Why so many different beer glasses? The glass shape allows the unique flavors, colors and aromas of each beer to be fully appreciated. Some glasses are also designed to maintain the foam head of the beer. The glass type is an important consideration when wanting to enhance your drinking experience.
Common Types of Beer Glasses
American Pint Glasses
American Pint Glasses are easy to clean, store, and stack, so are often used at home or in restaurants. Their cone shape tapers towards the bottom making them easy to stack. They are also known as Shaker glasses. These glasses are usually 16oz. This is a good all-around glass. Used with most types of beers, Lagers and Pale Ales are the most common beers to be served in this glass.
British Pint Glass
The British pint glass, also called a Nonic Glass, is a variation on the American Pint. The British Pint glass bulges out a couple of inches from the top. This is partly for improved grip, it also helps to prevent the glasses from sticking together when stacked, and it gives strength and decreases the chance of the rim becoming chipped. This design improves head retention when pouring your beer, which enhances the aroma of your beer. Traditionally darker beers, like Stouts and Porters, are served in British Pint Glasses. The British Pint holds 20 ounces.
The beer mug has a thicker wall than a traditional glass. It is also the only beer glass that has a handle on the side. Both of these unique features are to help keep the beer cool. The thickness of the glass helps provide insulation. The handle is to keep your hand off the glass to prevent it from warming up the beer. Beer mugs can be made of pewter, ceramic, glass, stainless steel, or other materials. This is another good multi-purpose glass. American Ales and Lagers, English beers, Bock beers are all common to see served in this glass.
These elegant beer glasses are tall and have tapered walls. They are used primarily with lighter beers. This glass design allows drinkers to appreciate the beer’s colors and carbonation bubbles. The thin walls of the glass show off the sparkle of the lighter beers. This glass maintains the perfect beer head, allowing the drinker to better appreciate the taste of pale ales.
Weizen glasses are similar to Pilsner glasses, but with more curvature to them. A strong, narrow base, changes into a curve as one goes up the glass. Similar to the Pilsner, this glass shows off the beer’s color. Weizen glasses are designed for and primarily used for wheat beers (Weizenbier). The curved lip at the top of the glass helps trap the thick foam head, allowing for the full aroma and flavor of the wheat beers.
Snifter glasses are thought of when tasting cognac and brandy. They are used to allow the aromas of the drink to be enhanced. For the same reason, this design also makes them great for beer. The Snifter glass is often used to swirl the drink around. This action stirs up volatiles within the drink allowing them to escape. This action brings out the aroma of the beer to the drinker. A snifter glass is usually used for beers with strong flavors and aromas, such as Double or Imperial IPAs and Belgian IPAs.