A true beer fanatic will tell you it’s not just a glass that holds a beer, the right glass will completely change your drinking experience.
It turns out it’s not just a marketing ploy to get us to purchase more needless things. The range of beer glasses we see today usually stems from an old tradition and yes, there is a sciencey reason behind picking the proper glass. Just like wine the beer changes once you begin to pour it right out of the bottle, keg, or can and the right glass can enhance the flavour, smell and feel of your beverage.
Really, what it all comes down to is the head, that frothy foam that is produced upon pouring a beer. The head acts like a filter keeping the goodness underneath until you are ready to drink but also lets a few things slip out which gives it it’s aroma.
Craft Beer Acadamy explains that “ Since every style of beer is different, they each need their own style of glass to make sure the head stays where it should be, and you get the exact right mix of smell and taste so you can really taste the beer.” Some breweries even design their own tailor made glasses to consume their different styles in, making beer drinking an official science.
So, which glass do you pick? While the range can be quite overwhelming here’s a list of the main ones you see for sale and being used at your local.
Head over to the guys at Beeradvocate for the complete 101 on glassware.
This here is the eye candy of the glasses. You’ll be noticed drinking out of this one! Often scored on the inside bottom to maintain a head, some are even designed to specifically maintain a 2cm head.
This picture of mine is actually from my travels through Belgium!
Belgium IPA, Belgian Strong Dark Ale, Berliner Weissbier, Dubbel, Quadrupel (Quad), Tripel
This is the one that everyone’s old man has in the back of his cupboard or someone gifts you from their holidays in Germany. It’s a heavy thick glass that holds a lot of beer, and sounds great when clinked together in a cheers! This mug has a bit of history to it. While a Stein is a German Mug, the Seidel is the stone equivalent traditionally with a flip-top metal lid to prevent flies falling in used as far back as the days of the Black Plague.
My photo is from Germany – another very apt beer glass moment.
Amber / Red Ale, Black Ale, Blonde Ale, Brown Ale, IPA, American Pale Ale (APA), Porter, Stout, Strong Ale, Baltic Porter, Bock, Cream Ale, Czech Pilsener, Doppelbock, English Bitter, Euro Dark Lager, Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB), German Pilsener, Irish Dry Stout, Irish Red Ale, Keller Bier / Zwickel Bier, Maibock / Helles Bock, Märzen / Oktoberfest, Milk Stout, Oatmeal Stout, Scottish Ale, Vienna Lager, Witbier. (Comprehensive list huh?)
Tall, slender and tapered 12 ounce glass. Showcases color, clarity and carbonation. Promotes head retention. Enhances aromas. The Pokal is the European version with a stem.
Thank you Holland for this photo and your fabulous ruby colored beer.
American Lager, Amber / Red Lager, Double / Imperial Pilsner, American Pale Lager, Doppelbock, Dortmunder / Export Lager, Dark Lager, Pale Lager, German Pilsener, Happoshu Japanese Rice Lager, Light Lager, Maibock / Helles Bock, Munich Dunkel Lager, Munich Helles Lager, Vienna Lager.
The most common beer glass found in a pub due to its versatility. Comes in a 16 (aka poor mans pint) and a 20 ounce and features a ridge near the top to give the head more room to collect. Drink with beers with bigger heads.
Adjunct Lager, Amber / Red Ale, Amber / Red Lager, Black Ale, Blonde Ale, Brown Ale, Dark Wheat Ale, Double / Imperial Stout, IPA, American Pale Ale (APA), Porter, Stout, Strong Ale, Baltic Porter, Black & Tan, California Common / Steam Beer, Cream Ale, English Bitter, English India Pale Ale (IPA), English Pale Ale, Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB), Irish Dry Stout, Irish Red Ale, Milk Stout, Oatmeal Stout, Old Ale, Pumpkin Ale, Russian Imperial Stout, Rye Beer, Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy, Winter Warmer, Witbier
The Snifter Glass
Usually seen used for brandy and cognac these wide-bowled glasses are wonderful for capturing the aromas of strong ales. Typically looked upon as the “beer snob glass” this glass will greatly enhance your beer experience. Feel free to swirl and agitate the contents!
Use with: American Barleywine, Double / Imperial IPA, Double / Imperial Stout, Strong Ale, Belgian Dark Ale, Belgian Pale Ale, Belgian Strong Dark Ale, Belgian Strong Pale Ale, Barleywine, Red Ale, Gueuze, Lambic – Fruit, Old Ale, Quadrupel (Quad), Russian Imperial Stout, Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy, Tripel, Wheatwine.
(Don’t recognize some of those names? Don’t worry, I don’t either but hey, this is what it’s all about eh?)
The Tulip Glass
This tulip shaped stemmed glass with a wide lip that flares out to capture the head. This shape captures and enhances aromas and supports a big foamy head.
Use with: Double / Imperial IPA, Wild Ale, Belgian Dark Ale, Belgian IPA, Belgian Pale Ale, Belgian Strong Dark Ale, Belgian Strong Pale Ale, Bière de Garde, Flanders Oud Bruin, Flanders Red Ale, Gueuze, Lambic – Fruit, Belgian Quad, Saison, Farmhouse Ale, Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy
Interested in buying some glasses for the ultimate experience at home? One of our Beer Birds says Crate and Barrel often have a great selection of high quality glasses while another spotted a nifty set of 6 at The Bay for about $40.
Now there’s just one tip when it comes to serving the beer. Don’t chill the glasses! Chilled glasses + beer = condensation which dilutes the beer AND changes the temperature of the beer thus dulling the taste and experience.
There you have it. Now no one expects the average person to remember which beer for which glass but hopefully by now you’ll know why you are drinking the beer in the glass you’ve been served. Go on, show off a little!