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Glassware surprisingly has more influence on the enjoyment of your ale or beer than you might think. You could just simply pour whatever beer you’ve chosen into the nearest glass or cup, but why not pour it into a glass that it was made for?
The different types of beer glasses can vary in shape and size, so it’s a good opportunity to learn about different glassware options. They can help enhance the aromas of a beer, making the experience of drinking it, much more pleasurable.
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15 Different Types of Beer Glasses
So what beer glasses are best for each specific beer style?
If you’re not a beer geek, then you’ll likely have very little clue or knowledge beyond the traditional pint glasses you see in bars and pubs. Let us enlighten you with fifteen of the various types of beer glasses to choose from for the best drinking experience.
American Shaker/Pint Glass
The American Pint Glass is one of the most common types when it comes to beer glassware. They are mostly going to be used at restaurants and pubs because they’re very easily stackable and can work for most beer types. The cone shape will taper towards the bottom of the glass, and typically holds 16 ounces of your favorite beer.
If you’re looking at specifics of what it would hold best, then go for American Lagers and American Pale Ales. As mentioned, it’s one that suits most beers, so you can’t go wrong with this type of glassware. It’s one that most beer drinkers are likely to have in their homes and usually in abundance.
Nonic Pint Glass
Another one that’s good for stacking is the Nonic British Pint Glass that holds up to 20 ounces of beer. It helps to give your beer’s head a chance to form fully to protect the aroma of the beer and release a deeply satisfying drinking experience.
The bulge that is created on this glass is there to help the user hold the glass more comfortably, especially as beers can be quite heavy to carry. It can help stop it from slipping out of your hands as you carry it over to your fellow drinkers. Again, it’s a good all-around beer glass, and the clear glass can help you appreciate the color and visual appearance of the beer itself.
Tulip Glass/Belgian Glass
The tulip glass is designed to help trap and maintain that foam head you might be after for your beers. This design can help enhance those flavors and aromas that give a more enjoyable drinking experience. They have a small stem and footer, which is similar to that of the snifters and goblets. The top rim curves out, and that in effect forms a lip that helps catch the foam head.
Belgian beer glasses are certainly inventive in their designs, and differing glass shapes help cater to the hundreds of different beers that Belgian produces alone. A flute is a common one that gives you that element of luxury you’d usually get with a champagne flute. You want high carbonated beers for this one because of it’s long body.
There are also weird and wonderful Belgian glassware that’s worth mentioning. The Kwak, for example, is an hourglass shape and usually has a wooden holder to keep it upright. The Gulden Draak is shaped like a dragon’s egg and good for heavy beers. And not to forget the La Corne du Bois des Pendus, which is shaped like a horn.
The IPA glass is one that has been made with IPA beer in mind. It usually has a tapered shape and a bowl that helps to channel your beer’s wonderful aromas.
The opening of the glass is a good size to get your nose in properly and give it a good sniff. The glass itself is usually quite thick in order to maintain the temperature of the beer itself.
With stout beers, you’ll likely want to get a beer glass that is going to cater to this type of beer. Stout glasses are similar to your average pint glass or goblet.
It has that bowl style contouring that allows for the beer to be swirled around in order to release more of the delightful aromas that come from a stout beer. You also want to appreciate the color of a stout so the curvature of the glass can really help show it off.
The base of a stout glass is usually quite thick, and that makes for an easier grip when handling the beer glass. The head retention can end up lasting much longer when it comes to this type of glass because of it’s narrower top, and that can help contain the complexity of a stout.
It’s one that can certainly be for more types of beer, but for stouts, this glass reigns supreme.
With a Pilsner glass, it’s tall and skinny and has very little curvatures as it approaches the top. Like the stange glass, it’s one that’s mainly suited for lighter beers, pilsner being the obvious choices.
There are different varieties of sizes when it comes to the pilsner glass. It’s worth noting that they will all tend to hold less beer than your typical pint glass. That can be frustrating for some beer drinkers, especially if you’re pouring your drink from a can or bottle.
Although that’s a downside, you still get to appreciate the color and bubbles within a beer, and the wider top of the glass helps with head retention. It’s a popular type of beer glass that’s enjoyed by Americans and Europeans.
You will often find that when it comes to Weizen Glass, it’s one that tends to look similar to a pilsner glass. This is because the shape and size are quite similar.
However, the main difference is that the Weizen glass will likely have more curvature when it comes to the look of it. It has a narrow base and a distinctive curve in the glass as it reaches the top. It’s a much taller type of beer glass, and so it can actually hold more than one pint. You’ll likely get ½ a liter of beer out of it.
When it comes to the type of beers that you’ll enjoy with this glassware, it’s usually going to be wheat beers. The curved lip, like many other beer glasses mentioned in this article, helps trap the foam to help you enjoy the rich aroma that comes with wheat beers.
Dimpled Beer Mug
This is a type of glassware that originates from Britain and was first made in 1938. They’re robust and thick, which makes it a great glass to keep your beverage at the right temperature.
It comes with a handle that makes it helpful to hold more easily. The dimples are supposed to add a bit more interest to the color of your beer and to help you appreciate it more so.
Amber beers are said to look much more appealing in these glasses because of the dimpled effect. It’s a glassware that’s most popular the United States, England, and Germany.
Most modern-day versions of the traditional Nordic drinking horns are now made of many different materials like glass, plastic, and wood.
