Over a month ago I wrote about the Bend Ale Trail and how, for completed Ale Trail maps, the Visit Bend organization was giving away Silipints: pint glasses made from 100% silicone. However, they were backordered, and only finally got them in a week ago—so now with Silipint in hand, I can now write up that promised review.
First, the facts: there is now a Silipint website that gives us a good breakdown of exactly what the Silipint is and offers:
- 100% silicone, heat-resistant and insulated (range of -58°F to 675°F): it keeps cold liquids cold, and hot liquids hot
- Odor-resistant and anti-microbial
- Food-safe (according to FDA standards) and dishwasher-safe
- Holds 16 ounces (though I have not tested this directly yet), weighs 8.8 ounces empty, and shaped like a standard pint glass
Based on all of that, this sounds like the ideal container for drinking beer: it won’t break, it won’t accumulate gunk or off-flavors, it’s easy to clean, and it’s safely portable. So let’s take more of a hands-on look.
One thing immediately becomes clear, or not clear as the case may be: the Silipint is translucent at best, and (looking at the colors on the Silipint website) completely opaque at worst. For anyone who’s a stickler for the visual experience of their beer, this will be a strike against it. However, for the Silipint’s intended purpose—providing a collapsible, non-breakable, easy-traveling appliance, there’s really no quibble.
And you can see with the Bend Ale Trail Silipints, they’re neutrally-colored and will provide the best of the visuals, such as they are.
(The reason for the translucency is because the outer surface is “grip honed,” basically a rough surface to keep it from slipping from your hands. I’m not sure they would otherwise be transparently clear, though.)
Let’s take a closer look a the thickness of the material—when I first envisioned these, I was thinking in terms of the silicone cookware you can pick up in kitchen specialty stores—sturdy but “über-collapsible.” Fortunately, the Silipints are not that flimsy; flexible, yes, but they won’t collapse and spill beer all over you when you go to pick them up:
You can see the nice thick wall of the pint glass, which helps with insulation and makes for a very sturdy container. And while the Silipint is easily “crushable” and flexible, it’s not nearly as structurally unsound as I was envisioning—in fact, the base is fairly inflexible, which is good, this makes for a very sturdy vessel. On the other hand, you won’t be crumpling it up to conveniently throw in a side pocket of your backpack.
But how about holding beer?
It does the job: it easily holds 12 ounces of beer (which leads me to believe it will hold a full 16 ounces, thus qualifying as an Honest Pint) and though translucent, you can see enough to get an idea of what you’re drinking.
I wouldn’t be reviewing beers from this glass, where a big part of the experience is assessing the visual appearance of the beer, but as I mentioned that’s not what this is for anyway.
One thing I most definitely did wonder about with the Silipint was head retention: since this is a different material than most drinking vessels, would the silicone affect the formation of the head on the beer?
I am pleased to say that, other than looking perhaps a bit more rocky or “rough” than you might see in a piece of glassware, there was no significant affect on how well the head formed and lasted throughout.
As for the drinking of the beer—other than the novelty of drinking from a rubberized-feeling container, everything was as it should be: it smelled like Obsidian Stout, it tasted like Obsidian Stout, and it had that nice creamy mouthfeel of an Obsidian Stout.
Plus I think—though I didn’t measure this objectively—the Silipint did insulate the beer and keep it cooler throughout drinking it than a glass container would have. The walls of the Silipint are thick enough that it should be fairly insulated, and you could feel the cool temperature of the liquid through them—but there was none of the obvious “cold beer” effects you can feel and see on a glass container (like condensation).
Overall, I think the Silipints are what I was hoping (and expecting) them to be. We’re going to take them camping in a couple of weeks and do a thorough “field testing” of them then, but in the meantime they are great for casual beer drinking—think parties, barbecues, camping, beer festivals, and so on. You wouldn’t use these for more “serious” beer events like tastings and competitions, but that’s okay—they fit their niche nicely and do their job well.
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