Hello readers, Mr. Penguin aka The Husband here. Today, I'm going to talk about one of my favorite things; beer. Yes, beer. Stella Artois beer, to be precise. My wife was offered an opportunity via bzzagent.com to review the Stella Artois 9 Step Belgian Pouring Ritual and received a Stella Artois Chalice to use. Since she isn't much of a beer drinker, I nobly volunteered for the duty.
Now, I'd never had Stella before, so I was looking forward to trying something new. I'm normally into darker beers such as Guinness, which Stella definitely is not. It's a lager beer, lighter than I usually like, but hey, it's beer! I was also supposed to test whether their fancy-pants 'chalice' really has any effect on the flavor of the product.
The chalice itself is actually quite pretty, it's a crystal goblet-type glass, with a gold-edged rim and a fancy carving on the stem that supposedly helps leach body heat away from the glass itself, allowing the beer to stay cold longer. I have no idea if that works or not, but it looks cool.
The first thing I did was to open a bottle and drink it straight, no fancy glassware or other accoutrements, just to get a feel for the flavor. The first thing I noticed was a decidedly odd smell; not unpleasant or skunky, mind you, just different. The beer itself was pretty good, not my usual style but certainly drinkable. Nothing really to set it apart from other similar pale lagers such as Heiniken.
So the next step was to try out the chalice. I poured my second beer according to the directions (yes, they give you directions on how to pour an ideal glass, to balance the head or some such jazz). Now, I'll admit, I never had much use for the idea that the shape of a glass could have a profound impact on the flavor of a beverage, be it beer, wine, or anything else. Imagine my surprise, then, when my first sip from the chalice actually tasted noticeably different! Using the chalice definitely focused the aroma, just as the advertisements claimed. and since a significant portion of 'taste' is actually smell, it made for a noticeable improvement in the flavor.
My final judgement is that Stella Artois is a perfectly acceptable light lager, if you're into that style of beer. It's a bit pricier than most of its competitors, by about a dollar or so per six-pack, but not tremendously so. Personally, I don't think I'll be drinking it again, though. It's not that it's bad, it's just not my style. I'm definitely a convert to the idea of specialized glassware now; the chalice seems to do everything they claim it will, and it looks very attractive as well. Try it for yourself, and see what you think!
Disclosure: I am a BzzAgent and received these products from BzzAgent.com for review at no cost to me. I receive no monetary compensation for my open and unbiased review. All opinions are mine.