When it comes to drinking alcohol, many do not know that the glass you drink out of can alter the taste of the drink you are consuming. The beer glassware you drink from, for example, should vary according to the type of beer or ale you choose to drink.
There are numerous reasons why certain types of beers should be served in specific types of glassware, and why looks do play a role, this is not the sole purpose. Specifically, various types of beer glasses have been designed to enhance the taste of different types of beer.
Because we know that choosing the right beer glassware can hugely enhance your beer drinking experience, we’ve created this comprehensive guide. In it, we will tell you what beer glassware is as well as highlight some common misconceptions associated with drinking beer.
Not only this, we will tell you about the various beer glass types so that you can learn which types of beers suit which glasses and why. We’ll also share where all the various types of beer glasses come from.
Last but not least, because glass is so difficult to keep crystal clear, we’ll highlight some of our favorite methods for cleaning beer glasses.
So, without further ado, let’s get started.
As the name suggests, beer glassware comprises of the drinking containers used to drink beer, and of course, these are made of glass. But, why does a specific type of glassware exist for beer? Well, there are many reasons.
Aside from reflecting various countries’ traditions, different types of beer glassware have been designed to complement specific types of beer. These vessels can enhance aromatic volatiles while also increasing the visual appeal of a beer by having a positive effect on the beer head.
Not only this, beer glasses make it easier than ever to stick to country legislations put in place in regards to serving measures. It is worth noting that when a beer is not served in a can or bottle and comes out of a tap, these come in half pint and full pint measures.
Additionally, some beer glasses are more practical to stack in a bar or restaurant environment. They’re also the perfect fit for most dishwashers and are normally quite sturdy meaning that they are less likely to break.
Other than the above, beer glassware is used to advertise specific breweries and brands of beer. They typically come with a specific type of branding on them. Some beer glasses come with folk art on them, are used as novelty items or for drinking games.
Last but not least, certain beer glass types are specifically designed with stems, allowing them to prevent you from touching the area of the glass where the cold beer sits. These are designed to stop your body heat from warming the beer itself.
When it comes to beer, there are a number of myths that people believe in that are, in fact, not correct. Here are some of the most common misconceptions associated with beer:
While a cold beer can be extremely refreshing at the end of a hard day at work or while you’re on holiday in a hot country, making sure your beer is ice cold is actually not necessary. In fact, you may find that you’re not enjoying the full taste of your drink by doing so.
When a beer is served at a temperature lower than 44 degrees Fahrenheit, your taste buds actually become dead to the taste of your drink. Unfortunately, by sipping a cold beer, you won’t be enjoying the full tasting experience.
Many choose to drink their beer from a bottle because they believe it offers a better tasting experience. In fact, while the bottle may look slightly classier, neither drinking vessels will offer you the full flavor of the beer itself.
As with any wine, to enjoy the full sensation of your drink you should use both your taste buds and your sense of smell.
Both cans and bottles do not have a large enough opening to allow you to fully smell the flavors of your beer. It is, in fact, impossible for you to evaluate your chosen beer by drinking it from a can or bottle.
If you do choose to purchase bottled beer, it is worth keeping in mind that not all bottles are made the same. Darker beer bottles will protect your beer from sunlight, unlike their green and clear counterparts.
Many wine snobs out there would shudder at the idea of a person drinking beer from a wine glass, however, there are numerous benefits to doing so. Firstly, wine glasses are the perfect shape for you to enjoy the full aroma of your beer.
They also come with a stem which allows you to keep your body heat away from the beer itself, allowing you to drink your beer at the perfect temperature for longer. Thicker wine glasses also allow you to preserve the temperature of your beer for longer.
While beer should not be served ice cold in order to enjoy the full aroma and taste it has to offer, storing any spares you have in the fridge could be your best bet. This is because beer responds best to being kept in cold and dark areas.
If your fridge is very cold, you could always store it there and take it out in advance of the time you would like to drink it. “Skunky” is a term used when beer goes bad. By leaving your beer in direct sunlight you could wind up with beer that smells like a skunk.
Aside from the above misconceptions associated with beer, the taste of this refreshing drink can vary hugely according to the type of glassware you serve it in.
