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Beer KnowledgeWhich Glass Will you Choose for Beer?

15 Nov 2023
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The glasses that come with beer may not be important to some. But upon further experience, they may learn the variety of beer glasses, and may even grow the compulsion to find the right glass before drinking beer. There are geeks that collect beer glasses as well. In this issue of ‘Keep Calm & Learn Craft,’ we will go over the glasses that go with each type of beer, introducing the world of beer glasses that is as diverse as beer itself.

Criteria for choosing beer glasses

Of all the different types of glasses, which glass goes with which beer has been an ongoing discussion. This is because there is no strict rule about the matches between glasses and beers. However, a common sense about these matches is somewhat prevalent.

Tradition trumps all when choosing glasses. Prior to discussing the changes in beer regarding the shapes of glasses, tradition must be respected because ‘it always has been.’ The Nonic Pint for English ale, the Stange for Kolsch, the Goblet for Trappist beer are the best examples. Some beers are more appropriate for other glasses when considering their characters or styles, but no one will argue against these ‘natural and obvious’ matches.

On the other hand, beers without traditional glasses have no right answer, leaving the matches to the pourer. Aesthetically, glasses with the same logos as the beers are the best choice, but sometimes one brewery makes different shapes of glasses. Therefore, after considering how the shape of the glasses will affect the beers’ aroma and looks, the generation and stay of foam, the feeling on lips, the change in temperature, the atmosphere and the drinker, the pourer is to choose the most appropriate.

For example, glasses with long stems or with handles will prevent the temperature of beer to change by the heat of hands, making them ideal matches for beers that require low temperature. Furthermore, glasses with long stems are easier to swirl, which makes them good for beer with aroma. On the other hand, glasses that have short stems and are easy to grasp the bowl, such as the Snifter, is easily heated, matching them with beers that require high temperature. Glasses that have small openings condense the scent, but if the openings are too small, the resistance of when lips touch the rims increase, making them less accessible. Contrastively, glasses with wide openings like trumpets release the scent, and have low resistance when lips touch the rims, so they are appropriate for beers that are easily drinkable. How these information are applied will be more evident later on when discussing the types of glasses.

The atmosphere is as important as the taste of beer. Whether it is the handle of a mug, or the stem of a Flute, or the waist of a Weizen glass you hold is surprisingly significant in your drinking experience. One simply cannot drink a pale lager, a beer that is to be consumed easily at crowdy festivals, by a thin stem with grace. However, the same pale lager can be drunk by a thin stem if the setting is where the beer is tasted with prudence. Taking the beer’s character and the atmosphere of bars or the crowd as well as the beer’s taste is required when deciding the right glass. Let us further discuss the actual types of glasses, and which are matched with which beers.

Glasses that are more or less dominantly matched

The next few are glasses that have more or less the right answers. In these cases, the logos and the sizes are the only things to consider when matching with beers. But if the beer god forbid, the beer styles and the glasses do not match, you will feel uneasy. Barley wine in a mug is an atrocity even in a thought.

1. Stange

Stange is german for ‘object shaped like a stick.’ As its name suggests, Stange is shaped in a linear fashion. The narrow inside condenses the volatile substance, making the concentration high and aroma amplified. The surface of the beer that touches the air is also small, which helps preserve the fizz. The biggest advantage of Stange is that it’s easy to serve multiple drinks at one time. The area it takes up is fairly small, and because its center of gravity is located at the lower part, it is easy to serve in a tray. There is even a tray for serving Stange called Kranz. Stange has traditionally been used to serve Kolsch or Altbier of Germany. Both beers are ales that go through low temperature aging, and Stange helps preserve their delicate taste and strong fizz. As it is shaped similarly to Tom Collins Glass, they are interchangeable.

2. Weizen Glass

As seen from the name, Weizen glass is good for serving weizen. Because of its long shape, it is fit for enjoying the color of weizen, and the small opening preserves the weizen foam and aroma. As weizen normally have more foam than other styles of beer, weizen glasses are made larger for the room for foam.


