Table of Contents
- History of Beer Mug
- How Big is a Beer Mug?
- What is the Use of a Beer Mug?
- What Are The Sizes Of Beer Glasses?
- American Pint Glasses
- Imperial Pint Glasses
- Pilsner Glasses
- Tulip Glasses
- Thistle Glasses
- IPA Glasses
- Stout Glasses
- Weizen Glasses
- Stange Glasses
- Teku-Stemmed Beer Glasses
- Beer Mugs
- Glass Beer Boots
Beer has been man’s best friend since it was first invented about 7,000 years ago. However, the industrial revolution gave new light to this brewed beverage and production has increased from home breweries to industrial scale in the 18th century.
It is worthy to note that over the years, many of the earlier discoveries that lead to the more efficient production of beer are still being used up to the present. One of the most noteworthy is the use of amber bottles to protect the beer from the UV rays. From 1912 up to now, there is very little change, especially in the bottling of dark beers.
However, even with the reverence to beer over the ages and the number of beer types the world over, beer drinkers seem to agree on one thing - beer is best served in a glass. Why? The aroma of the beer helps mask the bitter taste of the beer. The bursting of the microbubbles in the head (the froth that forms when the beer is poured) helps to highlight the good side of the beer instead of its taste.
So while others try to pour a beer with as little head as possible, that should not be the case. Pour it to have some froth and drink it while the head is still on the top of the beer. It helps you to enjoy the beer more.
History of Beer Mug
Let’s take a while to learn the history of the ubiquitous beer mug. Maybe next time, you will not look at your beer mug in the same light you do now.
In 1639, Sir Robert Mansell acquired a monopoly on glassmaking in Britain but the beer glasses that these glasses were very expensive. There were also imported glasses from Venice but those were also expensive.
In the 1660s, a beer glass was sold at 6 pence each (about £50 or $60 each). In 1745 onwards, the beer glasses became smaller since they were taxed according to their weight. However, they were still very expensive and were a status symbol as only the rich can afford them.
In the 18th century, when the first glass press was invented, the glasses were a bit less expensive and lighter. By the 1920s, the first 10-sided, handled pint mug was first mass-produced, becoming the alter ego for beer. However, it was replaced by the dimpled mug which supposedly made the beer more attractive. By the 1960s the ten-sided tankard was no longer produced to give way to straighter, lighter glasses.
The lighter glasses, while they may be favored, prove to be not as sturdy as they look as they are easily chipped and broken when clinked together on a toast. Nonik glasses provided a solution to this by having a bulge near the top to improve the grip of the drinker, for easier removal from the stack and making the glass stronger to prevent chipping. It may have solved the problem of chipping, drinkers do not favor these glasses because they were very plain-looking.
How Big is a Beer Mug?
Depending on the glass, it ranges from 3.5 ounces to 34 ounces.
1. Dimple Mug
The dimpled mug makes it easier to handle during washing. Designed to look like a hand grenade, it exudes strength but more importantly, it helps to make the beer in the mug less intimidating.
This is actually a pint glass but it is handled so it is usually called a “Handle”. It has a capacity of 5 ounces (quarter ounce glass) to a 1 pint (16 ounces). In between, a half-pint mug can hold 10 oz.
2. Pub Beer Mug
Pub beer mugs usually have a capacity of 10 to 17 ounces. These are the mugs as we know now.
3. Beer Steins
Beer steins usually have a capacity of 12 to 37 ounces. While it is currently used to serve beer, it was never the purpose of it in the first place. As it is, the word stein means stone in German but may have been misunderstood and later popularized by American soldiers. While it does sound like a beer stein, bierstein may actually refer to residue buildup in the brewing vessel, instead of a drinking vessel.
However, it is fair to note that the beer stein as we know today originated from stoneware jugs called steinkrug. Before the invention of glass, stoneware mugs were used to serve beer. The hinged lid was added to prevent the beer from being contaminated by flies during the height of the black plague.
What is the Use of a Beer Mug?
One of the drawbacks when drinking beer is that it loses its integrity when it is already warm, leaving it tasting flat. To improve that, bartenders and glassmakers worked together to design glass with a handle to keep the hand away from the glass.
Beer steins, on the other hand, was first used in Germany as a way to stave off the possibility of being infected with bubonic plague in the 16th century. Originally, it was made of stoneware but it can also be made from porcelain, pewter, silver or wood.
How Large Is a Pint Glass?
As the name implies, a pint glass can hold an imperial pint equivalent to 1.2 US pints.
What Are The Sizes Of Beer Glasses?