Here is a breakdown of the main types of beer glassware available as well as their individual benefits:
There are five types of Belgian and dutch style beer glasses. These include the flute glass, the goblet, the chalice, and the tulip glass.
When it comes to serving Belgian lambics and fruit beers, flute glasses are your best choice. The flute glass received its name because it is similar to a champagne flute. This type of beer glassware offers the same benefits as with champagne.
It maintains the carbonation of the beer thanks to its smaller opening. Aside from keeping in the strong aromatic flavors of these types of beer, the flute glass is a visually appealing piece of glassware.
Goblets are larger in size and come in the form of a large bowl-shaped glass. This type of beer glassware comes with noticeably thicker glass and is best used to serve Belgian ales and German bocks. A goblet is also perfect for virtually any sipping beer.
It is hard to determine the difference between a goblet and chalice, but there are some. Typically, chalices are made of much thicker glass than goblets.
They also come with etchings on the bottom allowing them to nucleate a stream of bubbles in order to keep the beer’s head. This type of beer glassware is also great for serving heavier beers.
As you may have guessed by the name, tulip glasses come in the shape of a tulip. The body of a tulip glass is wider and rounder while the top flares out forming a lip. This shape of glass keeps the aroma and taste of the beer locked in while also helping retain the head.
Tulip glasses also come in the form of pint glasses. They are less curved but come with the same lip, allowing them to provide the same benefits.
Tulip glasses are particularly good serving glasses for IPAs, Scottish ales, barleywines, Belgian ales, and a variety of other aromatic beers.
Germany, Austria, and Switzerland are other European countries well known for creating exceptional beers, a key reason why they are also well versed in creating a variety of beer glasses that offer numerous benefits.
Here are some of them:
You may be aware of the Pilsner beer glass, a glass used to serve medium alcohol level pilsners, ales, and lagers that are refreshing. These are normally thinner at the bottom and slightly wider at the top.
The Pilstulpe, or Pilsner Tulip, comes with a stem. They have the same shape as traditional pilsner beer glasses but thanks to their stem, can stay cooler for longer as the hand never has to come into contact with the vessel that contains the cold beer.
A Willi Becher is traditional German beer glass designed by Willy Steinmeier. It comes in a conical shape at the top and curves down to a smaller dimension around the bottom.
It typically comes in five different sizes, 200cl, 250cl, 300cl, 400cl, as well as 500cl, and is one of the most popular types of beer glassware in the world.
You may have already seen a beer stein as an ornament in someone’s home as these types of beer glassware are normally very decorative and look like large mugs. While they do come in the same shape, steins come with a hinged lid and a lever where the thumb sits in order to lift it.
Steins come in a variety of materials, from porcelain to stoneware, pewter, wood, and even silver. These types of beer mugs come with a lid and were invented to help people avoid the bubonic plague between years 1340 and 1380.
Today, beer steins are used more as ornamental pieces in peoples’ homes. They usually come with a piece of art on them or in specific collectible designs.
Often confused with pilsner glasses, weizen glasses are similar in size but come with more curvature, especially at the top of the glass, where they curve inwards slightly. Weizen glasses are taller than pint glasses and can hold a minimum of 500cl of beer.
Thanks to the curved lip, the glass captures the taste and the smell of the beer while also encouraging a thick and foamy head.
Traditionally, bars tend to serve a slice of fruit on this type of glass. While it can add to the flavor of the beer, the acidity cuts through the foam head, leaving you with just liquid.
The beer boot, also known as the bierstiefel, dates back all the way to the German military during World War I. In order to encourage his soldiers, the commander of the German military said he would drink from his own boot should they win the battle.
Later, these boots were designed out of glass, with many manufacturers making models that could hold anywhere between one and three liters of beer. Later, the glass was redesigned in ceramic and a variety of other materials.
There are thousands of different types of pint glasses now available, however, the American one is probably the most common. Able to hold up to 16 ounces of beer, the American pint glass is commonly found in bars and restaurants. This pint glass gets wider towards the top of the glass.
On the other hand, the British pint glass, also referred to as an Imperial glass, is shaped the same as an American one but comes with a slight lip at the top. It can traditionally hold up to 20 ounces of beer.
