Hey, Crew! You know, it is so often that we here at the Brew Review Crew find ourselves out in the wild with some of our favorite brews paired with a massive dilemma; what’s best to enjoy those brews? This chronic, and seemingly unsolvable problem is pervasive and all too common. Whether you are enjoying the weather at a park, soaking up some rays on the beach, hanging out with best friends at a tailgate, or bobbing along on the pristine waters of your hometown lake, the everlasting existential question remains; how should I drink this beer?! Although some breweries have seen the light and chosen to can their beer rather than bottle it – most of your favorite beers are only available in heavy, clunky, breakable bottles. So what options are we left with!?
Are we to act like uncivilized cavemen and drink it straight from the bottle; robbing the hand-crafted brew of its aromatic properties and thus minimizing the intended experience instilled by the brewer!? I think not! What are we? Animals?
The most common remedy for this first-world problem is to pour your liquid treasure into a red Solo cup. Sports fans, campers, boaters and other outdoor enthusiasts all over the world have joined Toby Keith in their proclamation of love for the portable and disposable fixture of popular drinking culture to enjoy their favorite beers wherever and whenever they’d like in the
cheapest most inexpensive way possible.
While there is certainly nothing wrong with the red Solo cup, it is not really the ideal vessel for your craft brew. Many craft beer lovers have equated drinking a craft beer out of a Solo cup to drinking beer out of a bucket. The red Solo cup, much like the American pint glass just does not do an adequate job of trapping the aroma and flavor that is intended in craft beer. One beer-loving maverick by the name of Joel Bigham (CEO of Fermented Reality, a vendor of craft beer culture goods) realized this issue and thus was conceived the idea of B-Cups; the portable, plastic cup specifically designed for craft beer.
B Cups are a plastic cup designed after the intensely popular IPA glass designed by Spiegelau whose radically unique design aimed to support the complex and volatile aromas in IPA style beers. We here at The Brew Review Crew own the Spiegelau IPA glass and use it nearly exclusively when enjoying our IPAs, so we were extremely excited when we were given the opportunity to review a sleeve of B Cups by Fermented Reality.
Before we get into the review, here is an excerpt from the B Cups website describing their product:
“The first go-anywhere plastic IPA cup in the world!
We love our Dogfish Head / Spiegelau IPA glassware and drinking beer from a proper glass is important to us. So in situations where glass just wouldn’t do, we were sick about having to drink beer from a red party cup. Rather than complain about it, we decided to do something about it!
B Cups plastic IPA cups are ONLY available from Fermented Reality! B Cups IPA cups are made from a rigid, shatterproof, fully transparent, BPA-free plastic. Your B Cups will last for dozens of uses when rinsed well with only water. Even left out overnight, these cups come clean with a little dish soap and warm water and leave no residual stale beer smell.
Ideally suited for:
… and much more!”
The Brew Review Crew B Cup Review
Upon receiving our B Cup sleeve, which included four plastic B Cup cups, I decided to do a side-by-side visual comparison with the IPA Glass by Spiegelau.
The theoretical engineering behind the IPA Glass by Spiegelau, and ergo, the B Cup, is ingenious. What you taste in a beer is largely influenced by the accompanying aroma; thus, the IPA Glass by Spiegelau and the B Cup is designed with aroma in mind. The shape of the glass pours an ideal flow onto the palate for the flavorful beers that IPAs tend to be: 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.
You’ll notice from the image above that the B Cup (Left) is very similar to the IPA Glass (Right). The engineering is solid on both, and the desired outcome is achieved on both models. I had no noticeable difference in aroma or flavor in comparing the two glasses.
The B Cup is much more friendly in term of packable size. The B Cup is smaller than the IPA Glass by Spiegelau, and being plastic, also weighs considerably less, especially when packing a few to go. The B Cups stack quite nicely, and can easily be thrown in the cooler with your frosty brews (something I’d hesitate to do with an actual glass).
Smart? or Snob?
I think the idea behind the B Cup is awesome. There are plenty of situations where I can definitely see the B Cup as a preferable option to the red Solo cup. Campfires out back, craft beer festivals, outdoor tasting areas at breweries, bottle releases, concert venues and countless others are all situations or places I would rather not be carrying an actual glass for my beer; especially one that is as awkward looking as the Spiegelau IPA Glass. The B Cup is lightweight, small, and perfectly enhances the aromatic and flavorful qualities of the well-made craft beer of choice. Unfortunately, I just am not sure if beer drinkers at large are ready for this type of glassware.
Nobody likes a beer snob. We have referenced the ongoing jabs by Big Beer in an effort to piggyback on stereotypes meant to demean and poke-fun at craft beer drinkers. I’m not sure that drinking out of a plastic B Cup does anything to avoid the propagation of those types of ads and stereotypes.
One can just imagine sitting at a tailgate outside of a major college or professional football stadium with friends and family celebrating the day and counting down the minutes until kickoff. Food, festivities and beer all around. 99% of folks are enjoying their adult beverages in a variety of different colored Solo cups. And then there’s the guy with the B Cups. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the B Cup. It is a great solution to a very real annoyance that many craft beer fans experience. I’m just not sure that they are appropriate for every social situation – and maybe that is okay. I just can’t see the fraternity brothers at Ohio State playing flip cup with B Cups!
Overall, we here at the Brew Review Crew fully endorse the B Cup as a solution to the age old problem of how to properly enjoy a craft beer when glassware just won’t do. We will be using B Cups on our own beer-based adventures and hope that you too will give them a shot!
Would you purchase plastic IPA glassware? Let us know below!
If you have already purchased your very own sleeve of B Cups, please let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.
B Cups retail for $15.00 for a sleeve of four. One nice aspect is that although they are plastic, they are rinsable and reusable!
Check out Fermented Reality on their Social Media outlets:
Want to stay connected to the conversation about B Cups? Use the hashtag #ProperPlasticware and #BCups