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Best Types of Beer Glasses
Beer - ideal for pairing with food, for social gatherings or simply for giving yourself a treat at home. Beer has been around since the 5th century and back then they were just served in wooden tankards as you would see in movies set in medieval times. Throughout the years, there have been numerous developments of beer as has the glassware.
Sure, you can drink beer directly from the bottle or the can but serving it in a glass is much better and makes it more presentable. People may just bypass the fact that glass has an effect on your beer and not just because of looks. Keep reading to find out more.
How to Choose the Best Glass for Beer?
Just like wine, beer also comes in different types according to their components, process and color. With all of these varieties, they can’t be served in a single type of glass because it’ll be boring. If you feel like grabbing any glass that you have on hand to serve your beer in, you may want to rethink your choice.
Most beers contain 5% - 14% alcohol by volume (ABV), so some people are comfortable chugging their beer. The first factor to consider is the width of the rim of the glass. The rim dictates the speed of drinking and the wider the rim, the faster the beer is drunk. Also, a wide rim allows more exposure to the air which will induce carbonation and leaves the beer to aerate quickly. This means that you can enjoy your beer before it gets flat.
The second factor is the shape of the glass as this can affect foam or head retention. Tall and thin glasses more likely trap more bubbles, thus creating long-lasting foam over a small surface area. This will then lead to overall presentation of the drink since having to see that foam plays a role in the experience. To find out more about how glass shape affects beer, check out this page.
16 Best Beer Glasses in 2020
Beer glass continues its evolution every now and then. It’s normal that the glassware industry continually increases as well. Here are some of the most popular types of beer glasses that you should know for your next beer endeavors:
1. Pint Glasses
The pint or shaker glass is the most common type of beer glass used in the United States along with the beer mug. It is used for a wide range of beer such as American ales, pilsners, India pale ale (IPA) and lagers, leading to its ubiquity. There are four types of pint glasses, which are as follows:
American pint - Also known as the shaker pint, this is the most recognizable pint glass. It has a simple design featuring a wider rim than the base and can occupy 16 ounces of beer. Some say that it’s better off used in shaking but nevertheless, it is still a staple in most restaurants and bars because of its availability and inexpensiveness.
- English or Nonic pint - The English pint glass is recognized by its iconic small curve or outward bulge about 2 inches below its rim. It is preferred for drinking English ales and lager, hence the name. The curve actually serves a purpose, other than it allows easy stacking, it also adds a second layer of flavor and aroma. It is comfortable in the hand that gives a nice grip that prevents the glass from being dropped. It can get quite difficult to clean the bulge part though so be sure so get these cleaned thoroughly. It can occupy 20 ounces of beer which can encourage a nice head. It's also a widely popular beer glass.
Irish or Imperial or tulip pint - The Irish pint sort of resembles the Coca Cola glass, the one that has a nice curve giving the top part a wider rim. It is best known for serving Guinness and other Irish stouts and dark beers. Like the English pint, the Irish pint can also hold 20 ounces. The slight curve can also trap flavor and aroma and can help maintain foam. Although they have a short stem, it still gives you allowance to hold it without warming your beer and is a very popular beer glass in Europe.
2. Pilsner Glass
Hearing about beer, you must have associated it with pilsner glasses, right? This one has the shape of a tulip pint but way taller and skinnier. It has a curvature starting a couple of inches from the base to the top. Don’t let its height fool you, this glass can actually only hold less beer, around 10-16 ounces at best of pilsners and lagers. But, there’s also an advantage, to combine the beer's pale colors, its carbonation and the slender structure of the glass, it gives a visually appealing drink. The slightly wider top enhances the flavors and aromatics of the beer and can retain the foam. There is a variation of pilsner glasses that is footed but instead of curves, the glass is v-shaped, so it still has a wide mouth.
3. Beer Mugs
Beer mugs are mostly what you see in movies in which the actor gets handed a mug full of beer, but it’s also evident in real life. These are like the quintessential vessel for beers because the design with the handle makes it comfortable to hold since it gives a nice grip. It is also made of a thick and sturdy material that makes it ideal for toasting. The handle is also beneficial in a way that it provides great insulation and keeps your hand from making the beer go warm. Beer mugs come in various shapes and sizes, some of them may have a dimpled design. It is widely popular in the US, Germany and England because it can hold a large amount of beer, perfect for celebrations. This is one beer glass that's mostly used in movies to portray macho life of actors.
