Everyone has experienced skunked beer. I remember spending most of my adolescence hating the European lagers my dad used to drink because they smelled so… off. For many, this is just an inevitable tasting note in their green-bottled beer. For others, it’s an unacceptable and avoidable consequence of improper beer storage.
How beer skunks is simple — it’s exposed to light. Or to be specific, UV light, which interacts with the chemicals in the beers’ hops making it smell and taste skunky (you can read the full science behind it on BRU-V’s website here). To protect their beer from the effects of UV, most companies use amber glass for their bottles, mitigating the effects of light. Those that don’t use amber glass suffer the consequences, as any Stella Artois or Steamwhistle drinker will tell you. But beer stored in amber bottles must face one, seemingly insurmountable hurdle — the pint glass. That’s where BRU-V comes in, with their UV-resistant amber pint glasses.
“Immediately upon pouring a beer into a clear glass in direct sunlight, you will notice a distinct “skunky” smell coming from the glass, whereas beer poured into an amber glass or even an opaque mug will do the trick,” Alan Wood, co-founder of BRU-V, explains in an email. “Some styles of beer can hide the taste better than others, but on any well hopped lager/pilsner the taste is immediately noticeable. The glass is obviously also very well positioned to help craft beers that employ more and more hops, as this is where the chemical reaction originates.”
It may seem a bit far-fetched to the casual beer imbiber, but to the real hop-heads who are notoriously “fussy” over their beer, BRU-V offers a chance to preserve beer in its most potable state.
After a century of drinking from clear pints, it takes a real visionary to try and re-invent the wheel. For Wood, the inspiration came from working at a brewery with an extremely fastidious brew-master who insisted on un-skunked beer, going as far as recommending Wood only drink beer stored in clear glass if he could pull it from an unopened box, and smuggle it to the cash register under his shirt. When Wood saw the lengths some people would go to save their beer, he sensed there was a market for UV resistant glasses — a theory quickly proven correct after he raised $36,000 in pre-sales for BRU-V on Kickstarter.
“We have been blown away by the initial interest in the product. Many people are skeptical at first, but as soon as we get a glass in their hands, everyone can see and taste the difference — which is remarkable,” Wood says. “It has been neat to watch the boom of the craft beer revolution, and we have even seen some notable breweries switching their bottles back to amber.”
Right now, BRU-V offers a single type of beer glass, in the popular “shaker” style. Wood, however, envisions a much large product selection in the future.
“We are full of ideas! Obviously, we would love to create a whole line of glassware so that each style of beer can [come] complete with its own unique shape of glass,” Wood says. “We also love the idea of doing a pitcher/mug, and creating plastic versions for use outside and at festivals.”
So what does someone who cares enough about saving beer to start his own company drink?
“Lately, I have been really getting into some new styles of beer, especially sours and saisons.” Wood explains. “I will always be a fan of the IPA, and really think it’s a classic style that will stick around for years to come.”
If you’re someone who appreciates beer beyond your casual Bud swiller, BRU-V might be just the product to protect your beer. And with a range of glasses anticipated to match every type of beer, this is definitely a company you’re going to want to keep your eyes on, and a glass you’re going to want to sip slow from.