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Glassware

The issue of glassware has been brought up a few times already, and I have a day off from work due to the crazy weather here today, so I think it’s time for an article on glassware.

This might be hard to believe, but there are as many styles of glasses as there are styles of beer.  Each style glass has a unique shape and formation which aide in the enjoyment of the beer in many different ways.  Some glasses are skinny and elongated to show off the elegance of the appearance; some have a flared top to help with head retention and freely allow aromas to escape; some have a wide body and narrow opening to help warm and contain the complexity.   Several beers have a style of glass designed specifically for it and should always be used when drinking it.  Using the appropriate glass for the style is a crucial element to correctly enjoying the beer as the brewer has intended.

What follows is a list of glass styles, a short description of the shape and what beers might be appropriately served in each. I have also included a few pictures of glassware in my collection from the style.

Flute

Flute glasses are typically tall and thin shaped with straight sides. They often times can have a foot and stem and might be gold rimmed. They are designed to show off a light beer’s delicate body and color while maintaining carbonation and aroma.

Lindeman's Flute

Lindeman’s Flute


Cantillon Flute

Cantillon Flute

Appropriate for these styles:
Bohemian Pilsener, Cider, Classic German Pilsener, Fruit Beer, Ice Cider, Lambic – Faro, Lambic – Fruit, Lambic – Gueuze, Lambic – Unblended, Perry, Pilsener

Lager Glass

A lager glass is usually fairly short holding no more than 12 oz of liquid and have gently sloping sides. They typically are wider at the top than at the base to aide in head retention. Lagers usually do not have a strong aroma and should not be used for particularly strong scented beers.

Samuel Adams Lager Glass

Samuel Adams Lager Glass

Ommegang BPA

Ommegang BPA

Appropriate for these styles:
American Dark Lager, American Pale Ale, California Common, Cider, Cream Ale, Dortmunder/Helles, Dunkel, Heller Bock, Ice Cider, Imperial Pils/Strong Pale Lager, Malt Liquor, Oktoberfest/Märzen, Pale Lager, Perry, Premium Lager, Schwarzbier, Smoked, Specialty Grain, Spice/Herb/Vegetable, Vienna, Zwickel/Keller/Landbier

Kolsch/Stange

A kolsch glass, otherwise known as a stange glass is cylindrical in shape with straight sides and no slope. They show off the color of the beer and allow for a billowing head to form, but as this style beer is meant to be drank when cold, should not be allowed to sit for very long.

Spaten Stange

Spaten Stange

Redhook Stange

Redhook Stange

Appropriate for these styles:
Altbier, Kölsch

Shaker

A shaker glass is the type of glass that everyone thinks of when they think of beer. It is slightly wider at the top than the base with gently sloping sides. They are easy to produce and are quite durable, with no real discernible qualities. Kind of lame, except to collect different labels.

Shiner Shaker

Shiner Shaker

Franconia Shaker

Franconia Shaker

Appropriate for these styles:
Amber Ale, American Dark Lager, American Pale Ale, Baltic Porter, Black IPA, English Pale Ale, Golden Ale/Blond Ale, Heller Bock, India Pale Ale (IPA), Low Alcohol, Malt Liquor, Mild Ale, Pale Lager, Wheat Ale

English Pint

This style is similar to the shaker as it’s designed for session ales, but specifically the English variants and darker ales. These glasses usually have a line drawn on them to ensure you receive a proper pint pour. English pints also have a “bubble” near the top of the glass for aroma purposes and head formation.

Guinness Stout

Guinness Stout

North Coast Old Rasputin

North Coast Old Rasputin

Appropriate for these styles:
Amber Ale,Baltic Porter, Bitter, Dry Stout, English Pale Ale, English Strong Ale, Golden Ale/Blond Ale, Irish Ale, Low Alcohol, Mild Ale, Old Ale, Pale Lager, Porter, Premium Bitter/ESB, Scottish Ale, Stout, Sweet Stout, Traditional Ale

Dimpled Mug

Dimpled mugs are prevalent during such beer festivals like Oktoberfest, and are often thought of when referring to dark Germanic beers. The dimples do not create any real appreciable benefit but the wide mouth allows for an easy release of aromas. They are also thick and have a handle.