4. Beer Steins
Steins are actually where the beer mugs are derived. It has been around since the 1500s and is short for “steinzeugkrug”, a German stoneware jug. Like the mug, the stein also has a handle but the body is more detailed and has more decorative touches to it. There is also a hinge mechanism connecting the handle and a dome-shaped lid that supposedly covers the mouth of the body and was said to prevent flies from getting into the beer during the bubonic plague.
There are other several materials that make up a stein like glass, stoneware, wood, crystal, porcelain, pewter, wood, earthenware and silver. Most people use it today as an ornament or souvenir item rather than a beer vessel because the drinker wouldn’t be able to see the beer fully and the head. But, if you want to drink beer like in the past you can also do it.
The hefeweizen is often confused with a pilsner glass or a pint glass but it actually has a more defined curve than the pilsner and can hold more beer than a pint glass at about 17 ounces or half a liter. The name means “wheat” in German and as the name suggests, it is best in serving wheat beer, gose and white ale. The curved lip at the top can help retain a thick foam and thus gives a burst of aroma and flavor.
Because of its height, it can show off the golden hue of the beer, that wonderful foam and the curved action helps in trapping sediment at yeast (mostly present in wheat beer) at the bottom. The rim of the glass can be thin and some people at bars or restaurants tend to put the citrus garnish on the rim. This is discouraged as the acidity in the fruit can destroy the foam and eventually the whole wheat beer.
The snifter may be famous for serving cognac and brandy and thankfully, they don’t fail to lend their purpose to beers, especially stronger, big and aromatic beers like IPAs, barrel-aged stouts and barleywines. Its shape is similar to a wine glass, only shorter and wider. The body is quite bulbous but with a smaller rim than other glasses, perfect for sipping the beer slowly.
The stem is short so it gets all snugly in the hand. To combine these features, it can really enhance the flavor and aroma of the beer because it can allow you to swirl the content thereby releasing all that goodness. For this reason, it is also discouraged to fill the glass all the way up because then you won’t be able to swirl and get the amazing aromatics and the overall experience.
You don’t need to drink that much when you use a snifter because note that they have the reputation of holding strong beers and because they are designed to enhance the smell more than the taste.
Perfect for delicate beers such as rye, kölsch, bocks, lambics, gose, Czech pilsners, altbier and rauchbier, the stange is a tall, narrow and cylindrical glass. Its name is German for “pole”, perhaps due to its narrow structure but it also goes by other names such as “rod” or “stick”.
Generally, it can hold about 6.5 ounces of beer but larger versions are in progress and are best known for intensifying the beer’s malt, flavors and preserving its bubbles. The main feature that this glass provides is that it elevates the concentration of the volatiles in the beer that releases its true flavor and aroma.
Shaped like a wine glass but with more class, the teku features an angular and modern design designed to release the beer’s flavor and aroma to the full extent. The stem allows the drinker to hold it without ruining the beer’s temperature. This gorgeous glass was designed by an Italian sensory expert and craft brewer and can hold 11 - 14 ounces of beer. It is best for serving craft beer, lambics, fruit and heather beers. As you may know craft beer is usually produced at a small scale and thus Teku fits in perfectly.
9. Tulips and Thistle Glasses
Designed perfectly to trap the aroma of the beer, the tulip glass, also known as the Belgian glass, allows the drinker to take a good sniff as they sip. The body’s shape is that of a bulb but with a curved lip at the top, enabling good foam retention and aesthetics. This one is designed to hold hoppy and malty beers like double stouts, Saisons, Belgian beers and other ales and like other stemmed glasses, it also allows you to swirl the beer to get the nice smell going.
On the other hand, the thistle glass is best described as the stretched out version of the tulip but with less curvature at the top. And instead of hoppy beers, Scottish ales, double IPAs and barleywines are served in them. It is named so because it resembles the official flower of Scotland which is the thistle.
Yes, flutes are obviously for champagne but did you know that they can be used for beers too? Of course, not the strong ones because that would be weird, but rather fruit beers, krieks, Biere de Champagne and Belgian lambics. With its narrow body, it can easily activate carbonation while highlighting the color of the beer. Flute glasses are fun to drink beer out of because it doesn’t fill you up much and doesn’t get you drunk, so you’re just like drinking a glass of champagne.
