Shapes for suds
Variety of beer: Trappist ales and abbey-style beers
How it works: Pour a beer into a chalice and the wide-bowled bottom allows for the rapid release of aromas, much like in a red wine glass. Those aromas, or nose, are agitated when the brew is swirled around a bit. The Trappist ales that commonly occupy these vessels are so-called because they're brewed by Trappist monks, who devote their lives to brewing beer, making cheese, and other acts of toothsome benevolence. It was in the eleventh century when Benedictine monks started the tradition at the Orval monastery, so it's only fitting to sip these ales from a goblet reminiscent of bygone eras. Trappist ales are famous for their strength and complexity, and the wide rim of the chalice allows you to get your nose right into the elaborate interplay of hops, malt, and yeast. Plus, as Jason Alstrom of beeradvocate.com jokes, the gold rim on glasses bearing the Chimay logo suggests the stately superiority of that monastery's concoctions.
The verdict: The first thing you notice when you order a Chimay Grande Resesrve at Redbones is how the colossal bottle towers over your friends' pint glasses. The second thing you notice is that on the label, there is a small sketch of a pint glass beside a chalice. The pint glass has an "X" drawn through it. Enough said. The monks of Chimay have been brewmasters since 1862, so their authority is not to be contested.
(Text by Liza Weisstuch, Globe correspondent, Photo by Lane Turner, Globe Staff)