Contrary to popular belief, the beer glass really does matter when drinking beer. Some are better for a light, foamy ale and others are better for savoring the exotic scents in a local sour. Once you’ve tasted a craft beer in a proper snifter or an IPA in its namesake, you’ll never want to drink them any other way. There are a dozen different types of beer glasses, but our team of experts chose to focus on the nine most popular:
These glasses are popular all over the world, and we’re going to tell you all about each one! By the end of this article, you’ll learn everything there is to know about the best beer glassware and what kind of beer is ideal for each one.
The Pint Glass
The Classic Pint
Let’s start with the most widely recognized beer glass: the classic pint glass. Simple in shape and style, you’ve definitely seen your share of these in bars, especially in America. These popular glasses hold 16 ounces and can be used for just about any kind of beer: IPAs, stouts, ales, lagers, you name it. The simple shape of the wide rim and slight taper toward the bottom guides your hops to the top so that you can enjoy their flavors directly with each sip. Pints are used in the rest of the world, too, but they’re currently reigning as the most popular type of beer glass in the States. The design of this simple glass is inexpensive to manufacture and easy to store, which are both major factors for its popularity. After all, there’s nothing like a Blue Moon along with your burger and fries at your favorite sports bar.
The Imperial Pint
Also called a Nonic Pint or an Engilsh Pub glass, the Imperial Pint is most often used in the United Kingdom. The tell-tale bulge toward the upper part of the glass is what makes this glass stand out from the rest. Like a standard pint, the nonic pint directs the flavors from the bottom of the glass toward the top so that you can fully enjoy all of the hops and subtle aromas with each sip rather than finding them at the end of your drink. Imperial Pints are often stamped with the Queen’s Seal and have a line engraved in the middle to signify half a pint. This variation of a typical pint is best for British ales such as Fuller’s London Pride and Morland Old Speckled Hen.
Insulated Steel Pint
Stainless steel glasses and tumblers are on the rise, including pint glasses! Double walled and vacuum-insulated, a steel pint is a new-and-improved version of a classic glass. The natural coolness of the steel and insulation ensures that your beer stays cold for hours — that’s right, hours. Even if you forget your beer during a game and find it later, it’ll be just as cold and refreshing as it was when you first poured it. Being made of reinforced steel also means that this glass is unbreakable and great for traveling.
Unique IPA Glass
After Spiegelau’s success with their IPA glass, the head brewers of Dogfish Head and Sierra Nevada Brewery got together to create another unique IPA glass. Quite different from Spiegelau’s, the Dogfish Sierra IPA has a more slender, elongated bulb. Toward the base, there is a distinctly large curve where the hops gently expose their flavors, creating a better taste overall. IPA drinkers will note that the curves of this glass help extend the life of the head, allowing for more flavor and aroma to be enjoyed with each sip. The Sierra Nevada Hop Hunter is perfect for enjoying in this type of beer glass.
Spiegelau’s IPA glass has become quite iconic for enjoying its namesake beer. The ridged base aerates the hops thoroughly, unlocking more and more flavor with each sip. The tapered bowl at the top helps trap the head so that you can enjoy the citrusy crispness directly. The unique shape of the IPA glass directs the aromas straight to your nose so that you get the fullest aroma along with the most flavorful gulp. Each one tastes better than the last! Your best beer for the iconic glass is a classic Meantime India Pale Ale or a Red Hook Longhammer.
Pilsner beers are lighter in color and flavor than normal beers. Their namesake beer glassware is often tall and skinny with a slightly widened mouth. The flute-like shape of this popular pilsner glass is more meant for appearances than actual flavor improvement. Through the tall conical design, you can admire the beautiful golden color and watch the carbonation float toward the top. Notable pilsner beers are Victory Prima and Notch Session Pils. This type of beer is quite prevalent in Europe and America today.
Pilsner glasses are normally a bit smaller than the average pint. While that sounds like a downside, it actually allows the drinker to enjoy more foam and flavor. Some pilsners are better for sipping rather than gulping, and often have complex flavors that are meant to be enjoyed. Take these craft pilsner glasses for example: craft beer is meant to be carefully tasted and savored, and these glasses are perfect for doing so! Their small stature and elegant taper enable you to enjoy the appearance, flavors, and aromas all at once.