11. Goblets and Chalices
Don’t chalices and goblets just make you feel sophisticated? They kind of make you feel like you’re in a medieval feast. Goblets have a bowl-shaped top with a wide rim attached to a long and thick stem. The wide mouth encourages foam retention and allows you to take small sips so you can savor your favorite strong beer such as German bocks and maibocks, Belgian IPAs, Belgian ales,and Belgian dubbels.
On the other hand, chalices tend to have thicker walls and taller stems. They can also have etching on the bottom of the glass that allows carbonation to activate and create bubbles. Goblets and chalices come in different sizes and can occupy about 8-18 ounces of beer. Both types can be made from either glass or other metals adorned with intricate silver and gold accents and ornaments.
Named after the type of beer that is best served in it, the stout glass has quite an unusual look to it. The top is somewhat bowl-shaped but it runs down to a knob-shaped bottom rather than a stem. Odd as it may look, this glass was actually designed by Spiegelau with the collaboration of Left Hand Brewing Company of Colorado and Rogue Ales of Oregon. Stout beers have deep flavors of roasted malts with hints of coffee and chocolate that are emphasized with the shape of the glass. It is also good for maintaining a good head, no wonder connoisseurs find stout glasses interesting.
13. Tasting or Sampler
As the name suggests, the tasting or sampler glass is used to serve samples of beer or when you do a beer review. It comes in different sizes which are less than a pint of about 2.5 - 6 ounces and the shape is a typical cylinder. They are mostly used and seen when you go to a brewery tour or in the pubs or when you taste a couple of beers before you take your order in the restaurant. It is a great vessel because it allows you to taste different types of beer without getting drunk. It’s also a great way to slowly consume an expensive brew you bought because it can only hold less.
14. Beer Boots
The boot glass is such a classic and fun way to drink beer. This glass is linked to Bavarian beer culture. Legend has it that a Prussian general made a promise to his troops that he would drink beer from his own leather boots, as appealing as that maybe if they win on the battlefield. His men didn’t disappoint and actually won but the General wasn't so true with his promise. To save himself from drinking feet beer, he commissioned a glass in the shape of a boot instead.
The rest is history. Now, it has grown to be super popular especially at parties and festivals in the United States. It is used to serve Märzen / oktoberfest, witbier, assorted German beers. Mostly, men drink from it to show off their beer drinking abilities. If you like to try drinking from a boot glass, you might as well do it correctly. So, you must point the toe towards you as you take a sip as this will gently allow air to enter the toe and prevent it from spilling on you.
Before glass came into existence, there was only wood or metal to serve drinks in. One of which is the tankard. It shows a resemblance to a beer stein or mug because of its handle and cylindrical body shape but this obviously came first. Nowadays, it can be made from other materials such as glass, pewter, ceramic, wood, and even leather.
One of the main features of this glass is that it has thick walls that provide insulation to your beer so they won’t get warm. They are great for brown ales, German lagers, and light beers. The glass ones are likely to be used in drinking establishments but those that are made from other materials other than glass are more suited to be a souvenir or for themed parties. You can also customize your very own tankard by having engravings to it. There are other bizarre forms of tankards such as in the form of a horn so if you like to drink the Vikings did, you should definitely have this.
16. Spiegelau Glass
The spiegelau is pretty much like the stout glass but it has more curves or ripples at the bottom part of the glass and also makes for a really good IPA glass. It is understandable since both are manufactured by the same glass company, Spiegelau which has designed their glasses that can enhance the flavors of American beers. It is mostly known to hold IPAs which is why they teamed up with Dogfish Head and Sierra Nevada to create a glass that can accentuate IPA flavors best. The rippled base actually forces the flavor and aroma to reach the top so the drinker can have the full beer experience. No wonder this is a great IPA glass.
Developments are constant in all areas. Back then, there used to be no rules whatsoever about beer and glasses but now, they're already are. Others may think that whatever glass works but there are those who take food and drinks seriously and provide an explanation for everything including the choice of beer glasses. Next time you order a beer, maybe you’ll recognize what type of glass is used and whether or not the beer served in it is right for it.