Different beer glasses can hold different amounts of beer. For the purpose of discussion in this article, pint refers to the US pint which holds 16 ounces.
This very basic glass is the most popular of the beer glasses listed here since it is the cheapest and can be used to serve just about any beer. With just 16 ounces to it, the American pint glass is the perfect size to get you to enjoy your beer without forcing it down too soon in fear of it getting warm and flat.
A little larger than the American pint glass, the Imperial pint glass packs 20 ounces of any beer you can think of. It also has a small lip that is designed to let the glass naturally tip on your mouth to take a big gulp of your drink, instead of sipping it.
Pilsner glasses are footed glasses that don't have a stem much like the goblet, chalice and tulip glasses. The foot is meant to give stability to the tapering design on the glass. This glass is meant to display the light color, effervescence, and clarity of pilsner beers. It can hold up to 14 ounces of
Tulip glasses resemble both the goblet and the thistle glass only that it has a narrower rim than the goblet or chalice. It was designed to capture the head and promote the aroma of the Belgian ales. It is used to serve strong and dark ales and Belgian IPAs. It can hold up to 16 ounces of beer.
Thistle glasses are almost the same as hurricane glasses; only the bulge on the bowl has more pronounced and angular sides. It can hold 20 ounces of beer and is best used to serve Scotch ales. This is a truly Scottish tradition as the shape is inspired by the thistle, the national flower of Scotland.
The goblet can hold 21 ounces of your favorite German wheat beer, especially if stange glasses are too small for you. It also looks more sophisticated than a beer mug while keeping the hand away from the beer, inadvertently warming it.
7. IPA glasses
Shaped just like the stout glasses, IPA glasses are taller and sleeker, and can hold only 19 ounces compared to the 21 of the stout glasses. They are also best used to serve IPAs. The more slender rim allows the release of carbonation, bombarding your nose as the minute bubbles burst while you drink from it.
Stout glasses can hold 21 oz of your favorite stout. Its design is meant to highlight the aroma of the coffee and chocolate common in stouts.
Weizen glasses are another giant of a beer glass. It can hold up to 24 ounces of beer, easily serving 2 12-oz cans in a single glass. The wiezen glass is best used to serve wheat beers and light, aromatic beers as it can form a thick, fluffy head, making the beer more enticingly sweet.
10. Stange Glasses
Slim, sleek and tall, this is known as the equivalent of the champagne flute for beers. The narrow body and opening make it an appropriate glass for light-bodied beers. Contrary to the beer boot which is more popular in the US, the stange glass is a classic beer glass for German beers. It can hold less than 7 ounces of beer so in the beer world, it is very small.
Not to be mistaken as a glass for spirits, especially wines, the teku-stemmed beer glasses look like a wine glass, only more angular on the sides as compared to the curved bowl of wine glasses. It can hold 11-14 ounces of beer and is used to serve fine craft beers.
12. Beer Mugs
A beer mug can hold various amounts of beer, depending on the size. This glass, although it was lost in circulation in the 1960s is still the classic beer glass. The smallest can hold less than a pint to more than a liter for the bigger ones. This glass is still favored because of its handle that keeps the hand away from the body of the glass, therefore providing more insulation to the beer.
Usually, though, a beer mug holds 16 ounces of beer.
13. Glass Beer Boots
If you are a general, would you challenge your men to win a battle in exchange for a drink of beer on your leather boots? Apparently, it was what happened to a Prussian general who dared his men. The cunning general then had a glassmaker fashion a glass shaped like a boot so he won’t have to drink his beer from his filthy boots.
The beer boot, known in Germany as bierstiefel, the largest of which can hold up to 2 liters or 67 ounces, is the healthy alternative to filthy boots. The challenge lies in drinking the beer without dribbling it on your shirt. The toe of the boot creates a hollow as you consume it until bubbles push the drink more forcibly out if you don’t know how to drink from it. The secret lies in slightly tilting the toe to the side to lessen the rush of the beer from the boot to your throat.
Before you purchase your beer glass, it is best to understand the different beer types and styles. You never know if a particular type or style may interest you in the future. For non-beer drinkers, the reason may be deeper than you may think. Read here to understand. Maybe you can start off with a beer-wine hybrid that will eventually make you love the beer.
A good start would be this 6-piece assorted beer glass set. Composed of an American pint glass, nonik glass, tulip glass, pilsner glass, wiezen glass and a goblet, this is a very good set to let you explore how each glass really affects the taste of a particular beer.
Oktoberfest may be far off but might as well start honing that beer-drinking skills. Who knows? You might actually enjoy drinking from a boot the next time.