Know your beer glass types
So you want to buy beer glasses to fully complete your transformation into a total craft beer aficionado, right? You know your stouts from your saisons, the function of hops and malt, the poetics of yeast, and the difference between IBU and ABV. You’ve got stacks of beer jargon under your belt and have got your taste buds around everything from a wee heavy to a double IPA. But you’re still drinking all of your craft beer out of the bottle or can it comes in because you don’t know a stein from a goblet and are too afraid to ask. Never fear – Beer Days comes to the rescue again with your need-to-know on beer glass styles so you can really savor your favourite craft beers and look good doing it.
If you’re wondering what the point is of bothering to drink beer from its correct glass, then here it is in the proverbial nutshell: it will improve your beer-drinking experience. It starts with anticipation – the little thrill of seeing that amber or golden or chocolate brown or straw coloured liquid in all its effervescent glory. An appropriate beer glass will also serve to manage the head development and retention so that you can enjoy the beer’s subtle aromas in all their glory. The technical beer geek term for this is capturing and enhancing volatiles which are all the goodies that make the beer smell amazing – hop oils, esters, spices and the like. This is the kind of cool stuff that makes it worth buying beer glasses to really get the most out of your craft brews.
Righto. To the beer glasses themselves:
Pilsner glass: tall and tapered (but no curves), the pilsner glass is good for – you guessed it – pilsner beers. It’s perfect for showing off colour and effervescence and for maintaining a good head. A lager or a blonde ale will also be very happy in your pilsner glass.
Weizen glass: tall, slender and delicately curved, your weizen glass is perfect for wheat ales. It creates a nice volume of aroma-inducing head at the top while trapping any sediment in its narrow bottom. Check out the Duke Zikov for a very class version of this lovely glass.
Goblet or Chalice: this elegant style instantly makes you feel a little like Sean Connery sipping on a Belgian tripel by a cosy fire in a Scottish castle. They are perfect for the strong Belgian ales because they maintain a good head, allow deep sips, and just look the business.
Mug: let’s be honest – the best thing about these robust glasses featuring a handle is that you can clink them together with drunken abandon over your plates of mussels or steak. The handle means you don’t get your sweaty paw all over them, and their large size means they hold – that’s right - large quantities. Probably keep your fancy strong ales for another glass but otherwise, fill this one up with any amber, golden, pale, or lager you’ve got on hand.
Stange: tall, slim and straight up and down, the stange concentrates the volatiles making it perfect for your more subtle brews. We are fans of a gose or a rye in one of these. Check out the Captain Klaus stange here.
Pint glass: there are a few different variations on the pint glass. The main two are the US 16 ounce tumbler and the Nonic 20 ounce which has that distinctive ridge towards the top. Both styles accomdate beers with large heads, from lagers to English ales. The ridge is a purely pragmatic features, designed to make the beer glasses both slightly stronger and more easily stackable.
Tulip glass: tulips are great for trapping aroma and supporting a big fluffy head of foam. Use a tulip for your really aromatic and hoppy beers. We are pouring an imperial IPA and Belgian strong ales into these curvy glasses. There’s a variation called the Thistle glass which is used specifically for Scotch ales or a wee heavy.
Snifter: these also have the Sean Connery effect and you can add a casually elegant little swirl when you’re drinking from a snifter to agitate the volatiles and take a good whiff of all that aroma. Strong ales, imperial IPAs, and stouts are all at home in a snifter.
Flute: very similar to a champagne glass and showcases carbonation in the same way and rapidly releases aroma for an intense hit before that first sip. Elegant and festive, they are perfect for a biere de champagne, bocks and pilsner.
This is not a comprehensive list (some breweries even design glasses specifically for their own beers) but it should be enough to get you feeling confident about serving up a wee heavy or a pilsner next time the mood takes you. No need to be too precious about it, but it’s worth getting into the habit of drinking your crafties from a glass because – aside from all that fancy talk about capturing volatiles – it really does make for an extra enjoyable craft beer experience. If you want to buy beer glasses and start your own collection, check out our range of beer glasses here.