It’s really a one-of-a-kind type of drink-ware that will certainly spark a conversation among yourself and other drinkers. They often come with a holder, as this isn’t a typical drinking vessel that can hold itself up on its own. The drinking horn is versatile to many beers, so whether it’s a beer or lager, you’ll definitely find enjoyment when it comes to this particular types of drink-ware.
As mentioned above, the thistle glass is somewhat of a stretched-out version of the tulip glass. It has a stumpy stem like the tulip glass and a bulb-like bowl that contains the liquid.
However, what differs from a thistle glass is that it’s a little taller and is less curved when it comes to the lip of the glassware. You would usually enjoy Scottish Ales with this beer glass, and the bowl shape helps to swirl your beer around to release the full aromas available.
The stange glass is one that’s tall and thin, which can be great for providing head retention. It’s glassware that’s usually used for lower carbonation beers, and it can help focus the beer’s aroma directly under your nose.
This means it can be more beneficial for those beers that have a milder or more subtle scent. When it comes to choosing the beers for this glassware, kölsch beers are typically the best.
However, most of your lighter, crisper beers that you want to drink on a warm day are going to be suitable for this glassware too. You might also want to enjoy some darker beers from a stange glass.
One of the less commonly used glassware when it comes to beer is the Snifter Glass. It’s one that’s typically used for brown spirits like brandy and whiskey.
However, there are still benefits that can come from using this type of glass for your beers. The shorter mouth traps can provide a more prominent smell of the beer, which can be useful for those beers that have a stronger and complex aroma.
The wide bowl gives you an opportunity to swirl and agitate the volatiles that creates the aroma itself. The tapered lip can help catch the smell, and the short stem allows your warm hand to make contact with the beer. That can be useful for some beers that require warmth activation to produce more aromas.
The history of a beer stein dates all the way back to the 1500s. They were and still are used as a way to flamboyantly cheer with fellow drinkers, and they can come in varying sizes.
They are certainly a distinct and refreshing glassware for your beers, and they can be particularly useful for those who want to help keep their beer bubbly. Pilsner steins are great for that, but the wide head of the glass can help with head retention, keeping it there for longer.
They’re certainly a type of glassware that provides an experience visually, and if you’re a serious drinker, there are steins that can hold two pints worth of beer. That’s enough to keep you going for a while!
A tankard looks like a large mug and consists of a large, somewhat cylindrical cup that comes with a handle. These tankards are usually made out of silver pewter but have also been known to be made out of other materials like wood, ceramic, and even leather.
The tankard might have a hinged lid, which can certainly add a unique appeal to the glassware. They also typically have a glass bottom and are certainly still used in many homes and pubs.
Interesting fact – the word tankard was referred originally to any wooden vessel, but that later was named as a drinking vessel.
They don’t have the appearance quite like traditional goblets and chalices dating back to biblical times, but they do look good in your glassware collection.
The goblet/chalice’s curved shape is designed to help enhance the beer’s flavor. It does so as the beer is poured into the glass, and the thicker stem part of the glass can allow the beer’s temperature to remain chilled as it’s held. This can be important when it comes to those beers that are best served cold, rather than at room temperature.
With such a historic influence, it’s certainly one of those designs that will never go out of style. It’s a traditional way of enjoying your beer, just like those generations before did.
Does The Right Beer Glass Really Make A Difference?
Does the right beer glass really make a difference? It’s something that you’d likely not think about when it comes to drinking your favorite beer. For example, the best glass for IPA could be different when you’re drinking a lager or pale ale.
A lot of glassware used when it comes to beers can affect its taste. We’re not saying that a bad beer is suddenly going to become better when it’s poured into a different glass. However, it can help provide you with a more elevated experience of the beer you’re drinking.
With the aroma of a beer, it’ll usually linger around the head of the beer. Therefore, one type of glassware might retain the aroma more than another would. And when it comes to the smell, it’s part of the experience when you sniff the beer before trying it for the first time. The more intense you can make that aroma, the better.
Head retention can also be important for the aroma as well as being visually satisfying. The way a glass is shaped can affect the result that is usually achieved when it comes to the pouring itself. Head retention can be crucial when it comes to retaining the aroma because it helps filter volatiles.
Things To Look For In a Drinking Glass
You’d never think choosing glassware for your beers could be so complex but there are certainly a few things you should look out for when purchasing your beer glassware.
Are They Hand Wash Only?
With most glassware, you’re going to want to try and keep them separate from other dishes. There’s a significant importance of having clean glassware because it can impact how the beer tastes and how it looks within the glass. Within the industry, it’s referred to as ‘beer clean’, and for the most part, you’re going to want to wash your glassware by hand.
Are They Dishwasher Safe?
With some glasses, they might need to be thicker for the type of beer that’s going into it, and therefore, they’ll get a better wash in a dishwasher. With that being said, you always want to look out for the dishwasher safe sign that will likely be printed on the bottom of the glassware.
Is They Stackable?
When it comes to functionality and ease of storage, general pint glasses are stackable. It makes it easier to store if you’re restricted on space. However, not all shapes and sizes are going to be stackable, so it’s something to consider when purchasing your beer glasses.
Are They Made With BPA Free Glass?
BPA is something to look for as Bisphenol A is meant to be something that can cause problems when ingested in the body but is relatively safe for adults. However, it’s important to look for BPA free glassware where you can.
There’s definitely a benefit to having different styles of glassware when you’re a fan of beer. It can certainly help to elevate the beer itself and to provide you with a better, tasting experience.
Depending on your beer preference will influence what type of beer glasses you buy, but every one of the glasses mentioned above will offer its unique experience.