Glass Act

Craft beer and Mason jars clockwise from top left: Almanac Honey Saison, Big Sky Powder Hound, Drakes IPA, Sierra Nevada Torpedo IPA
By Kim Schimke

I am but a common gal who drinks from a common jar. Yes, I drink from a Mason jar. I often encounter friends, acquaintances, and Instagram followers that are perplexed by my glassware habit. Some are big fans of the Mason and applaud my drinking vessel selection; others feel I am doing a disservice to the brew. Due to the buzz surrounding the Mason jar, I figured I would write a little something that gives a quick glimpse of the history behind this object and profess my delight in drinking from it.

Hair of the Dog Adam and a Mason jarOnce upon a time long, long ago, a world without technology existed. Modern industrial improvements were undiscovered. Canning was one such activity that was done by hand. A clever fella, respectively named John Landis Mason, invented and patented the Mason jar, for food storage purposes. The world upgraded its awesome status in 1858 when Johnny boy, a tinsmith, introduced the masses to this container. Also known as a Ball jar, the Mason which was (and still is) sought after as a collectable antique, has made a resurgence in modern society, and the craft beer industry is no exception for this glassware paradigm shift. One of the most notable examples in craft is Lagunitas. Lagunitas capitalizes on the Mason with their iconic pooch imprinted on the glass. At last year’s Eat Real Fest in Oakland, the beer glasses were mini Masons. Bows and Arrows in Sacramento, California and Pasco Kitchen & Lounge in Tucson, Arizona are two other examples of hot spots serving their brews in the jar. The popularity of this basin is evident; a bandwagon I was more than happy to hop on.

Lagunitas Mason jar

Victory Prima Pils and a Mason jarI am fully aware of the appropriate glass types that correspond to their appropriate beer styles such as tulip, pilsner, goblet, pint, etc. These shapes are meant to enhance the beer drinking experience and add to the drinker’s appreciation. But here’s the thing, I never once felt that drinking from the Mason has detracted from my pleasure in consuming or appreciating my beverage. In fact, I quite adore the Mason for its durability and charm. Every time I pour my beer into the glass, a smile adorns my face. As my tagline has become “I like beer. Beer is fun,” I think the nifty nature of the Mason increases my glee upon my liquid intake. I try not to take life too seriously and I apply that same attitude to my beer drinking. Though I do educate myself on beer as much as I can and try to refine my palate, most days of the week, I just want to sit and enjoy a beer for the simple act of drinking something tasty. I am not too concerned with giving a formal assessment and debriefing my findings after each sip. I am still able to do a sensory evaluation of the brew from the Mason should I choose to. I able to detect key flavor characteristics, smell the aroma, notice the vibrant hues, and get the mouth feel.

I encourage the drinker to use whatever methods they choose that they personally feel will allow them to most appreciate their brews. After all, the joy of beer is in the full experience of drinking it, not just the drink itself. For me, the Mason is enchanting. I am lured by its old-fashioned façade and therefore, increases my enjoyment of craft. Personally, I don’t care what glass you drink from, it’s what’s in the glass that I care about.