It is important to note that pilsner glasses are not always smaller and conical. Rather, they can be as curvy and large as a weizen glass! These unique pilsner glasses are extra curvy and hold up to 20 ounces. This makes them ideal for enjoying a hearty Firestone Walker Pivo Pils or an Austin Beerworks Pearl Snap. Perfect for gulping large amounts of beer, you and a couple of friends will certainly enjoy these glasses when you get together.
The Weizen Glass
The Most Popular Weizen
Weizen glasses are rather unique types of beer glasses. They’re quite similar to pilsner glasses, and are often mistaken for them. However, these glasses are only meant for wheat beers. They have many names: Weissbier, Hefeweizen, and Weizenbier. This Bavarian style of beer is meant to produce a thick, creamy foam when poured. The curved mouth of the bowl at the top of the glass helps trap the head, which allows you to fully enjoy its banana and clove aromas. You’ll want to try Little Egypt Hefeweizen and Friedenfelser Hefeweizen Hell in these classic glasses.
Weizen with a Twist
Excuse the pun, but this elegant weizen glass is a great addition to any wheat beer fan. It retains the classic shape of a weizen, but the regal pewter crest and delicate twisted details really make it stand out amongst normal beer glassware. Weizen glasses typically hold half a pint of beer, or 16 ounces. A good Kristallweizen like Weihenstephaner Kristallweissbier would be perfect for this particular glass so that you can admire the champagne-like clarity and nucleation of the bubbles.
German Style Ceramic Beer Stein
Beer steins have been one of the most popular types of beer glasses since the 14th century when the bubonic plague epidemic wiped out a large chunk of Europe. Many people believed that they were more sanitary because they came with lids, which prompted multiple governments to require food and beverage containers to come with lids as well. Traditional beer steins like this one are often made of porcelain, pewter, glass, and stoneware. Most steins have the classic pewter lid like the two below, but non-lidded steins are just as popular. Today, steins are more for decorative and keepsake purposes than to be used as everyday drinkware.
Classic Beer Stein with Lid
This is probably what you were thinking of when you saw the words “beer steins” right? The classic mug style with a lid is the closest in style to the traditional ones. While this one is made of glass, it still features the ornately decorated pewter lid and decoration on the body of the stein. Today, the lid doesn’t really serve a practical purpose, but it looks cool.
Modernized Beer Stein
Now this is a stein that you can use for your everyday beers. Steins are great for many different types of beer such as German lagers, wheat beers, light ales, or anything you like. The hefty style and size is ideal for gulping large amounts of beer. When not in use, steins make great decorations for your home bar or kitchen!
Classic Beer Mug
If you’re not drinking from a pint glass in a bar, you’re probably drinking from a mug. This large receptacle is great for chugging, gulping, and generally consuming large amounts of beer in a short time. The handle of a beer mug serves a couple of different purposes: it makes it the glass easier to hold, prevents your hand from warming the beer, and makes it sturdier.
Dimpled Beer Mug
Some beer experts say that the dimples, or impressions, in a beer mug are supposed to affect the appearance of the beer. Others claim that it is purely decoration. Either way, you’ll often see beer mugs with dimples in them and you can definitely appreciate how they accentuate the glass. This mug has large vertical dimples and a handsome starburst base that make it one of the most attractive types of beer glasses in this guide. The reflection of the golden hues in the base and the focal point that the dimples cast on the foam make for an overall visually appealing glass.
Extra Large Beer Mug
One of the best things about beer mugs is that they come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Some can be small, and others can be quite large like this one! This monstrous mug may not look like it, but it can hold an entire liter of beer. This hefty mug is great for relaxing on your own with plenty of beer on hand so that you don’t have to get up from your favorite chair for a while. Conversely, this giant mug is quite fun to clink together with a friend and attempt a chugging contest with. Such an impressive glass may not fit easily in your cabinet, but could definitely serve as a decorative piece when not in use.
Tulips are becoming one of the most popular types of beer glassware. Elegantly designed like a wine glass, they expertly trap the head in the signature curved lip and allow for gentle aeration through swirling. Tulip glasses are rising in trend due to the increasing popularity of craft beers, which are best enjoyed in these unique glasses. Like some pilsner glasses, tulips are smaller and designed for tasting beer slowly and experiencing the flavors.