3. Mug


Its handle screams “Germany.” Mugs have thicker and sturdier glass, and they usually hold more volume than others. Due to its handle and thick glass, beer can be kept cold for a long period of time, and its volume allows easy drinking. As a server, its sturdiness is a big strength. Most mugs have round dimples or stripes on the outside that provide traction when washing or holding them. The greatest strength of mugs, however, is that they are easy to make toasts, making the atmosphere more festive. Traditionally, they are used with German lagers such as Helles or Marzen, but they go well with the Czech Pilsner or other lagers as well. They are also matched with light British beers sometimes.

4. Pilsner Glass

It is a glass suitable for viewing the color of beer and fizz in a small glass. It has an elongated shape like weizen glass, but the Pilsner glass is different from the straight line in that it has no curves. In addition, the upper part of weizen glass is gathered, and the diameter of pilsner glass gets bigger at the upper part. This downward-tapering cup is effective in keeping the beer foam constantly. The more beer you drink, the smaller the surface area of the beer, and the smaller the amount of foam needed to keep the foam layer. As well as being a name for 'Pilsner' glass, it fits nicely with pilsner, but it fits most lagers like a mug. In the case of pilsner glass in Germany, there is a very short stem, which is called Pokal in particular. For reference, German Gose is also served in pilsner glass. Personally, I think it is a very good glass when serving beer with nitrogen. It is good to observe a surging phenomenon, the formation of a waterfall like flow, and to maintain a soft, dense nitrogen bubble for a long time.

5. Goblet & Chalice

As its name implies, it is a glass symbolizing the Holy Grail intentionally, and it has a stem on a ball shaped glass with a wide inlet. In order to emphasize the sacredness, the rim is often decorated with gilt edges, etc. In some cases, the engraving is inscribed on the bottom of the glass to maintain the bubble. It is a traditional glass that is matched with beer associated with the monastery such as Dubbel, Tripel, Belgian Dark Strong Ale, and Doppelbock. To enjoy the rich and delicate fragrance of such beer, it is better to have smaller inlet, but since the sacredness of the glass cannot be ignored, people mostly use the exclusive glass. For reference, Goblet has longer and thinner stem, and its glass wall is thinner than the Chalice.

6. Thistle Glasses

A glass shaped like a Scottish national flower, Thistle, is similar in shape to a tulip glass. It is more angulated than the tulip glass, with a small rounded lower part and a longer upper part. As it embodied Scottish national flower, the glass matches with Scotch Ale and Wee Heavy Ale.

7. Nonic Pint

A pint glass is basically a glass to hold a pint of beer. The problem is that the definition of this 'pint' size varies from country to country. In the case of the United Kingdom, "1 pint" is strictly stipulated as 568 mL according to the law. This is about 1.2 times larger than the US 'one pint' of 473mL. So the British pint and the American pint glass have the same name, but the sizes are different. If is a pint glass that you have often seen but feels a little larger, it is a British pint. For reference, British pints are strictly sized, while American pints are not strictly sized. It is roughly 473mL. There are two types of pints: American pint and nonic pint. First of all, let's talk about the nonic pint.

If the mug is the most representative German beer glass, then the nonic pint is the most representative glass of UK. This is evidenced by the fact that the length of Swan Neck of the handpump used to pour the British Cask Ale is made equal to the depth of the nonic pint. So, British beer enthusiasts often feel uncomfortable if the British beer is not served at the nonic pint. However, this is the preconceived image that was not established until the development of the nonic pint since the 1960s, and until then, people used mainly mugs in the UK. Anyway, it is a good glass to match with any English beer, except for an overly high alcoholic beer like Imperial Stout.

The biggest feature of the nonic pint is that the top of the glass is protruding. This bulge, which can be thought of as an aggregate of the identity of a nonic pint, is of course made for reasons. By gripping the bottom part of the protrusion by hand, it prevents the beer glass from slipping out of the hand, and it also plays a role of making easy for stacking and unstacking the glasses. From the beginning, the number of pubs using mugs decreased and the number of pubs using nonic pints increased because it was easy to store a large number of beer glasses, so it was necessary to have this protruding part. Because of this, the nickname "No Nick-Nonic" was named because the glass did not get a nick after stacked and unstacked. However, so many British pubs preferred the nonic pint that the diversity of British beer glass has been significantly lower than Belgian or German.


