Tired of drinking straight from the bottle but can’t figure out which beer glass goes with which beer? We’ll cover all of the popular beer glasses, which beers they go with, and how they’ll affect your overall experience. We were skeptical at first. Could it really make THAT BIG of a difference? Trust us, it can.
A good beer can be enjoyed from just about anything (just don’t be that guy that drank from his shoe…seriously that happened). But there’s a reason the Ancient Sumerians buried royals with personal beer glass styles for the afterlife: it makes a difference.
There are so many to choose from, and each has its own unique uses and effects, so follow this guide closely or you could ruin your beer experience. Now we present the different types of beer glasses that you will want in your kitchen.
1. The Pilsner Glass
Best for: Pilsners (surprise!), pale lagers, pale ales, German beer, some lambics
Benefits: Head retention, showcasing clarity, and aroma enhancement
Tall, slender, a little bit curvy, the glass shape is a tall drink of water (literally…kind of). The slender design accentuates the carbonation of lighter beers and gives you a clear picture of the golden liquid within.
The wider mouth lets you retain the thick beer head, enhancing the aroma and giving your beer more flavor. No doubt that it is considered as one of the best types of drinking glasses.
In our opinion, pilsner glasses are one of the top drinking glasses because lighter beer styles are usually lighter on flavor, so using this will give you a much better drinking experience without the extra calories or headaches. This is one of the top beer glass styles you can find anywhere.
2. The Tulip Glass
Best for: Belgian ales. Also works for IPAs and stouts
Benefits: The bowl traps the aroma and the stem allows for a good swirl
This is one of the most versatile types of bar glasses. With its flared mouth, wide, bulbous belly, and stubby little stem, you’ll instantly feel like a Brugge-born Belgian beer snob.
Aside from looking cool hanging from your bar and making you look like a better person than your bottle-guzzling friends, the glass shape actually takes a delicious beer style and makes it exquisite.
This is one of the types of beer glasses that is a beer-enhancing machine from top to bottom—its rim corrals the head, its bulb traps more aromas inside, and the stem allows for an easy swirl to release more flavor (feel like a snob yet?). Sure, you can’t pronounce the beers right, but you’re drinking experience would look cool! Watch this video on how to pour your beer in this glass for added class!
3. The American Pint Glass
Best for: Nothing, really
Benefits: Easy to clean, cheap, holds a lot of beer
Pint glasses are popular not for their beer-enhancing abilities, but more so out of convenience. They are just a slight step up from your 19th century tar-smattered leather drinking flask.
The reason they’re so popular is that they are easy to stack and clean, dirt cheap, and wide enough to hold a lot of wheat beer serving and slap a label on.
Of course, if you’re just drinking a few beers at home, they’re better than the bottle. And, the wide mouth definitely helps release at least some extra flavor. Still, even if pint glasses can handle a number of different types of beer, they aren’t really good for any in particular. This pint glass is one of the most famous beer glass styles in the market.
4. The Spiegelau IPA Glass
Best for: IPAs
Benefits: Aeration, aroma funneling
No conversation with a wheat beer hipster lasts more than 2 minutes without this acronym getting thrown around. IPAs are slowly taking over the beerscape and for good reason. The rush of hops, citrus, and varied coniferous hues makes these beers an experience unlike any other.
The Spiegelau IPA glass is the brainchild of Sierra Nevada and Dogfish Head brewing companies, two monsters in the industry. It has the perfect glass shape to unleash and accentuate the nuances of these fine pieces of beermanship. The ridges aerate the beer style for better flavor, the increased surface area creates more friction, and the bottlenose rim funnels the aromas straight to your nose instead of dispersing them.
For stronger IPAs, you might need a goblet (we’ll cover those later).
5. The Stout Glass
Best for: Stouts. Sometimes double IPAs or other heavy, dark beers
Benefits: Concave form preserves aroma. Angled mouth enhances the head and taste
The shorter, stubbier cousin of the IPA glass, the stout glass is a brew-specific vessel worthy of the heavy, regal beer that sits within. It looks like a pint glass with an exceptionally wide middle.
