This is yet another Hannibal-related beer post, because it turns out that Hannibal is a show television show for beer. Seriously, there is SO MUCH beer on this show, it is like 30% of the reason why I love it so much. Not only does it feature characters drinking and making beer, but, staying true to Hannibal Lecter’s pretentious foodie ways, it demonstrates proper beer glassware. That’s what we’re gonna talk about today.
So what does this different glassware do, other than make the beer look pretty? Like wine glasses or champagne flutes, the shape of the glass can affect how the beer smells, tastes and feels in your mouth. The glass shape plays a lot into helping a beer retain its head (the layer of bubbles on top), which keeps the flavor in the beer, because as soon as the beer hits air, the flavor (and the smell, which affects flavor a lot) starts to dissipate into the ether. The chart above is a good, quick guide to what type of glass is appropriate for what kind of beer, going by the beer’s color.
I don’t fetishize glassware to this degree, though I always love it when a place will have different glasses for each of their beers. I just prefer to not have to stock 20 kinds of glassware in my tiny, tiny kitchen. As shown in my beer photos, I only own types of glasses: a standard Shaker pint and a tulip glass (branded for Harpoon’s Leviathan beer line, which is my favorite ever), and those get me by. But as long as you pour the beer into a glass of some kind (a standard pint glass is always a good go-to), you’re good. If possible, don’t drink it from the bottle. You get a better flavor in a glass.
So! This gets us to what kind of beer Hannibal was serving up in those glasses. In episode four, “Ceuf,” judging by the shape of the beer glass (tall with straight sides), I guessed that he may have been serving Alana a lager of some kind — possibly a bock, going by the color. I’m not even going to ask why Hannibal has proper glassware in his psychiatry office — this show has asked us to suspend disbelief at many other points.
In episode seven, “Sorbet,” we get a good look at the inside of Hannibal’s fridge, and past the plastic-wrapped human offal we all know he has in there, we see that he keeps similar glasses right in the fridge door. (Keeping beer glassware in the fridge is actually a pretty good idea and one I should start doing.) Hannibal graciously offers Alana to try some beer he had brewed himself (no doubt brewed with human body parts, the possibility of which is a whole other post for another day), saying it was brewed in a wine barrel. (He then says it’s Alana own private reserve, which, awwwwwwww I would totally ship it if Hannibal wasn’t a murderous cannibal, but nothing says love like good beer.)
After watching the episode, I searched all over for beer that had been aged in wine barrels. Sadly, much of what I found was out of my price range — a bottle of wine barrel-aged beer can cost as much as a bottle of wine. Luckily, I did find a beer that had been aged in oak barrels, matching the oak taste Alana comments on when she tries Hannibal’s beer.
Hailing from Grand Rapids, Michigan, the Founders Brewing Co. produces a beer delightfully called “Curmudgeon.” It is a an old ale brewed with molasses and then aged in oak barrels. “Old ale” refers to darker, maltier versions of ale and they usually have a higher ABV than “mild ales.” Curmudgeon was at 9.8%, but doesn’t taste too alcoholic. The maltiness and molasses sweetness of the beer mellowed out any alcohol burn it may have had. This smoothness made it very nice to drink, and the slight hoppiness kept it interesting. Because of the high ABV, it is definitely a brew to sip slowly and savor.
This is very much a beer for the cold winter months, so while it was delicious, I will have to try to try it again when the season is right. However, given all of the dreary rain we’ve been getting in New England over the last few days, it is appropriate English-style weather for this type of brew.
In my search for wine barrel-aged beer, I also came across what I am dubbing the Will Graham/Alana Bloom “ship” beer: Innis & Gunn’s Irish whiskey cask, a stout aged in whiskey barrels (whiskey being Will’s go-to alcohol source). Rumor has it the barrels in question may be from Jameson (Innis & Gunn is based in Scotland).
Not to mince words, this beer is fucking delicious. I say this with the caveat that stouts are my favorite type of beer, so I am being EXTREMELY BIASED, but. Dude. This shit is amazing. Even just after pouring it I could tell that it was going to be great. The color is gorgeous and it has a wonderful mocha coffee smell, which most stouts have, but this one in particular was extra deep and rich and kldskllkdskldskllksd. The coffee could be tasted as well, mixing beautifully with the other chocolate-y, toffee, slightly burnt-sweet flavors, topped off with just a slight smoky, woody taste from the barrel aging process. Seriously, stouts are better than any dessert, and this one is now in my Top Five Stouts.
STOUTS STOUTS STOUTS I LOVE STOUTS that is all you need to know about me
and Bryan Fuller please put more beer in your lovely show