the over-sized ones) are sometimes referred to as “steins” but steins are earthenware (vs glassware) and are much more ornate and decorative.
Benefits of a Seidel
The most immediate benefit of the seidel is it’s wide mouth. It provides you with plenty of space for taking deep sips while getting a good sense of the beer’s aroma. The glass’ thick walls, handle (should you use it) and short stature also provide a degree of insulation that help keep your beer at quaffable temperatures.
In practical terms the seidel is probably one of the most sturdy of all the beer glasses. With it’s thick glass walls and handle it’s not something that’s going to be easy to break. Due to its proportions this mug is also pretty difficult to tip over. The glass’ dimpling also makes it easier to hold. These glasses are pretty decent utility glasses for serving soda, floats or milkshakes to kids.
When it comes to the drinking experience there’s also something visceral about holding a beer seidel. They feel good to hold and to drink out of.
Frosted mugs are great for soda, frappes, and floats. Not for beer.
Avoid freezing or chilling seidels. As cool beer hits colder glass condensation can form leading to unintended moisture watering down your good beer. So skip chilling whenever possible!
What Beer Goes with a Seidel or Dimpled Mug?
Normally you’d pair porters, stouts, and german style lagers with a seidel. Beers with strong malty flavors and lower hop profiles are also great choices.
A seidel can also be used for serving cream ales, scotch ales and even rauchbiers. Basically anything with a medium to thick body.
Where Can I Buy a Seidel?
You can find 20 oz dimpled beer mugs like the one pictured above for about $11 a pair on Amazon. 44 oz steins and can be found for around $13 a piece.