The concave form acts like a scent cannon and the mouth retains the massive head that dark beer produces. The “shelf” in the middle helps shoot the flavors upward toward your mouth. Just as important as the design are the materials used. The slick glass shape completes the almost bourgeois feeling of sipping a stout, cream ale, and pale ales.
6. Mug of Beer
Best for: Light to medium lagers
Benefits: You don’t drop your beer
Chances are you remember beer mugs from every time you’ve been to the bar (or kinda remember them…). But do you know why they’re so popular?
A beer mug serves two main purposes: it helps you grip your wheat beer (when you’ve had a few extra) and ensures your hands don’t warm it up. They’re great for casually hanging at the bar or on the back deck. If you’re just trying to have your friends over to enjoy a few drinks (and a lot of “cheersing”), then these are perfect. Nazdrovia.
7. Snifter Glasses
Best for: Heavy IPAs (double/imperial), Belgian ales, stouts, barleywine
Benefits: Wide bowl for swirling and agitation, tapered mouth for aroma
If you’re the kinda guy that loves a good heavy stout or IPA (or happens to be entering a Sir Winston Churchill lookalike contest), having a snifter in your hand will enhance your beer experience like few other types of beer glassware.
Although traditionally used for cognac and brandy, beer lovers slowly discovered just how much they enhanced aroma. We even tried a blind taste test here and the results speak for themselves—the snifter glasses won every time.
The wide belly short stems are great for swirling and agitating your beer for extra flavor and the tapered lip lets your palette capture more subtle aroma from the drink. Oh yeah, and you can sound like a snob while drinking one.
8. The Glass Beer Stein
Best for: Decoration….or light beers or wheat beers
Benefits: They look amazing. They’re a great conversation piece. They prevent the plague (these claims have not been evaluated by the FDA)
These ornate pieces of German legend are great to have on your mantelpiece and can even help you make friends at an outdoor picnic. However, beer steins aren’t really that different from beer mugs in function. The difference is they’ve got a thumb-operated lid to help protect your beer. In Europe, people once believed lids on their beer prevented the plague (welp, glad that worked!).
Steins are great for holding any beer serving and could even slightly enhance the taste of light beers, but they’re best just as decorations in our opinion. You can get the same effect from a pint glass for a fraction of the price.
Honorable Mentions for the Best Beer Glasses
A few extra honorable mentions that have their time and place are:
- Beer Goblets: If you want to enjoy heavy, malty beers or sacrifice to pagan gods, a goblet is the perfect choice. The large bowl and wide mouth give you plenty of room to analyze every scent and flavor. Plus, it holds a TON of beer.
- Stange Glass: Nope, it’s not strange glasses. The most you can say about a stange glass is that it’s…well….kinda boring. It’s basically just there. It might help intensify some delicate beers, but it really looks more like a glass for tap water.
- Beer Tasting Glasses: Tasting glasses (or sampler glasses) are a handy tool to have when you’ve got a range of great beers to try at home. Rather than spending $30 on a flight at a brewery and getting service by some guy with a twirly mustache, you can serve your friends your own flights and look really cool while doing it.
What’s Your Favorite Type of Beer Glass?
These beer glass types cover pretty much all of your bases. In fact, there are others like weizen glass, flute glass, and thistle glass that we did not mention. Honestly, we can’t stress how much they make a difference. Instead of drinking from a boring bottle, or worse, from a regular glass, you can sip a beer out of a glass that was designed specifically to enhance the flavors and your overall experience.
If you’re a beer enthusiast (Hi, I’m Tom, and I’m a beer enthusiast), there’s no reason not to get a unique craft beer glasses types or beer glass set to compliment your home bar.
Each type of beer glass is unique with its own set of advantages and drawbacks, so make sure you get the right one for your tastes. Do you have a favorite type of glass? Let us know!