This post is not about a beer. It is decidedly not about Troegs Independent Brewing’s Wild Elf which was a absolutely phenomenal beer that subtlety played with various and transcendent flavors developed over years.
No. This post is about a beer glass.
The Troegs Splinter Glass. It is a very tall tulip and it is one of the finest vessels for enjoying a beer.
You see… generally I don’t give a damn about glassware. It is generally unimportant. In the grand scheme of craft beer culture the discussion of “proper glassware” is as pointless a discussion as debating if Yuengling is considered “craft” based just on volume. (They are not and that is an arbitrary measure.)
When I first started this blog, a friend wanted to read a post with recommendations for what beer glasses to buy for his newly built home bar. I dismissed the request and said it doesn’t matter that much. Buy a bunch of standard pint glasses, a couple tulips and a few of the beer can shaped glasses and you are covered for everything.
I still think that is good advice. Glassware is way overrated. Just get a couple glasses that you like.
I drink so many beers directly from the can. If they are in a bottle I grab either a standard pint or a tulip and be done with it. I spend zero time worrying about whether or not I am maximizing the flavor profile.
Yes. I acknowledge that various glasses can heighten certain flavors and aromas but I have enjoyed most beer exactly 0% less then other people that spend far too much time ruminating about the vessel endlessly.
But in this case… it matters.
This Troegs Splinter Glass is a delicate long stemmed tulip that holds exactly 0.375 liters of beer. The glass has a pleasant feel in the hand and holds the beer deep enough to allow the drinker to bring the libation to their lips while getting their nose deep into the glass to inhale all the volatiles brought forth by effervescence. With Wild Elf this was a sweet whiff of cherries and earthy wood.
The tall tulip holds the beer more like a cordial or congac, allowing you to explore the depth of flavor built over six years of cellaring in barrels. Giving you time to swirl the beer gently and behold the mahogany color. To sip and consider the brett, lactobacillus and wild yeast’s work in adding easy sour and undemanding funky flavors.
I spent an hour leisurely enjoying this beer. I figured that if John and Chris Tronger could wait six years to age and blend this beer I could take a long time to sip and enjoy it. The time I invested let the flavors bloom over the course of an hour. During that time I would swirl the glass and slowly sip. I was letting the beer rest until the almond flavors become pithy.
Even in the last sip, the 11% ABV never appeared either in flavor or with the nose deep in the glass meant to hold all those aromas close.
The brett and wild yeast characters are mild and inviting. The lacto soothing. This beer plays with the subtle end of flavors, seeking for you to sip and find them instead of clubbing you over the head. This is a beer offering you the chance to find earthy wood and nut flavors with a tart cherry, sour brett and slight wild funk in the finish. The rich mouth feel lingers and lets the flavors last. The tulip glassware brings this all forth and is the stage for a great beer to hold the limelight.
In short, take the time to share a bottle of Wild Elf and do it in proper glassware; for with this one, it matters.
Beer can shaped glasses are vastly underrated.
Yes… This is another Troegs Independent Brewing beer post. I make no apologies. Homerism is just one of my biases.
Hell… I wrote this while drinking my way throught the majority of a four pack of Nible Giant.
Mad Elf over the years has been one of those beers where interest for me has waned. This iteration renews the lease. Its a damn good beer.
I feel like Troegs has not done enough to play up all the work that went into this beer. The “mother sauce” for this beer was put into barrels six years ago and was blended with other interrelations to give us the beer just released. I feel like this should be more prominently referenced when charging $12 a bottle.
Its worth every penny. Highly recommended.