Not all tulip glasses are stemmed, but they have to have that distinct curve toward the top. This glass is like a hybrid of a pint and a tulip, creating a subtle curve that makes it ideal for everyday beers instead of being wholly devoted to craft brews. You can enjoy a classic Coors Light or a rich Rodenbach Grand Cru in this type of tulip.
All about the craft beer, huh? Well, you’ve come to the right place. Crystal beer glassware is taking over, and it’s no wonder why. Craft beer is a whole different drinking experience than regular beer on tap, and it deserves to be served in the appropriate glass. Whether you’re into hosting craft beer tastings or just want to enjoy a local brew in style in the comfort of your home, this beautiful crystal tulip glass is perfect. A deep red ale like Duchesse De Bourgogne or a light Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale is ideal for such a luxurious tulip glass.
Spiegelau Stout Glasses
Yet another revolutionary creation by Spiegelau, the stout glass has become the go-to for porters and stouts. The design of the tapered stem and wide bowl unlocks the rich coffee and chocolate notes within. The unique glass allows you to enjoy every exotic flavor and really brings out the roasted malts. The narrowed mouth traps the head so that you can directly inhale the hidden aromas as you sip. Whether you’re enjoying a Guinness or a Prairie Bomb, this glass will make it taste better than you thought possible.
Stout Glass with Extra Malt
Some stout glasses have more ridges to them, which encourages the malts to go upward into the bowl where you can enjoy their deep flavors. This tiered stout glass can even produce a triple head! When poured properly, the carbonation is trapped in between the curves and briefly creates a layered foam. How cool is that? This effect releases even more flavor throughout the glass, making it taste better overall.
Stout beer is known for its dark colors, which comes from roasted barley, and the hints of both chocolate and coffee. Some stouts are brewed with oatmeal, milk, extra chocolate, or more espresso to give the beer more sweetness. The angles of this traditional stout glass help retain the foam, which infuses the beer with more flavor the longer it lasts. When sipping, you’ll get a direct inhalation of the sweet aromas.
Goblets and Chalices
You’ve probably wanted to drink beer like a medieval European noble at some point in your life. With a goblet or chalice, you can certainly feel like a king! These antique-looking glasses typically have a large, wide bowl with a long, thick stem. Largely decorative in purpose, these attractive glasses are best for heavy and malty beers such as Gulden Draak and Dogfish Head Raison d’Etre.
Beer Goblets Fit for a King
Now these are royal goblets! From the thick crystal stems to the dimpled beer mug top, everything about these awesome beer glasses is as regal as you can get. Pour yourself and a friend a round of Three Philosophers to enjoy while you two re-watch the popular TV series Merlin for the third time. The large bowls help aerate hearty Belgian ales and allow for large gulps.
Extra Fancy Chalice
Looking for more formal types of beer glasses? This beautiful crystal chalice will fit in so perfectly with your fine china and holiday crystal that your wife won’t even know that it’s meant for beer. The most luxurious beer glass, this crystal chalice is best used for German ales or American lagers. You’ll want to sip rather than gulp from such a fine glass. Hacker-Pschorr Oktoberfest Märzen may be a delicious beer ideal for gulping down by the bottle, but sipping it slowly will impress your guests and make them think of you as a sophisticated beer connoisseur.
Bonus: Beer Snifter
Classic Beer Snifter
With the rise of craft beer comes the most popular craft beer glass: the snifter. You’ll likely only see this type of beer glassware in craft breweries as they are great for serving samples. Similar in style to a goblet and a tulip, the extra wide bulb ensures that there is plenty of room for swirling your beer. You won’t want to fill the glass all the way to the rim when trying out a new local brew as craft brews are meant to be experienced slowly through small sips.
Set of Crested Snifters
When hosting craft beer tastings, you’ll want a set of snifters for everyone to enjoy. One of the more unique and newer types of beer glasses, these snifters have small pewter crests featuring an initial. Whether you’re a home brewer yourself or an avid craft beer taster, these handsome snifters will make your event feel official for sure. Snifters are quite small in size, but their design is best for trying strong types of craft beer that are packed with flavor.