Great beer deserves to be treated well, and that means pouring it into the correct glass. But that could be more complicated than you might think. There are a lot of beer glasses out there to choose from — almost as many as there are beers.
But once you know which glass you need, it makes the beer-drinking experience so much better. If you need a little help navigating the world of beer glassage, we're here to help.
There are eight main glass types to look out for. We've broken them all down for you, and have also explained which beers they accommodate best. And if you really like them, we'll even tell you where you can find them. So let's take a look:
The most common beer glass, an American pint glass holds 16 ounces of beer. Some bars may also use the British Imperial pint glass, which features a ridge just below the mouth and can serve up to 20 ounces of beer. Most bars and pubs are teeming with these conical glasses and you'll likely get whatever draft beer you order in a pint. These glasses are well-suited to a wide variety of beers, including stouts, lagers, and ales with low to average alcohol by volume (sessionable ales, as well).
A taller and thinner glass than the pint, the pilsner glass generally carries a little less beer than a pint glass — about 12ounces. It's tapered and trumpets out at the mouth, standing on a flat but broad base. They are intended specifically for (you guessed it) a pilsner but also work well with other lighter beers, like lagers and witbier. The design supports the effervescence of a light beer while allowing it to maintain a fluffy head.
Steins are found in more traditional settings, for the most part. They're often associated with age-old events, such as Oktoberfest. The term actually refers to classic beer mugs made from stoneware, pewter, earthenware, or porcelain and often feature decorative and ornamental designs. They range in size from half litre to full litre and might even feature an attached lid. While they accommodate a wide variety of ales, these are best suited to traditional (and often German) styles, like Oktoberfest, Rauchbier, or Witbier.
It sounds like something from which you'd sip brandy but a snifter is also an effective beer glass. A short stem supports a bowl that tapers at the mouth — a design that captures intense aromas, such as those you'd detect from strong and high-alcohol ales. Snifter sizes range but most clock in between 6 and 8 ounces. These are perfect glasses for sipping a barleywine, a Belgian Strong Ale, or any number of strong ales. Pro tip: swirl the beer in the bottom of the glass to release the delicious aromas.
True Beer Snifter Beer Glass, Set of two, $16.95
Amazon.com Delirium Tremens Belgian Beer Snifter Glass, $9.55
Brookstone Belgian Beer Glass, Set of four, $59.95
Immediately recognizable, this stemmed glass is shaped like a tulip with a flared top rising from a bulbous body. Tulips come in any number of sizes between 12 and 20 ounces. They're perfect for serving French- and Belgian-style ales, like Abbey Tripel, Saison, or Biere de Garde, beers that tend to have a frothy head. The curvy design lets the beer breathe and release its aromas while cultivating a pretty white head.
Often mistaken for pilsner glasses, a weizen glass is tall and thin but while a pilsner glass tapers evenly at the top, the weizen rounds out toward the middle. Containing about 17 ounces of beer, the glass is designed specifically for wheat beers, which typically have thick heads that need room to fluff out. The glass curves also bring out the unique aromas of a wheat beer, such as banana and clove. And since the purpose of this glass is to maintain a head on a wheat beer, we recommend avoiding any fruit garnishes (like orange or lemon wedges) that would dissolve that head with citric acids.
Find Weizen Glasses:
True Beer Jewel Wheat Beer Glass, $8.95
Libbey Midtown Beer Glass, Set of four, $14.99
Amazon.com Spiegelau Beer Classics Wheat Beer Glass, Set of two, $24.83
It may sound like something someone would use on Game of Thrones, but this actually is a handy glass to have for many styles of beer. The large, bowl-shaped glass with a long stem is perfect for Belgian ales, German bocks, or other big beers. A delicate goblet may even be adorned with a gold or silver finish. Similar to a goblet, a chalice is a heavier, more sturdy stemmed glass, sometimes with etching at the bottom of the bowl.
This tall and completely cylindrical glass has a clean design patterned for a Kölsch style beer. It usually serves between 7 and 12 ounces of beer and can stand as high as 6 inches. While it's crafted specifically for a Kölsch, it's also a good option for other delicate brews, like Altbier and Gose, since it helps amplify the malt and hop notes.