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Article: Types of Beer Glasses 101

Types of Beer Glasses 101

Types of Beer Glasses

Expert Guide to All the Various Beer Glass Types

Beer has been a cherished beverage throughout history, leading to the development of various drinking vessels over time. Each type of beer glass was crafted with a unique purpose. For instance, the German beer stein, equipped with a lid, emerged during the Black Plague to protect the beer from flies. The pint glass, another classic, was designed for practicality, allowing for easy stacking and reduced breakage.

men drinking beer

In modern times, the abundance of beer glass types is often attributed to clever marketing tactics by breweries. While this might hold some truth, it's not just a mere marketing ploy. Similar to wine glasses, different beer glasses enhance distinct qualities in various beer types. Beer contains volatiles which are compounds that evaporate from it to create a beer’s aroma. Choosing the right glass for the type of beer you’re drinking can enhance these volatiles when pouring your brew. With so many choices, choosing a glass for your beer can be overwhelming. That is why we put together this expert selection guide to educate our fellow beer drinkers on the various types of glasses. Below each glass type you will find our recommended pairings, simplifying your selection process.

Consider the Type of Beer You Like When Choosing Beer Glasses

Before we get too deep into the various types of glasses, it's important to realize there are many different types of beers. The chart below has many of the most popular. Don't pay too much attention to type of glass in this drawing, do pay attention to the types of beers. Knowing the type of beer you appreciate can help you choose a beer glass type that will appeal to your palate.

Chart of Beer Types - Consider the Type of Beer You Like When Choosing Beer Glasses

Below are some of the most common beer glass types. Consider the shape of each glass, and the intended use listed below it when considering what type of glass to use for your beer.

The American pint glass is just about the most common type of beer glass. These are the best beer glasses for use at local restaurants and most homes because they are easier to store by stacking them. They are constructed in a cone shape that tapers slightly toward the bottom of the glass and usually holds 16 ounces.

  • Use with These Beer Types: Good all around glass, goes well with American Lagers, American Pale Ales, and most other beers

#2 Belgium Beer Snifter

Belgium beer snifter glass

A popular glass you'll see in microbreweries all across the US, this type of beer glass has a number of benefits. One the elevated base a stem allow you to hold your beer without warming it. Two the bulbus shape of the Belgium beer snifter allows the head to form and the aroma to build in the glass. Three the unique shape funnels the aroma to your nose.

Use with These Beer Types: General all purpose glass. Can be used with most all craft beers including pilsners, lagers, wheats, stouts, and IPAs.

#3 Beer Mugs

Beer Mugs are a commonly used Beer Glass Type
dimple beer mugs

Beer mugs come in a variety of styles and are a popular type of glasses which feature sturdy handles and they are usually heavier than other beer glassware. The handles on these types of beer glasses are said to have been developed so the drinker would have more confidence when “clinking” glasses. These can be made of a variety of materials including pewter, ceramic, glass, or stainless steel to name a few. Well-known beer glass styles of the beer mug include the German beer stein, tankards, and dimpled mugs.

The stein is a German beer mug that is usually glass or ceramic and many times has a pewter lid attached to it. Legend has it steins were developed in during the black plague to keep the fleas that carried the black plague out of your beer. Yuk! Thankfully we no longer have to deal with disease carrying fleas but they are still a great way to keep flies and other bugs out of your favorite brew.

beer stein glasses

Beer tankards, similar to the stein, have a flared round bottom, hold more than the usual serving size of beer, and some tankards even have a glass bottom. A funny story behind the glass bottom tankard is that most bar fights started when someone was blindsided while drinking from their tankard; the glass bottom provides a clear view so they could always see what was coming! Meanwhile, dimpled mugs are a charming beer mug style that was once a standard beer glass at pubs in Britain.

  • Use with These Beer Types: Most American Ales and Lagers, English beers, Bock beers, good multi-purpose glass

#4 Wheat Beer Glasses, Weizenbier glass, or Weissbier Glass

wheat beer glasses

These types of beer glasses are many times mistaken with the real Pilsner glasses below in American. The term seems to be used interchangeably at times. In reality they are called Wheat Beer Glasses. They are used to serve wheat beers, traditionally called a Weizenbiers or Bravarian Weizens. This German style glass has thin elegant walls and is typically quite tall allowing the glass to showcase the beer's color. It is said the tapered glass shape originates from the desire to trap yeast at the bottom of the glass, which was very common in traditional beers until mass bottling and forced carbonation became popular in the early part of the century, and is still common today in micro-brews and home brews. These Weizenbier glasses typically hold around .5L but it's also common to see them holding 20oz -24oz. The larger sizes allow for more of that appealing fluffy foam or "head" which traps aromas and is visually pleasing; typically associated with this type of beer

  • Use with These Beer Types: Pale Wheat Beers, Dark Wheat Ales, Hefeweizens

#5 Pilsner Glasses

tall pilsner glasses
man pouring a pilsner glass

Pilsner glasses are a more elegant type of beer glasses. These beer glasses are tall and have tapered walls that lead to a sturdy base. The pilsner glass was created to complement the lighter ales. The thin walls show off and maintain the sparkle in the golden hues of the ales they contain. The tall pilsner glass is also ideal for maintaining the perfect beer head which enhances the volatiles in beer, therefore creating a better enjoyment in the taste of pale ales. Sometimes this beer glass style can be mistaken for a Weizen glass, but the pilsner is tapered evenly from top to bottom and has no curves in its design at all.

  • Use with These Beer Types: Best for light colored beers, American Pale Lager, Czech Pilsener, Light Lagers, and Low % Alcohol Beer

#6 IPA Glasses

American microbreweries and even some of the major breweries have made this style of beer increasingly popular over the last 15-20 years. You'll see IPAs in every liquor store, supermarket and even in convenience stores today. This special beer glass type funnels the hoppy aroma to your nose an the elongated shape amplifies the experience, letting you imagine that the carbonation is hoppy goodness about to hit your palate.

  • Use with These Beer Types: This glass is specifically meant for IPAs and hoppy light beers.

#7 English Pub Glasses

english pub beer glass

The English pub glass (also called a Nonic Glass") is similar to the American pint glass, but the difference is a slight bump along the top of the glass and it holds 20 ounces. The bump also adds the benefit of grip so your beer glassware won’t get stuck when stacking them. Another benefit this small bulge adds is head retention when pouring your beer which adds to the great aroma of your beer. Traditionally darker beers are served in these types of beer glasses.

  • Use with These Beer Types: Mid-Dark beers, American Stout, English Porters, English Stout, English Ales, and other dark beers

#8 Beer Boots

Beer boots have been around for over a hundred years, but have regained popularity thanks to movies like Beer Fest in recent years. Born from a Bavarian tradition over 100 years ago where soldiers filled their boots with traditional ale to toast and salute their military victories. Shortly there after the glass version was made, and the rest as they say, is history! Range anywhere from 0.5L to 2.0L. TIP: Twist the boot when you near the end unless you want a beer bath!

  • Use with These Beer Types: Novelty glass! Use for any beer you want, but we recommend low % alcohol beer because you'll likely be drinking a lot of it!

So What Beer Glasses Should I Use?

Our suggestions under each type of glass above should be a good starting point for the average beer drinker. However the type of beer glassware you choose for your ale is ultimately up to you. Each is made for a different type of beer and all the different types of beer glasses all have their pros and con dependent on the type of beer you are drinking. No matter if your choice of ale is bitter, cream ale, or stout there is a beer glass that was specifically created to accent the aromas and taste of your beer just right! So experiment with different beer glasses and see which one works best for you!


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