The beer you drink will only be as good as the glass you drink it in! So, it is important to match your preferred kind of beer with the right vessel to guarantee the best beer drinking experience, every time!
Beer drinking as we know it has been with us since as early as 3500 BCE. Since then, we have learned which glass goes best with every kind of beer. Different kinds of beer glasses of varying shapes, sizes, and materials exist for their intended function.
Shapes of beer glasses are not only for visual appeal but are shaped as such to serve a certain function. The proper beer glassware will bring out your chosen beer’s best flavor, color, and aroma, and we all want that!
What Are All These Glasses for?
You’ve probably heard of the Glass Beer Mug, the Viking Beer Stein, the Pint, or the Shaker Glass as these are the more common glasses we use when on a night out with friends. However, beer lovers, there are more than a few more beer glasses worth knowing about if the goal is to enjoy your beer to the fullest.
Not all glasses help the beer-drinking experience. Some glasses serve a more practical reason. In the olden times, oak wood mugs were used for their durability. During the Black Death, Medieval Europe served traditional beer in a lidded, large beer stein to stave off flies. Craft Beer joints these days make use of little 4-ounce Tasting Glasses, so you could conveniently sample several flavors at a time from the wide variety they have on tap. To know which glass matches your beer, read onward.
The Proper Glass for Every Beer
Choose the right glass to complement your beer and maximize the experience. Below is a guide that shows you which glasses go best with your beer.
PINT GLASSES/SHAKER GLASSES
The most commonly used glass in this day, these grew in popularity during the early to mid-20th century to replace tankards as a container of serving beer at pubs. American variants hold up to 16oz and the European or UK pints hold 20oz.
Best for: Several if not most kinds of beers; ranging from lagers, India Pale Ales (IPA), American ales, and pilsners.
1. American Pint - The quintessential pint that we probably have in mind is an inverted, truncated glass cone with slender sides and an approximate height of 6 inches. Its lip is wider than its bottom.
2. Nonic Pint - This has a distinctive midway bulge that gives the drinker additional grip.
3. Tulip Pint - A stem-standing, round-bottomed glass that flares from the middle towards the lip.
Beer mugs or Beer steins are the glass that holds the most volume of beer. They are built heavily from glass or wood and are generally large, cylindrical drinking vessels with one handle. Popular with bars and pubs because of its general durability and utility.
Best for: All Stout beers and ales, Viking beer style mug-clanking, for slamming after you’ve finished your drink, cheering, and raising drunken toasts for love of life.
1. Glass Mugs - The German-style dimple-surfaced Stouter Krug and the Tankard mug which has straight sides and a smooth surface are the main examples of glass mugs.
2. Wooden Beer Tankard- The first wooden beer mugs were any vessel you drink your beer from. Eventually, their construction would be similar to wooden barrels; staves arranged as a vessel held together by a clasp of metal, leather, or wood.
Today, you can get high-quality, personalized wooden beer mugs made by modern artisans that carry the appeal of a genuine Viking wood beer stein.
3. Ceramic, Metal, and Pewter Steins - These are now popular novelty gift ideas for collectors and are not usually used to drink beer.
GOBLETS AND CHALICES
These are stemmed glasses that allow the drinker to have big flavorful sips because of how they best retain head; creating a bed of bubbles that offers the beer’s aroma closer to your nose. A goblet is squat and rough, while the chalice is more elegant and has a longer stem.
Best For: Any beer if you prefer drinking with as much head for the simultaneous prominence of your beer’s taste and aroma.
As the name of this tall slender glass suggests, these are best for drinking what else, but, surprise! Pilsners! Its very shape facilitates the rising of bubbles resulting in the escape of hop oils and ferments that will give the head a stronger character and will in turn give you a stronger aroma every time you take a sip of beer.
Best For: Pilsners, Blonde Ales, American lagers and hefeweizens
The sexy cousin to the pilsner glass, they share the same tall slender shape but have a slightly pinched waist that is narrower than its bottom. This combination stops wheat ale sediment from flowing out whenever you take a sip.
Best For: Weizenbocks and Wheat Ales
These glasses are usually used for cognac or brandy but will also be suitable for strong beer. Its wide bowl makes it suitable for swirling to agitate volatiles and its narrower, tapered lip traps the aroma released by swirling.
Best For: Barley wine, Belgian Pale Ale, Belgian IPA, Belgian Tripel, Belgian Quad, and Scottish Heavy.
TULIP AND THISTLE GLASSES
The Tulip and Thistle’s outward-flaring lips are designed to hold and maintain a foam head which is very useful when drinking hoppy, malty brews; while its bulbous bowl encourages swirling to release volatiles into the foam head. Their short, stumpy stems make you hold the glass with your palm, warming your beer to release more aroma.
Best For: Stronger and heavier brews like Scottish and Belgian Ales, Double IPA’s, and Barleywines.
The German word Stange means rod, and that is what the Stange glass resembles. No frills, no curves, and just straight from bottom to top to facilitate the immediate release of volatiles once your beer is poured in. The use of the Stange glass is usually reserved for milder, more delicate beers to help intensify their mild flavors and subtle aromas.
Best For: German Kolsch, Rye, Gueuze and Lambic beers.
TASTING AND SAMPLER GLASSES
These are the little glasses of varying shapes they use when serving Beer Samplers at bars and pubs. They hold anywhere from 2 to 6 oz of beer and are way smaller than normal glasses to facilitate the drinker sampling as many brews as possible without being immediately intoxicated.
Best For: Sampling as many brews among all the choices available to ascertain your favorites. Sampler glasses are also good if you and your friends want to split the bill to a rare and expensive brew.
Know Your Glass, Know Your Beer
Now that you are equipped with the ever-important knowledge of the why’s of the world’s more common beer glasses, you can now pick out what glass characteristics would work for you and further customize your beer drinking experience. Try out a variety of glasses with your favorite brews and discover which combination you love best. Just remember to enjoy your beer to the fullest and drink responsibly. Cheers!!!