I thought of Reg for the first time in years when enjoying a glass or two of Lagunitas IPA in the Hops and Glory in Islington. It’s an amiable and easy-going kind of pub, named after a certain book that anyone with any interest in beer should read and majoring in (let’s not beat around the bush) craft beers. So there I was with my first pint of Lagunitas’ IPA and decided that I needed another to get to the heart of what the beer was all about. Another please, the bar man nodded, would I like it one of Lagunitas’ branded ‘jam jars’. He showed me it and yes it looked like a jam jar. Does it hold a pint I asked? It did. I’ve drank from some curious glasses (if I order a glass of Kwak in my local there are always people who have never seen the test-tube-in-a-wooden-bracket glass before and it seems to cause a minor sensation but then we live in the countryside and we still turn out in droves to watch the air ambulance land on the football field) and once at Boston airport I rather enjoyed a glass of Sam Adams from that peculiar glass that the brewery developed with the aim of enhancing the flavour and aroma of the beer (I thought it worked even though the glass’s shape reminded me of that bloke’s face in The Scream).
Back to the jam jar. As I write I’m still trying to work out my feelings about it — yes it was simple and utilitarian, easy to hold, and the perfect alternative to the handled dimpled hipster’s choice mug (the sort of glass you’d imagine Ukip members drink from), but I’m still not sure whether it’s a bit of a gimmick. What does it say about the beer in the glass? That it’s ordinary and down-to-earth? That nobody really cares how it’s served. That it’s quirky (as in Timmy Mallet rather than Dali)? On the other hand why shouldn’t an IPA become as John Doe as PBR or Bud? It’s a lovely beer, being spicy, peppery, hoppy, fruity, dry and bitter over several layers, a beer that given time I would have studied for the rest of the evening. Yet, the jam jar haunts me, I wonder why?