Beer Glass Styles

There’s no more spirited discussion than opinion on beer glass styles and usage. The thoughts range from I don’t need no stinkin’ glass, to OMG you’re ruining that …

Beer glasses
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There’s no more spirited discussion than opinion on beer glass styles and usage. The thoughts range from I don’t need no stinkin’ glass, to OMG you’re ruining that barrel-aged stout by drinking it from a pint glass. But when it comes down to it, a proper beer glass is an essential component for enhancing the enjoyment of beer. From directing aromas, to holding a frothy head, there really are reasons to use different glass shapes for different styles of beer.

Here’s a basic overview of a few beer glass styles I use.

Short's Spruce Pilsner by Brewhead Von Pilsner
Pilsner glass with Short’s Spruce Pilsner

This classic Pilsner is perfect for showing off the clarity and color of a beer. The slender, tapered design helps to maintain a proper head while the narrowed top channels aromas toward the nose.

Pint glass
Pint glass with Jackie O’s Dark Apparition

Pub style glasses are perfect for English ales, porters, and stouts. The wide mouth supports a frothy head. These pint glasses have a traditional presentation and are easy to stack and handle in a bustling pub. A bulge in your pint doesn’t mean it’s happy to see you, it actually helps to agitate the beer when pouring, which aids in releasing flavor.

Chalice style beer glass
Chalice style beer glass with Founders Curmudgeon

Chalice style glasses accentuate the fine qualities of the strongest ales such as Belgian Tripels and Quads as well as Barley Wines and other dark and golden ales. The wide mouth also forces you to open your own mouth wide to drink from it, which exposes the tongue’s receptors helping to enhance flavor.

Heffenweizan glass
Evil Twin James Beer in Heffenweizan glass

Tall glasses are appropriate for Weissbeers, wheat beers, pale lagers, and sour beers. The narrow base concentrates the yeasts and the rounded top holds a large amount of foam. Tall glasses also highlight carbonation bubbles rising to the top and releasing aroma and flavor.

Bowl style beer glass
Bowl style beer glass with Westmalle Dubbel

Elegant bowl-shaped glasses add a sophisticated flair to any beer, but are especially suited to Belgian style ales with tastes and aromas of fruit and spice. Holding near the stem ensures that the beer will not warm too fast.

Different beer glass styles can add a lot of character and variety to your beer drinking. But most critical is that they help to release carbonation which intensifies scent, heightens flavor, increases visual presentation, and even clears your palate to ready it for the next sip. Sure, you can drink straight from the bottle, but be assured you’re missing much of the sensory experience.

In the end, the most important detail is using a clean glass in whatever style that tickles your fancy. Your glass should be dry and free of soap or oil that will degrade the head and affect flavor.

If you’re shopping for beer glasses, this Brewhead endorsed kit from Libbey has a nice assortment of shapes and will be adequate for most of your pouring needs. These glasses are highly-rated and lead-free with a sturdy feel.

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