Rahr Octoberfest

Rahr Octoberfest

Widmer Okto

Widmer Okto

Appropriate for these styles:
American Dark Lager, Brown Ale, Doppelbock, Dunkel, Dunkler Bock, Eisbock, Oktoberfest/Märzen, Pale Lager, Schwarzbier, Smoked, Traditional Ale, Weizen Bock

Stein

A stein is a very beautifully decorated mug, usually crafted from stone or clay. They oftentimes come with a lid that is good for keeping good aromas in, and bad aromas out. (Cigarette smoke, bugs, etc.) While I have yet to come across an actual Bavarian Stein, I do have some examples of clay and ceramic mugs.

Schneider Edel-Weisse

Schneider Edel-Weisse

Rahr iron Thistle Mug

Rahr iron Thistle Mug

Appropriate for these styles:
Doppelbock, Dunkel, Dunkelweizen, Eisbock, Heller Bock, Oktoberfest/Märzen, Schwarzbier, Smoked, Traditional Ale, Weizen Bock, Zwickel/Keller/Landbier

Footed Pilsener

A footed pilsener glass is tall and slender, with a footed base and a short stem, no longer than 1 inch. The sides of the glass may either be slightly curved or completely straight. It serves for head formation and display of appearance.

Houblon Footed Pilsner

Houblon Footed Pilsner

Rahr Anniversary Footed Pilsner

Rahr Anniversary Footed Pilsner

Appropriate for these styles:
Bohemian Pilsener, Classic German Pilsener, Cream Ale, Pilsener

Tulip

The tulip glass; so named for it’s tulip like shape. The bulbous bottom is wide for easier drinking; the flared top allows for great head formation and aroma release. It usually has a short stem and wide foot. A solid glass that covers many different styles.

Duvel Tulip

Duvel Tulip

Tripel Karmeliet Tulip

Tripel Karmeliet Tulip

Thistle

The thistle glass is a relatively obscure style of glass that was lost up until very recently. It has an odd shape, with a large foot and stem, bulbous base that curves back in and morphs into a large flared top. It makes for kind of awkward drinking, especially finishing off the last bit but it is cool and traditional. Similar qualities as the tulip.

Rahr Iron Thistle

Rahr Iron Thistle

Appropriate for these styles:
Scotch Ale, Scottish Ale

Yard of Ale

This glass is called a mini-yard glass, or a yard of ale. It is rumored that Mr. Kwak himself designed this glass back in the early 19th century. A full yard of ale is a glass that is literally a meter in length and was so designed to cater to the coach drivers of old. These extra tall glasses would be handed up to the drivers while they sat on their perch, eliminating the need to dismount. This “mini-yard” style has been scaled down but still maintains the original ratio and scale. Due to it’s rounded base, it cannot stand on it’s own and comes with a wooden stand.

Kwak Yard of Ale

Kwak Yard of Ale

Appropriate for these styles:
Belgian Ale

Weizen

This glass is tall, narrow and flared near the top. This style glass is used to accentuate the bright appearance of hefeweizens and wheat ales. Due to the height of the glass, the beer can warm up quite quickly, so if you are outside on a hot day, drink up!

Franziskaner

Franziskaner

Pyramid Hefeweizen

Pyramid Hefeweizen

Appropriate for these styles:
Belgian White (Witbier), Dunkelweizen, German Hefeweizen, German Kristallweizen, Weizen Bock, Wheat Ale

Tumbler

The tumbler glass is a fun one, but I have found little example of this style beyond the single glass I own. These glasses are unassuming and simple, with a gentle bowl, ridged edges and a slightly wider top than the base. It is hereby known as “the Hoegaarden glass” for a very good reason.

