Saturday, 11 September 2010

Having us for Mugs


There is a terrible trend emerging it seems and it needs to be strangled at birth. The dimpled, handled mug is making an undeserved comeback. This old man's glass, so common thirty odd years ago, was thankfully dying out and only available by request. It was the reserve of the pub bore and for the few old soaks that still required them to drink their brown beer from. It was becoming history and when you saw the odd one, you thought back with misplaced nostalgia to the era of the Sweeney, the three day week, shillings, Watney's and Younger's Tartan and immediately specified "a straight glass please" with your order, in case the dimpled horror should be inflicted on you and your golden, hoppy, micro brewed beer.

Now, zombie like, it is lurching out of its grave and to add to the macabre horror, it is trendy and up and coming real ale spots that seem to be encouraging it. Well don't. It is an awful glass to drink out of and does nothing for the appearance or taste of modern beer. Its thick wall is off putting and it looks as wrong and alien in a contemporary pub, as would decorating it with flock wallpaper, frilly standard lamps and putting formica covered tables and lino in. It is out of place and out of time.

Retro can be good. Not in this case. Don't do it and for those misguided establishments that do, please make sure you have a straight, thin walled glass for proper drinkers.

31 comments:

Barm said...

Hehe, I have noticed this retro affectation too in several places. I don't dislike the dimple mug as much as you, but then I am too young to have seen them much first time round.

Only amber to copper coloured beer looks good in the dimple. I agree it looks terrible with anything paler (or darker).

Tandleman said...

It was reading your piece today that inspired me to write this, though it has been in my mind for a while.

Velky Al said...

One of my favourite pubs over here has them for everything, Fullers ESB, Spaten, a local porter from St George brewing company, whatever. My other regular drinking hole has pint nonics, so plenty of Brit style "retro" here as well.

Sid Boggle said...

First time I went into the Betjeman Arms on St Pancras station, they were pouring a pint of something into one. I had to stop them and ask for a different glass. I like to do it like Michael Caine in "Get Carter" - "a thin glass". The guy looked at me like I was mad.

Ed said...

Surely like not having sparklers this is a traditional Southern thing that should be celebrated for maintaining our regional variation.

ZakAvery said...

North Bar in Leeds do it for all their cask ales. I keep forgetting about it until presented with the dimpled monstrosity, by which time it's too late.

The Beer Nut said...

Not just because I'm a dimples fan but... you really want to sort out your half-pints before worrying about these. Those slimjims you guys use are a far greater and more widespread crime against beer.

Oh, and get some bloody beermats on the table.

Paul Bailey said...

Haven't noticed them creeping in round here, and yes I do remember them first time round.

Noticed a fair few of them last year in Prague, of all places!

StringersBeer said...

Not only ugly and stupid, but a stunning projectile also. I've a nice scar on my forehead from a straight (thin) glass - one of these would have killed me.

Martyn Cornell said...

Only amber to copper coloured beer looks good in the dimple. I agree it looks terrible with anything paler (or darker).

Indeed. Still, vastly better than those fahking awful Noniks, though, which make any beer look shite.

Barm said...

Unless Martyn starts up a company manufacturing the 12-sided mug, the nonik is still my preferred glass, considering the alternatives. The currently fashionable shaker-style pint glass is hideous if you ask me. It has no style, no curves.

RedNev said...

Is this an argument about aesthetics, or does the beer actually taste different? None of the comments above suggest the taste is affected, and I don't think it is.

Faced with dimple mugs, I always asked for a straight glass, which occasionally caused some scrabbling around on glass shelves. But if I'm being honest, the taste was unchanged. What used to annoy me was that these glasses were actually so much heavier. Not a major problem for me, although I saw no point in carrying unnecessary glassware around, but quite likely to be a problem if, for example, you have arthritis in your hands.

Anonymous said...

What are you some kind of communist?! This is wonderful type of glass to drink good beer from. What is wrong with you people?

Mark

Coxy said...

I liked a curved glass as it reminds me of Rachel Welch in 2000 BC, a sensual feel that can lead to added sensation as you quench your thirst. The Dimpled mug reminds me of Teenage acne and the the drinking sensation is marred by the images of Puss.

