Different styles of glassware complement different beer styles for a variety of reasons, including enhancing aromatic volatiles, showcasing the appearance, and/or having an effect on the beer head.
Serious beer drinkers know a beer can be enhanced by drinking from the right vessel, so here’s an overview of different types of beer glasses:
Derived from the German words “Bier” (beer) and “Steinkrug” (‘stone crock’) steins are traditional german beer drinking mugs. Steins are made of pewter, silver, wood, porcelain, earthenware, or stoneware. They can have open tops or hinged lids with a thumb-lever.
Glass Beer Mug
Glaskrug, Maßkrug, or simply Maß (pronounced /mas/). It holds 1 liter. is frequently used in Bavarian beer gardens and beer halls and is a staple of Oktoberfest. Ideal for anything light and easy-drinking.
Dimpled Pint Beer Glass
Used since the late 1940’s the “dimpled pint” has been a popular choice for bitter and amber beers. These styles look better in dimpled glasses than in straight-sides ones. With its strengthened bulge about an inch or an inch and a half down from the rim, the glasses can rub together without harm making them ideal for commercial use.
It is the preferred serving vessel for Belgian lambics and fruit beers. Long and narrow bodies ensure that carbonation doesn’t dissipate too quickly and showcase a lively carbonation or sparkling colour. Releases volatiles quickly for a more intense upfront aroma.
Known also as Weizenbier or Weißbier or wheat beer glass. The german glass generally holds 0.50 litres with room for the often thick and fluffy heads provided by wheat beer styles.
Perfect for light, summery, wheat beers or hoppy pilsners. They are generally smaller than a pint glass, usually in 250 ml or 330 ml sizes. Wheat beer glasses are often mistakenly referred to as pilsner glasses, but a true pilsner glass has an even taper without curvature. Pilsner glasses are made to showcase the colour, effervescence, and clarity of the pilsner, as well as to maintain a nice head.
Large wine glasses are suitable for serving most Belgian Ales. Its size allows for headspace while its shape concentrates the flavour and aroma to emphasize the more complex subtleties of Belgian styles. A large bowl also offers a generous view of the beer’s clarity, nature of the head and colour.
Also called Nonik Glass, English Pint Glass or Imperial Pint Glass. It is similar to a pint glass but has a curved lip about two inches from the top of the glass. Best for stouts, porters, brown ales and pale ales. It holds a British pint (568ml; ≈1.2 US pints) of liquid.
Typically used with German black beer glass or Schwartz Beer, ideal for Kölsch. They are tall beer glass only slightly flared at top. Stange glasses are also called a “pole” or “rod” in reference to their shape.
Used for amber-to-dark craft beers and IPAs. It helps trap the aroma, but also aids in maintaining large heads, creating a a visual and olfactory sensation. The body is bulbous, but the top flares out to form a lip which helps head retention. Good for serving Scottish ales, barleywines, Belgian ales and other aromatic beers.
Typically used for serving brandy and cognac, a snifter is perfect for capturing the volatiles of aromatic beers, such as Belgian ales, India pale ales, barleywines and wheat wines. The shape helps trap the volatiles, while allowing swirling to agitate them and produce an intense aroma.
Goblets are large, stemmed bowl shaped glasses adequate for serving heavy Belgian ales, German doppelbocks and eisbocks and other dark, big sipping beers.
Glass Beer Boot
Beer boots or ‘Bierstiefeln’ (German) have been around for over a century. They are made of either manufactured pressed glass or mouth blown glass. They come in a wide array of sizes, being 0.2L, 0.5L, 1L and 2 Liters the most common. Due to the fun factor and capacity beer boots are a popular choice for beer drinking games. Any beer style can be served in these vessels however light to medium bodied beers are best candidates.
Although a beer growler is not a glass per se, it’s still made of glass and used as a vessel for drinking beer. Due to our love of the beer growler as the ultimate beer drinker’s companion, there’s a full guide on growlers here.