Hoegaarden Tumbler

Hoegaarden Tumbler

Appropriate for these styles:
Belgian Ale, Belgian Strong Ale, Belgian White (Witbier), Lambic – Faro, Lambic – Fruit, Lambic – Gueuze. Lambic – Unblended, Sour Ale/Wild Ale, Specialty Grain, Spice/Herb/Vegetable

Trappist Glass

Trappist glasses are also known as chalices sometimes. They always have a foot and stem and a simple bowl sitting atop it. They have a wide mouth for easy head formation with a deep bowl to show off the appearance. These are made for Abbey ales only and should be served for as such. Every Abbey has their own brand of Trappist glass, and I swear their beer tastes better out of a glass with its name on it.

Chimay Trappist

Chimay Trappist

Maredsous Chalice

Maredsous Chalice

Appropriate for these styles:
Abbey Dubbel, Abbey Tripel, Abt/Quadrupel, American Strong Ale, Belgian Ale, Belgian Strong Ale, English Strong Ale

Stem Glass

The stem glass is fairly unknown here in the States but is more widely used overseas. The construction is fairly simple; footed with a short stem and a small top with straight sides. These glasses usually hold less than 12 oz of liquid so the bottle is often served along side it.

Einbecker Ur-Bock Stem Glass

Einbecker Ur-Bock Stem Glass

Appropriate for these styles:
Bocks, Porters

Snifter

Ah the snifter. This is often considered the most cherished of all beer glasses. They are elegant, stemmed and easily breakable but the trade-off is being able to look like a badass when you swirl the last bit of barleywine in front of your girl. Ok so maybe that’s what I do but it’s not that corny. Snifters are footed with a short stem with a large bulbous bottom and a narrow top. The large bottom makes for an easy grip in an up-turned palm. I hadn’t considered what this meant for a beer until my girlfriend pointed it out. With a wine glass you grip the stem so as not to inadvertently warm the drink. In a snifter however, the beer styles that are served in it are ones that need to be enjoyed at a higher temperature than wine, thus the shorter stems so as to force the drinker to grip the glass in the palm, warming the drink. Very smart one, my girlfriend.

Cigar City Snifter

Cigar City Snifter

Stone RIS

Stone RIS

Appropriate for these styles:
American Strong Ale, Baltic Porter, Barley Wine, Bière de Garde, Dunkler Bock, Eisbock, Foreign Stout, Imperial Stout, Imperial/Double IPA, Imperial/Strong Porter, Mead, Old Ale, Sour Ale/Wild Ale

Oversized Wine Glass

The oversized wine glass is very similar to the snifter except that it has a very long stem.

Dogfish Head

Dogfish Head

Leffe Blonde

Leffe Blonde

Appropriate for these styles:
American Strong Ale, Baltic Porter, Barley Wine, Bière de Garde, Dunkler Bock, Eisbock, Foreign Stout, Imperial Stout, Imperial/Double IPA, Imperial/Strong Porter, Mead, Old Ale, Sour Ale/Wild Ale

Other Cool and Unique Glasses

Here at the end I thought I would feature some other glasses I have that do not necessarily fit into a neat category, but are nonetheless quite exciting.

Goose Island Matilda

Goose Island Matilda

Kasteel

Kasteel

Carlsberg

Carlsberg

3 comments

  1. […] Also if you haven’t already seen it, I posted a very nice article on glassware last night. You can check it out here. […]


  2. Great article! I wish you would have written it earlier and that I found it earlier! I spent hours looking up info on glassware a month or two again.

    Well written piece and a good chance to show off your extensive glassware!


  3. Cracking article – always a bit of a puzzle as to how to classify the glasses in my collection.

    The one comment I would make is the English pint glass you refer as having a bubble near the top, I presume you mean a “nonic” (Google image it) – I always understood the bubble was simply for stacking purposes in that it prevented the glasses from getting jammed together.

    Nice one fella

    http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/beerglasscollector/



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