You probably know that there are numerous types of beer glasses to choose from. But did you know that the choice you make can directly affect your enjoyment of the drink?
Once upon a time bartenders used one type of glass — the standard pint glass — when serving beer. It was efficient, and it was easy. However, as consumer tastes have changed, people are expecting their beers will be paired with the proper glassware.
When you’re spending money on a good craft beer, you want it to reach its full potential. So it’s important to know what type of glass to use.
Let’s take a look at the most common types of beer glasses, and what they mean for you and your favorite beer.
1. Pint Glasses / Shaker Pints
Regardless of style, bars have long preferred this type of glassware. Some people think it’s near-perfect for a wide range of beers. Others believe that no beer should ever be served in a shaker pint.
The problem with the standard pint glass is that while it does a decent job of presenting a lot of different features of beer, it’s not the best at any features, either. There are better glasses for featuring aroma, while other glasses are better for heady beers.
In other words, this utility glass pairs well with utility beers that are well-rounded but not well matched for beers making a big statement one way or another.
2. Beer Mugs
You will find these all over Vietnam. Most likely with a big block of ice, added to easily wash away your food.
While some beer snobs have moved away from this type of glass, those who like to engage with beer drinking traditions will appreciate its touch. These glasses are best for serving cold beers, especially German, English and American-style lagers. They have thick walls, which keep the beer cold, while the handle helps to keep your hands from warming the beer.
If you’re going for a wide range of craft beers of many styles, beer mugs may not make much sense, as standard pints are good for serving the same types of beers. However, if you’re creating a German-style biergarten, then beer mugs are a must, as they conjure up the feel of Oktoberfest and the German beer tradition.
3. Goblets & Chalices
Goblets are one of the larger, more extravagant types of glassware that beer drinkers come across. Unlike pint glasses that hold a specified amount of liquid, goblets can be found in a variety of sizes.
Goblets can be described as having a long thick stem, with a bowl sitting on top. Chalices are another common name for goblets, as they have the same shape. Chalices usually have thicker glass walls and may be heavier. You may find some goblets and chalices even have a gold or silver rim. This is merely decorative and serves no real purpose in terms of improving the quality of beer.
If you’re going to serve Belgian-style beers it’s imperative that you invest in chalices or goblets. When bottling these beers, they even note on the label that they should always be served in this style of glass.
While they’re a must for serving Belgian beers, these glasses can also be used to serve other imperial style beers, such as stouts or IPAs, as imperial beers are also very alcoholic.
4. Tulip & Thistle Glasses
Another two popular beer glasses to try out are the Tulip and the Thistle glass. Designed to trap and maintain the foam head, the tulip glass helps enhance the flavor and aromatics of hoppy and malty brews.
While they cast a striking silhouette and will surely impress those in the know, they aren’t very versatile. Some of the beers most suited for tulip style glasses include barleywines, Belgian ales and double IPAs.
5. Pilsner Glasses
Tall, slender and tapered, the classic pilsner glass is perfect for, you guessed it, pilsners. It’s also suitable for other lighter beers. The skinny design showcases the beer’s color, clarity and carbonation. And the wider top, like that of the goblet above, helps develop the aroma and flavor profile while maintaining the head.
Typically, there are a variety of sizes of pilsner glasses, but for the most part they all hold slightly less beer than a pint glass. The slender design allows drinkers to appreciate the colors and carbonation bubbles within their beer. The slightly wider top of the glass also helps retain the foam head of your beer, and bring out its true flavor profile and aromas.
This type of beer glass is incredibly popular amongst Americans and Europeans, with its popularity only growing as the years go on. They’re not only fun to drink out of, but they enhance your ability to appreciate the true taste of your beer.
6. Wheat & Weizen Glasses
Weizen glasses are often confused with pilsner glasses, due to their similar shape and size. The main difference between these two styles, is that the Weizen glasses have more curvature to them, especially at the top of the glass.
Weizen glasses are designed for and primarily used for wheat beers (Weizenbier). The curved lip at the top of the glass helps trap and encourage a thick foam head, allowing for you to appreciate the full aroma and flavor that comes along with wheat beers.
Speaking of fruit, serving a slice of citrus with wheat beers has recently become popular. While the fruit does pair well with wheat beers, know that it could destroy the foam head, because of the acidity and juice of the fruit.
Now you know what the best glasses for each beer are, but along with each glass comes custom care. Did you know you should:
1. Avoid chilling your glassware. We recommend against chilling because the combination of beer and a frosted glass leads to condensation, and that makes for a diluted beer.
2. Wash your glassware properly. A clean glass is very important and hand-wash is prefered. Some detergents and spot removers may leave a residue, which can alter not only a beer’s taste, but also its head and aroma. Handwashing also protects any decoration on the glass, such as a gold rim or logo.
3. Let glassware air dry. Towels can leave particles behind that, like detergents, can affect the beer’s head.
So before you pour that next beer, remember to find the optimal glass for it and then treat it carefully. The proper glassware is an integral part of the enjoyment. A properly served beer is always a more enjoyable one.