Common in both Britain and the United States, the beer mug is very popular because it is larger in size and can, therefore, hold more beer. It comes with a handle and is made of thicker glass. Beer mugs are better insulated and can keep your beer colder for longer.
The pilsner glass is among the most popular available. They are normally smaller than a traditional pint glass, however, they do come in a variety of sizes. They are made of thinner glass and are tall and thin.
While these types of glasses are similar to weizen glasses, they do not have any curvature whatsoever.
Snifters come in a similar shape to a brandy or cognac glass. They have a stem allowing you to slowly warm your beer as you hold it and thanks to their slightly narrower top, they trap all the scents and flavors of your beer in the glass.
Now that you know about all the different types of beer glassware available, it is important that you understand which type of beer best suits each glass and why. Here is a list of the most common types of beers and the glasses that best suits them:
When it comes to serving up light beer, we recommend you use a traditional American or English pint glass. You may also find that lighter beers suit a pilsner glass or a beer mug depending on the type of light beer you are drinking.
As the name suggests, pilsner beers should be served in a pilsner glass. While some people do use pint glasses, the pilsner glass will give your beer a thicker head and will also reveal the color and carbonation of the beer more.
When it comes to aromatic beers, your best bet is a tulip beer glass. The bulbous shape of the glass will protect the rich flavors and aromas of your beer.
Aside from a tulip beer glass, you could opt for a Belgian or goblet beer glass as these also have a significant curvature, thus conserving the full flavor of your drink.
Lastly, many use snifters to drink aromatic and stronger beers as they are also traditionally used for sipping brandy. This is also a great type of glass if you enjoy your beer slightly warmer.
While many use pint glasses or mugs for American wheat ales, you could also use a weizen glass which is specifically constructed to hold a variety of wheat beers. In fact, some believe that the weizen glass has a narrower base in order to trap the yeast at the bottom of it.
A chalice or a goblet is your best bet if you want to enjoy a malty beer such as a German bock or Belgian ale. Thanks to these types of glasses’ wide opening, you’ll find it easier to analyze the variety of flavors and aromas in your beer.
Aside from the fact that white residue on a beer glass looks dirty, it can also kill the flavor of your beer.
With this in mind, it is important that you learn how to clean your beer glassware properly. Here are some tips and tricks for keeping your beer glasses sparkling all year round:
Of course, if you own a bar or restaurant, hand cleaning every single beer glass you have may be unrealistic. That being said, if you have beer glassware at home, we recommend you hand wash it.
Not only this, you should hand wash them immediately after every use as they will be easier to clean. If you have left your beer glassware out after a night with friends then soak any residue off in hot water.
To get the best results, use a sudless or natural detergent. You could even opt for baking soda if your beer glassware is already stained.
We also recommend that you have your own beer glassware sponge. By using the same sponge that you use to clean your dishes, you’ll be spreading trace amounts of food and oil into your glasses, thus leaving you with foul tasting and smelling beer.
Last but not least, be sure to use filtered water where possible. This will help you reduce the number of hard water spots which will, in turn, improve the head formation of your beer.
Once your glasses have been properly cleaned, you need to rinse and dry them. Make sure that you get rid of any excess detergent and that you also use filtered water if possible. You should also use the hottest water you can below boiling temperatures.
When it comes to drying your beer glassware, the natural way is the best way. Put your wet glasses upside down on your drying rack. Ensure that your glasses are in a position whereby they have a lot of air circulating in them.
Whatever happens, do not use a towel to dry the inside of your glass as you may find that small piece of lint get stuck to the glass itself. These will end up in your beer which could modify the taste.
If you want to use your beer glassware straight away after washing it, just rinse it one last time with cold filtered water and shake any excess water from the glasses before serving the beer into them.
Beer is a complex drink that comes in a variety of forms. There are so many types now available that choosing the right beer glassware is nearly as important as choosing the right beer in the first place.
If you are in the market for some new beer glassware, we recommend you check out our buying guide where you will learn about some of the best beer glasses on the market as well as some top features to pay attention to when making your final decision.