Glass that is not matched specifically


The glasses mentioned above play roles of the symbol of a particular beer style, and the glasses to be introduced from now on are glasses which are used very freely. You can stick to the glass and beer at your discretion, depending on the situation.


1. American Pint/Shaker Pint

It is not an exaggeration that it is the most common beer glass in the world. It has a capacity of about 473mL according to the name of 'American pint', and has a linear conical shape. It is also called 'shaker pint' because it has the same shape as a shaker for liquid. Many pubs and breweries use it because it is easy to stack like the nonic pints mentioned above and because of its wide versatility. The facts that the price is cheaper than other glasses and that it is easy to polish the glass are also contributing factors to the popularity of the American pint.

The American pint could be used for any beer if it is not overly alcoholic. However, there is no particular advantage in enjoying the flavor of beer, so it is not a perfect match for any beer, except for the light lagers.

2. Tulip

As its name suggests, it is a tulip shaped glass, which is most commonly used for Belgian beer. It has a short stem that makes it perfect for swirling the glass on the floor. In addition, the ball shaped glass narrows at the inlet, so it collects the fragrance of the beer, allowing you to enjoy much more of it. In contrast to balls that gather inward, the rim bends outward. It is good to have bubbles and beer together when compared to a glass which the rim is gathering inward, and the resistance is small when the mouth is touched. The Belgian beer is very bubbly in general, so the tulip made especially for Belgian beer is bigger than the other, and the ball is fat compared to the other. It is very well-matched with numerous Belgians such as saison, Belgian golden strong ale, or lambic, but also well-rounded for aromatic beer styles like fruit beer, IPA, wild ale, or sour ale.

3. Flute

It is a glass with an elongated ball of the form in which the inlet is gathered and a stem of an appropriate length. Because it is an elongated shape, it can last a long time for beer bubbles. It is also suitable for enjoying fragrance because it keeps aromatic ingredient well, and nice for swirling because there is a stem. To sum up, it is various all-round glass. However, the glass looks like the shape of a champagne glass, so it seems that it fits better with a light beer than a dark one.

4. Snifter

This is originally used for high-alcohol spirits such as brandy and cognac. It has a fat ball and a short stem, and the rim is narrower inward than other glasses. Because it is the best glass in the effect of gathering the aromatic ingredients and amplifying the fragrance, it is often used for more careful and detailed tasting. Instead, the resistance during mouth touch is rather high, so it does not suit the beer that is repeatedly drinkable. It is well-matched with high-ABV, rich-flavored, heavy beers such as barley wine, old ale, imperial stout, and eisbock. Of course, it is also nice to enjoy aromatic beer like double IPA. For additional information, it is better not to fill the glass fully when you pour the beer in the snifter. The snifter fully filled is not only inconvenient to drink, but also eliminates the effect of maximizing the scent of the drink.

5. Teku

It is a relatively newborn glass made by the Italian craft beer brewer and is considered to be the best craft beer glass. Like a snifter, it has a very narrow inlet, so it has an effect of amplifying the fragrance. Also, since the rim is spread outward slightly like a tulip glass, the feeling of resistance on mouth is not substantial. It also has a long and slender stem, so the heat of your hand is not conducted directly to beer inside. Besides it is also very good for swirling. Above all, the shape is beautiful, so it is excellent for creating an atmospheric drinking place. One of the drawbacks is that it is hard to clean the glass and the price is high, but because of the many charms that offset the shortcomings, many beer glass geeks pick it as their favorite glass. It is the ultimate almighty that goes well with any beer.

In addition to these, there are also many popular glasses such as Willi Becker, Tumbler, which is a special glass of Hoegaarden, Yard, a unique form made for use by horsemen, and glasses for IPA, stout, and wit beer made by Spiegelau, the expert glassmaking company, but they are not widely used, so they are excluded in this article. It could be pointed out that if choosing a beer glass is really important to study hard, but I recommend you pair the right glass with your beer just for a few times, though it might seem meaningless. You will find it quite fun to think about which glass is the best partner with your beer.

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