How it works: Lambics are a naturally carbonated beer, thanks to the open fermentation process that attracts the wild airborne yeast in the Lambeek region of Belgium, where centuries-old breweries renowned for this style are still in full swing. These beers are traditionally served in flutes for the same reasons that apply to the presentation of champagne; the narrow design of the glass works like a perpetual motion machine, ensuring that the bubbles have nowhere to go but up. And as long as the bubbles keep moving, so do the flavors. Since many lambics are brewed with fermented fruit, they have a mighty potent taste. That goes for smell, too. They're so aromatic, in fact, that you'll be thankful the glass is narrow. A wider lip would release a heady aroma like a mushroom cloud with every tilt of the glass.
The verdict: A rose-colored beer from any other vessel is not the same. I had the opportunity to experiment with flutes at No. 9 Park, where I poured a Lindemans Framboise cq, which has a crimson blush because it's made with generous doses of raspberries. I also poured some into a wide-bottomed burgundy wine glass. As logic would dictate, it looked and tasted the same -- at first. After 15 minutes, though, the fruity flavors were still fizzing away in the flute. The berrylicious smell hit like a prizefighter from the wine glass, but all the air and surface area had given the bubbles a chance to disperse and fizzle out, leaving a syrupy sweetness in their wake. So unless you're going to do this one right, you might as well find an eatery where you can order a wine cooler.