Believe it or not, it really does matter what kind of glass you drink beer out of. Not only does this mean that if you’re serious about beer you should vow to never drink out of a Dixie cup again, but it also means that a different type of glass should be used to drink different styles of beer.
Nothing’s preventing you from drinking straight out of the bottle (there’s nothing wrong with that… I do it) and nobody’s telling you that you’re wrong for drinking everything out of a shaker-style pint glass. However, using the right type of glass for the style of beer you’re drinking makes a huge difference in your experience of that beer.
The following list describes all types of glasses mentioned in this book. When reading the description of a beer from the list of beers in the following pages of this book, use this chart as a reference everywhere you see “(Serve in…)”.
Nothing beats serving your Weizenbier (wheat beer) in an authentic Bavarian Weizen Glass. These classy glasses, with their thin walls and length, showcase the beer’s color and allows for much headspace to contain the fluffy, sexy heads association with the style. Most are 0.5L in size, with slight variations in sizes. Forget the lemon garnish, the citric will kill the head. Benefits: Specifically produced to take on volume and head, while locking in the banana-like and phenol aromas associated with the style.
Typically a tall, slender and tapered 12-ounce glass, shaped like a trumpet at times, that captures the sparkling effervesces and colors of a Pils while maintaining its head. Benefits: Showcases color, clarity and carbonation. Promotes head retention. Enhances volatiles.
Ideal for Belgian Trappist beers, they are very beautiful, sometimes sporting gold on the edge. They are designed to maintain the integrity of the cream, as well as provide greater perception of the aroma. They can also be used with Dubbel, Tripel and Quadrupel styles. Various shapes are found under the names of Bolleke (glasses of Leffe and Westmalle) and Trapist (glass of LaTrappe).
4. Willi Becher
Near cylindrical, with a slight taper and wide-mouth. There are two standard sizes, the 16-ounce (US Tumbler – the pour man’s pint glass and most common) or the 20-ounce Imperial (Nonic), which has a slight ridge towards the top, a grip of sorts and helps in stacking them. The 20-ounce version is preferred to accommodate more beer or beers with large crowning heads. A Becker is the German equivalent, tapering at the top. Benefits: Cheap, easy to store, easy to drink out of.
What your beer is likely to be served in if you order it at just about every restaurant, bar, or pub in the United States that is respectable enough to give you a glass with your beer. Often called a “pint glass”, it doesn’t actually fit a full punt very easily, if at all, because there’s no room left for head. A true pint glass is a little larger. As the name, “shaker,” suggests, this glass is traditionally used to mix drinks. Just so happens to be the most popular serving glass in the U.S.
A stemmed glass, obviously tulip-shaped, wherein the top of the glass pushes out a bit to form a lip in order to capture the head and the body is bulbous. Scotch Ales are often served in a “thistle glass,” which is a modified tulip glass that resembles Scotland’s national flower. Benefits: Captures and enhances volatiles, while it induces and supports large foamy heads.
Used commonly for brandy and cognac, these wide-bowled and stemmed glasses with their tapered mouths are perfect for capturing the aromas of strong ales. Volumes range, but they all provide room to swirl and agitate volatiles. Benefits: Captures and enhances volatiles.
The world of champagne lends elegance to certain types of beer. Long and narrow bodies ensure that carbonation doesn’t dissipate too quickly and showcase a lively carbonation or sparkling color. Stems will often be a bit shorter than the traditional champagne glass, but not necessarily. Benefits: Enhances and showcases carbonation. Releases volatiles quickly for a more intense upfront aroma.
9. Dimpled Mug
Heavy, sturdy, large and with handle, the mug is a fun and serious piece of glassware that comes in many sizes and shapes. The best part of using a mug is that you can clink them together with more confidence than other types of glassware, and they hold loads of beer. Seidel is a German mug, while a Stein is the stone equivalent that traditionally features a lid, the use of which dates back to the Black Plague to prevent flies from dropping in. Benefits: Easy to drink out of. Holds plenty of volume.
10. Kolsch or Stange
A traditional German glass, stange means “stick” and these tall, slender cylinders are used to serve more delicate beers, amplifying malt and hop nuances. Substitute with a Tom Collins glass. Benefits: Tighter concentration of volatiles.