09/03/2015 Finkus Bripp GC

ZALTO DENK’ART: PREMIUM BEER GLASSES (REVIEW)

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When people ask me about the proper glass, I usally answer with “As long as your glass doesn’t have a hole in the bottom, it’s fine.” – Funny!! I KNOW!! But being the closet geek that I am, I own the one or other piece of fancy stemware – my therapist told me that admitting to these things is the first step to being cured – of what, I’m not yet sure.

Fine stemware isn’t just for wine and the Zalto beer glass is the perfect example of how far fine beer culture has come in the past years… and how differently beer can be enjoyed in this type of glass.

Discovering Zalto:

I came across Zalto glasses for the first time in Austria a couple of years ago. It seemed like every wine producer I’ve ever visited there uses Zalto stemware in their tasting rooms. Strange, considering Riedel  – also Austrian and “the NIKE of stemware” for having invented a glass for pretty much every type of wine – had such a stronghold the past years. I guess times they are-a-changin’!

The first thing I noticed about the Zalto glasses (Denk’Art line) was how insanely thin yet extremely stable they were. They felt great in your hand and when you put your lips to the rim, you were literally one with the beverage… that’s how thin they are. If you want thinner, you’ll probably have to to drink out of a soap bubble or out of your cupped hands if being so very “one” with your beverage is important to you.

How a glass affects the tasting process:

The advantage of using a thin glass when tasting is the fact that it’s clearer thus not distorting the colour of the beverage and barely affects the temperature of the liquid inside. The thicker the glass/receptacle, the more it has its “own” temperature thus affecting that of the liquid contained in it.

How a glass (shape and clarity) also influences the drinking experience is via visual enhancement: if the beer looks good, you’re probably going to enjoy it that much more.

Getting back to the thickness, if the rim of a glass is as thick as your finger, the haptic sensation is also going to be very different as well as how the liquid hits your palate. Sound geeky? It is!! But don’t take my word for it, just give it a try, you’ll see.

The Zalto Beer Glass:

The extremely thin crystal (did I mention how thin? Like thinest-est thin… you’ll wonder how the hell did they get the glass that thin! That’s how thin it is!) and tapered shape allows for a stable head and helps focus the aromatics.

The Price:

Now, at almost €30,00 per glass (€28,00 in Germany to be exact), they’re definitely not cheap. And you’ve probably heard this on more than one occasion… BUT IT’S WORTH IT! – to a certain point. It’s all relative to value and pleasure. If these types of things give you pleasure, then it’s definitely worth it. If they don’t, save your money.

Another negative aspect of glasses in this price range is breakage. And yes, it does hurt when you’re washing/drying a glass and you wind up with a stem in one hand and the chalice in the other. And yes again, you probably will break the one or the other glass with time but should that stop you? In my opinion, no… for further questions, go back to the last paragraph.

Conclusion:

As mentioned, my closet geekiness is for my own personal enjoyment and not something I preach. I’m still a big fan of old beer steins, original Weißbier and pint glasses with old-school logos but I do very much differentiate between “drinking” and “tasting”: when I’m drinking, when I’m out with friends for example, I don’t sniff, swirl and spit (I definitely don’t spit). I just drink and enjoy. But there are times where I take my time to “taste” and those are the times I absolutely appreciate these types of glasses… because in my opinion, they definitely enhance the tasting process.

Recommended for: fine hopped Pilsners and Lager style beers but I use these as my tasting glasses for a variety of beers and the larger Zalto bowls (wine glasses) for more aromatic & complex beers.

Zalto history (taken from their website):

In the northern part of Lower-Austria the tradition of glass blowing goes back to the early 14th century. The Zalto family, a glassmaking dynasty whose roots reach back to Venice, settled down in this region six generations ago. Since then Zalto has been producing high quality hand-blown glass in Neunagelberg.

The company was established 2006 in Neunagelberg, to give special focus on outstanding, hand-blown stemware with the acquired brands Zalto and Denk`Art.

True to tradition of the Zaltobrand, the company offers connoisseurs superior and state of the art glasses. All of them hand-blown by highly skilled glassblowers.

The Zalto glasses are not only about design. They are produced without the addition of lead oxide and are resistant against clouding. Despite its feather-light weight and delicate edges, the Denk`Art series of glasses maintains all the best attributes of a modern glass as far as care and longevity are concerned. Denk`Art glasses may be washed in a dishwasher and should be considered your everyday glass as well as the glass to use for your most special occasions.

For more information, visit the Zalto Glasmanufaktur website: www.zaltoglas.at

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About the Author

Finkus Bripp GC
Finkus Bripp GC Finkus is a freelance Multimedia Specialist (Graphic Designer, Videographer & Brander), an accredited Somm and a part-time Cat Behaviour Consultant (a.k.a. Cat Whisperer). The difference between his own and his client projects, is the amount of cussing involved. He's 100% responsible for this mess and hasn't lost his mind, it's backed up on an external hard-drive somewhere.

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