Tyson said...

These are one retro feature that should have stayed in the past. Keeping some behind the bar, for people with strange preference, is fine but they shouldn't be the norm.

Of course, one of the reasons they died off was that they were considered dangerous. Their resurgence, in Manchester at least, is that they are now made of toughened safety glass.

StringersBeer said...

Heavy? At least 60% more than a straight glass. Thick. Space wasting. Slow to cool. And there's often a mould seam against your lip. Won't stack. Dumb things. They can only really work in a place that doesn't do a lot of pints and where the "retro vibe" is more important that the beer. Or you could just have a sign outside advertising "ironic future-retro post-industrial drinking experience".

Montague said...

It's a fucking beer mug for fuck sake!! Are you really this mental Peter?? I guess I'll find out next summer.

Laurent Mousson said...

I seem to remember a scene in "Get Carter" (the 1971 one with Michael Caine) where Carrter, as a "southerner" enters a pub in Newcastle and orders a beer "in a thin glass". Is that what you're referring to ?

with my rather large hands, I quite like mugs, but definitely more the Conical tudor tankard or the German types than the dimpled mug...

Kieran Haslett-Moore said...

You deliver such wonderfull news. I love dimpled pints. Next you will be saying there's a sparkler shortage :-)

Tandleman said...

Martyn - Couldn't agree more about nonics too.

RedNev - Yes it can be perceived differently. Thicker glass gives (to me) a different mouthfeel.

Kieran - I'd say NZ is the best place for them. Let's ship 'em off there. You guys are still in the 60's aren't you? (-;

Matt said...

Maybe the thin glass is becoming the reserve of the beer bore and the old soaks!

Tandleman said...

Matt - If that means no dimple mugs, count me in. Heck. Count me in anyway.

Ron Pattinson said...

Dimpled mugs - the worst ever type of glass. Heavy, cumbersome, with an unusable handle. Crap in every single way.

Now a tulip, there's an elegant and practical glass.

Jeffrey said...

A lot of drinkers much prefer them - particularly those under 35 - so I keep a couple of dozen on the shelves. I doubt there are any serious ale pubs that use them exclusively simply because they're more expensive and you can't get them free from breweries!

I agree with you - straight glasses are best - but I have no problem with jugs if they make people happy.

Erlangernick said...

Well what about this kind of mug then:
http://i53.tinypic.com/5yx2mg.jpg
(Beer pictured is the over-sparged, undermalted, underhopped Export from the brewery at the former monastery in Weissenohe. Yeah, a real treat, this one.)

Typically used for Weizenbier, not as thick as a litre or half litre Glaskrug is, and a nearly tulip-y shape. What do we call these?

Paul Garrard said...

Thankfully the dimpled jug has not made an appearance where I live. It is awful and I would refuse to drink from one. Montague, what planet are you on?

The only people that would want to drink ale from a dimpled jug are wine drinkers and tories.

Erlangernick said...

Tories, wine drinkers, and those who "go".
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ona-RhLfRfc

Does this place actually exist? I'd have a pint there if I could:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jT3_UCm1A5I

Barm said...

Typically used for Weizenbier, not as thick as a litre or half litre Glaskrug is, and a nearly tulip-y shape. What do we call these?

Fecking hideous is what we call those. Where's the bleach? I need to wash my eyes.

Ron, a tulip is a nice shape, but a half pint one is too small and a pint one is clumsy and ungainly. It doesn't work while the nip, half pint and pint are the only legal measures.

Martin B said...

Haven't noticed this trend where I live yet - North Somerset, but remember when I first started drinking in pubs in the early 70s that I needed to specify a straight glass or a sleever when I moved to the West Country in 1977 from the SE.

Horrible things those "jugs" or "handles" and I had almost forgotten they existed.

azathoth said...

You all appear to have forgotten the main purpose of pots with a handle. They don't slide through your fingers when you are hammered

Anonymous said...

I disagree. I am an all grain brewer and have been for 30 years. A glass is purely a vessel for the drinker. If it gives us pleasure - let us drink from whatever we wish. Personally I like a bitter in straight glass, but sometimes when I think of my father I go for a jug. The beer is what matters. Subsonic40grain