Should you be immediately skeptical of the design of Spiegelau's new glass designed specifically for India pale ales, you may want to know Ken Grossman was too.

The founder of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., who sat on a panel that chose the glass from about a dozen prototypes, admitted the glass looks, well, let's go with Grossman's word: "unusual."

"We sort of chuckled about it," Grossman said. "But we kept coming back to the fact that it really enhances the aroma."

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And there you have the point of Spiegelau's IPA glass, which will be in stores May 1. Created in conjunction with Grossman and Sam Calagione, founder of Dogfish Head Brewery, the unlikely shape is designed to highlight not just an IPA's flavor, but its florid, piney, citrus-heavy aroma. When drinking an IPA, the relationship between aroma and flavor is important.

While many beer glasses can be appropriate for an IPA , Spiegelau's vice president of sales in the U.S., Matt Rutkowski, believes he and his panel of craft beer all-stars have found the standard.

The shape of the glass, Rutkowski said, pours an ideal flow onto the palate for such flavorful beer: short of a gulp, but beyond a sip. Meanwhile, its oval-shaped bowl allows an IPA's pungency to coalesce in the nose, while the ridges along its stem agitate the beer with each drink, releasing added aroma and flavor.

Branded versions of Spiegelau's IPA glass are available for $9 though the Sierra Nevada (sierranevada.com) and Dogfish Head (dogfish.com) websites. On May 1, unbranded versions will be available in $25 two-packs from Spiegelau (spiegelauusa.com) and retailers including Bloomingdale's, Williams-Sonoma and Crate & Barrel.

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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