Choosing the right glassware for beer times can make a significant difference in how you enjoy your drinking. Whether it’s delivering the sweet taste of malt to the g-spot on your tongue, or shooting the hop aroma straight into your nose, or just showcasing the brilliant clarity of your favorite beer carbonation, beer glasses make all the difference in your drinking experience. With such a handy list at your disposal, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and pick a beer glass that suits your style and personality.
Picture yourself liberated from a tiresome day of work and you eventually find time to wind down at your favorite watering hole. One thing crosses your mind – you deserve a cool beer! Well, they could be hundreds of beer bottles on the wall, which is a godsend paradise for any serious beer drinker. One thing is missing though – a stylish beer glass to serve this chilling drink. While bottles could be great for quick gulps in between an exciting football match, it’s not the best way to serve a respectable beer brand. Besides, some beers come in casks and kegs, or you probably keep your favorite brand in a stylish beer growler
and you’ll need a great glass to serve it.
For a long time now, the majority of pubs served ales in weighty mugs and lager in narrower pint pots. Anything else was a reserve for wine and soft drinks. But now, things are quickly turning around as we embrace new and exciting beer flavors from around the globe. Of course, this comes with the need for alternatively-shaped glasses to match the style and reputation of these beers. If you’re going to enjoy your beer outdoors, a drinking horn
is another classic way of taking down a great drink.
Now, choosing the right beer glass for every beer brand may not be a piece of cake, given the wide array of options available on the market. It turns out that there are literally as many beer glasses as the brands of brew available on the market. If you have space in your kitchen cabinet, you might want to consider which glass shape best suits the kind of brew you often drink. Whether it’s a traditional British bitter or a German Weissbier, there’s bound to be a beer glass for every style.
Wisdom has it that snifters are meant for Belgian ales, pilsner glasses for lagers, tulip glasses for strong Imperials and ales, and Weizen glasses for Weizen. There’s a similar school of thought for wine glasses
: glasses with large, round bowls are meant for red wine while thin champagne flutes are meant for sparkling white wine.
With this appreciation, let’s explore the world of beer glasses to guide you on what to look for when shopping for the best glassware for a delightful drinking experience, and then you can dive straight to our top picks.
Stylish beer glasses don’t cost a fortune. With a budget of between $15 and $35, you can get a great set of beer glasses that will transform your drinking experience. Prices differ based on the style, size, weight, as well the brand. However, you should never fall for very cheap beer glasses that are generally made from low-quality glass that won’t live up to your expectations.
If you’ve ever visited European restaurants and pubs, you must have noticed a wide array of glassware behind the bar. It’s because many European breweries complement their beers with unique and stylish beer glasses. The right glass amplifies your drinking experience by generating the right level of foam head that releases the beer’s aromatics, while offering optimum presentation.
The critical features to look for in a beer glass include the size, clarity, shape, and color. Here’s a look:
- Size – As a general rule of thumb, the higher the alcohol percentage in a beer, the smaller the size of the beer glass. The pint glass is quite ubiquitous and easy to store. It’s ideal for American lagers, stouts, Saisons, porters, and English ales. These glasses can hold up to 16 to 20 ounces.
- Clarity – Most beer brands require clear glasses to show off crisp clear bubbles. Consider clear beer glasses for pale lagers like pilsner. The even taper of pilsner glasses maintain a decent foam head while showcasing the clarity of these beers as well as their effervescence.
- Shape – Strong, highly aromatic beer brands like barley wines, imperial IPAs, and other strong ales exhibit an intense aroma when served in a strategically-shaped glass like a sniffer. Sniffers come with shapes that allow you to swirl the beer to enhance and agitate the volatiles.
- Color – Most beer glasses are clear, but you can consider colorful models if you’re taking colored, fruity beers. Delicate flute glasses offer a perfect choice for displaying carbonations and sparkles of the elegant fruity, airy beer brands like the Belgian lambics.
Generally, if you’re not sure of the glassware to go with, simply picture what feature of the beer you want highlighted then pick a style and shape that complement those important features.
Construction and Design
Let’s now discuss the types of beer glasses in terms of design and construction:
- Mugs – Mugs are generally great for a light beer that you can keep cold and take in large quantities in a sitting. They come with a handle on the side so that your hand doesn’t warm up the beer as you hold the mug. There are two types of mugs namely the tankard and the krug.
- Pint Glasses – Pint glasses have a generic shape and standardized sizing which provide a proper pint of beer. They are highly versatile and can be used to take many types of beers. Different variations of pint glasses include the American Shaker, Irish Shaker, and British Nonic.
- Pilsner Glasses – Just as the name suggests, these glasses are perfect for taking pilsner beer. They also come in variations like Weizenbier for taking wheat beer and Pilsner for Pilsner and other light beers. Weizen glasses provide a perfect vessel for high, fluffy heads associated with Kristalweizen, Hefeweizen, and other wheat beer types. The thin glasses with tall shapes make a perfect presentation while trapping any yeast sediments to the bottom of the glass.
- Stemmed Glasses – These glasses come with a narrow stem, wide bowl, curved sides, and a wide rim. The two variations of stemmed beer glasses include tulips, goblets, and chalices. Tulips come with a flared rim that creates a decent head and enhances the aroma. The Chalice provides a heavier option and curves from the middle all the way to the rim. They are perfect for lagers and light beers. Goblets provide a better choice for sipping beers like the German bocks or Belgian ales. Many goblets are designed with etchings on the inside to provide some nucleation room for bubbles.
- Specialty Glasses – These are some of the less common beer glasses and offer some unique drinking experiences. The Beer Boot originated from Germany and requires some level of experience to use. Yard Of Ale has an exaggerated, elongated shape and will require a stand to hold it upright.
Performance and Ease of Use
Enjoying your favorite brand of beer is always a refreshing moment and you wouldn’t want that experience to be ruined by a complicated, unstable, or hard-to-hold beer glass. The beer glasses that we’ve reviewed are typically simple to use, clean, and store away. Always check the manufacturer’s label to see if the glasses are dishwasher-friendly. You need something you can easily clean, both by hand and in a dishwasher.
Beer mugs come with huge handles making them easy to hold when drinking chilled light beers. You don’t have to endure the coldness on your palm and you won’t cool down the beer with your hands as well. Pint glasses are quite easy to store since they are stackable and you can pile a number of glasses in your rack to preserve space.
Perhaps the only glasses that are difficult to use are the specialty beer glasses. The beer boot or “bierstiefel,” for instance, is quite challenging to drink from. When you tilt it, air bubbles gather at the toe, and when the boot is lifted back, air bubbles rush to the top of the glass and the drink surges forward, splashing on you or anyone sitting close by. The yard of ale glass, on the other hand, is great to drink from but needs a special stand to hold the glass upright.
Enjoying a glass of beer under the ambiance of your backyard can be so fulfilling. But beer never goes down well with a rugged plastic mug. Invest in a great beer glass set to transform your drinking experience. Hopefully, our guide pointed you to the best beer glass you’ve been looking for. If you didn’t find a perfect fit from our list, feel free to sample other alternatives from these brands.