Use the right glass for your beer

Posted on July 15th, 2009

Beer gets served in a lot of different glasses which vary wildly in shape and appearance. Some are more fun than functional, such as the “half yard of beer” you sometimes see at sports bars. Those can be fine if all you’re interested in is the novelty of it, but if you really want to get the most out of your beer then you should think twice about what glass you choose for your beer.

beerglasses6Certain styles really do benefit from certain types of glassware. In fact back in the day many European breweries (and Belgian brewers in particular) would each create a uniquely shaped glass for their beer. These glasses would frequently be designed to highlight a particular quality of each beer. The end result left even the smallest European bartender stocking many, many different glasses.

If that seems like a tall order, don’t worry; you don’t need to have a unique glass for each beer you bring home to get the most from your glass ware. To cover most of your bases all your really need is a three different glasses you can pick up at a local store. Sure there are many more styles of beer glasses than this but these three will adequately provide for the vast majority of the beers you bring home from the store.

Before we get started I should say a word about why you should pour your drink into a glass at all. A glass offers many benefits over a can or bottle. For one it makes it much easier for the beer’s aroma to reach your nose. Smell plays an important part of the way humans experience our sense of taste; that’s why nothing tastes good when you’re all stuffed up with a cold- you can’t smell anything. Secondly, a clean glass provides a much better view of your beer, its color and appearance.

pint21. PINT GLASS, MUG, TUMBLER – This is your basic glass which comes in many different variations. They allow for a good amount of room for foam and an unobstructed view of the beer’s appearance. It’s good for everything from an IPA, to a black lager. When unsure of what glass to use, you can go with this one.

tulip2. CHALICE, SNIFTER, TULIP – These are bulbous glasses with stems at the bottom and curved lips. They are designed for stronger and sweeter beers such as barleywine, stouts, and Belgian ales. Their round shape allow for vigorous swirling of the beer in order to releases their strong aromas, the curved lips and relatively large surface area direct the aromas to your nose for your enjoyment. Double IPAs with their strong hop aromas and high alcohol content also do well in this style.

hefe23. WEIZEN – These are large, tall glasses with bulbous tops. They are chiefly designed to accommodate the strong carbonation of wheat beers such as hefeweizens, weizenbock, dunkelweiss and the like.  Their length provides plenty of space to contain the massive foam these beers produce. Trying to pour a Hefeweizen into a smaller glass will surely result in not much but foam and disappointment.

Now that you’ve got the right glass ware, let us show you how to pour the perfect pint

  • You're missing quite a few types of glassware for quite a few styles of beer. A chalice/goblet is not used for the same reasons as a tulip, likewise a snifter. Also there's a stark difference between using a pint and a pilsner. Also, weizen glasses are shaped that way not for head containment, but for bottle containment when you properly pour a weizen (cover bottle with glass, invert, slowly draw bottle out, reserve head in bottle, swirl, pour atop).

  • You're missing quite a few types of glassware for quite a few styles of beer. A chalice/goblet is not used for the same reasons as a tulip, likewise a snifter. Also there's a stark difference between using a pint and a pilsner. Also, weizen glasses are shaped that way not for head containment, but for bottle containment when you properly pour a weizen (cover bottle with glass, invert, slowly draw bottle out, reserve head in bottle, swirl, pour atop).

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  • I like a short glass too, those small juice type glasses, about 6 oz.They are good for the standard American lager, ale or pilsner, light or regular. These are especially good for can beer, maybe even add a little ice now and then, especially on a hot summer evening.

  • Great breakdown of the many kinds of beer glasses out there

  • I’ve been collecting as I go. I picked up a few guinnes pint glasses when I was in Ireland, I buy this cool flip-top bottles cases here in Germany that come with collector glass, I’ve got 4 that way.. 2 weizen glasses and 2 glass mugs. I got two realllllly cool tall weizen mugs from a brauhaus here in Germany, and that’s it so far. Think I’m gonna hit up the brauhaus again and get a couple more. Got some cool growlers from there too. You may like to check beer boot glass, das boot beer glass, personalized beer glasses and Logo Beer Glasses.