The US Craft Beer revolution has arguably led us to have the best beers in the history available to us simply by going to the grocery store.
But, while the Craft Beer revolution has been changing the way beer is appreciated, it hasn't been able to change our view of how important glassware is to the experience. In Belgium, they truly understand how important glassware is to the flavor, in fact, a bartender can be FIRED for not serving a beer in the appropriate glass... Why have we been so slow to adopt this mindset? It's a conspiracy.
The conspiracy is between the bar owners and bar tenders. Since the repeal of the prohibition in 1933 bars have been serving beer in Shaker glasses, the glass 1/2 of the Boston Cocktail Shaker. There are many folk lore stories as to how they went from the side lines to becoming a beer glass but it seems most logical that they were there. A case of the right time/right place.
This was arguably fine when all beers had the same light lager profile. Garret Oliver Brewmaster for Brooklyn Brewery perhaps sums it up best with this quote: "Complaining that your glass wasn't good enough for your beer would have been like complaining your paper plate wasn't good enough for Wonder Bread," he says.
In terms of sheer utility, the shaker glass was exceptional. It was cheap, durable, steady, and stacked easily. A server needed to worry less about splashing or spilling than with a dainty flute, or about smashing that fancier glass on the way back to the bar. For managers, using the shaker for draft beer meant you needed fewer kinds of glasses in your bar, saving money and precious shelf space.
As beer has steadily improved over the last 30+ years, we have failed to bring all the standards up with it. It's time we started treating craft beer with more respect like we do with a fine wine or whiskey. The brewer's have put a lot of effort in to get you the best tasting beer they can; and if I can say so myself, they have done an excellent job!