Cold Harbor Bilbo’s Brown Ale

Cold Harbor Bilbo Brown Ale in a Pint Glass
Bilbo’s Brown Ale in a Pint Glass

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.

Other Specs

  • ABV: 4.8%
  • IBUs: 26
  • 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 Glass or Irish Imperial Pint

Tulip Pint with a Nitro Beer
Tulip Pint with a Nitro Beer

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.

Other Notes

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.