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Glassware 101

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What beer goes in what glass, and does it really make a difference, anyway? Our Cliff’s Notes version of Glassware 101 gives you the lowdown on the nine glasses you need in your collection.GOBLET
Some are dainty, some thick-walled and robust; either way, it’s the big bowl that does the work. A wide mouth promotes deep gulps of heavy sipping beers, and the sheer largesse of the cup holds up inches-high heads.
Use with: Burly Belgians: dubbels, tripels, quads and strong ales.
Try: Dansk Hanna Goblet, about $9 each, dansk.comWEIZEN
Soft curves and thin walls separate the weizen glass from its pilsner cousin. The height makes room for giant, fluffy heads; the voluptuous shape traps those citrusy banana smells.
Use with: Wheat beers—hefeweizens, weizenbocks and dunkelweizens—and ryes, too.
Try: Mikasa Brewmasters Collection Wheat glass, $40 for four, mikasa.com

TULIP
An exaggerated top lip gives this glass its floral name; it’s also responsible for supporting huge heads and promoting big smells.
Use with: Scotch ales, bière de gardes, fruit beers, English barleywines, strong ales, and any beer with a substantial head or strong nose.
Try: Libbey Poco Grande glass, $12 for four, libbey.com

FLUTE
Bubbles and big bouquets are best showcased in a flute glass: The long, thin body keeps carbonation alive and liberates aromas more quickly, plus, the stem lifts bright-hued beers off the table for easy admiration.
Use with: Highly carbonated, boldly colored beers like gueuzes, lambics, bocks, Flanders red ales, wild ales, saisons and, of course, bière de Champagne.
Try: Crate & Barrel Solo Port Glass, about $5 each, crateandbarrel.com

SNIFTER
Swirl rich, robust beers in a snifter; the stem and wide bowl lend to proper, tidy agitation, and the tapered mouth detains potent scents.
Use with: Heavy styles, and anything with a nose so thick you can taste it: American barleywines, strong Scotch ales and imperial styles.
Try: Riedel Napoleon Brandy Glass, $78 for two, riedel.com

PILSNER
Slim and tapered, pilsner glasses show off extreme carbonation and clear, almost shiny colors. The vessel’s ample top half keeps heads sturdy.
Use with: Pilsners, but also steam beers, light lagers, Munich helles and schwarzbiers.
Try: The Cellar Premium Krosno pilsner, about $25 for four, macys.com


MUG
Mugs are less about science and more about convenience: Made for holding profuse amounts of beer, mugs bear that classic handle, made for lifting large loads and clinking other glasses. Fun fact: a siedel is a standard mug, while a mug with a lid (added during the Black Plague to keep flies out of beer) is a stein.
Use with: Any beer drank in bulk: Oktoberfests, light lagers, pale ales, cream ales and witbiers.
Try: Anchor Hocking Gusto mug, $20 for four, anchorhocking.com

STANDARD PINT
Your standard 16-ounce tapered bar glass is an all-purpose vessel for nearly every beer style on the planet, and it’s the perfect vehicle for beers that don’t require a lot of fuss. But this glass is also ideal for hoppy pale ales and IPAs, as those styles continuously exude hop aromas—the smells don’t need to be trapped.
Use with: Mellow styles like blonde ales, cream ales, amber ales and steam beers, plus pale ales and IPAs.
Try: Williams Sonoma Classic Pint (not pictured), $51 for four, williamssonoma.com

IMPERIAL PINT
Slightly larger than a standard pint, these glasses hold an imperial pint—568mL, or about 1.2 American pints. (In fact, in the U.K., it’s illegal to sell a pint measuring any less.) The bulge near the top is constructed to accommodate frothy heads and helps make sturdy stacking.
Use with: Heady, flavor-packed pub standards like brown ales, red ales, stouts, porters and cask ales. Also the standard choice for rauchbiers, ESBs, pumpkin ales and kölsches.
Try: Libbey International Beer Glass Set imperial pint glass, $23 for four (within a 12-piece set), libbey.com

TIP: Cleanliness is godliness when it comes to serving beer: Even the tiniest amounts of soap, dust or lipstick can ruin a good pint. To keep glassware spic and span, hand-wash your set in mild dishwashing liquid; dishwashers and rinse agents can leave behind deposits that alter beer’s head and flavor. Dry using a kitchen chamois, or better yet, air-dry; towels may abandon fibers or dust on wet glass. Finally, store glasses upright in a cabinet, or top-down on mesh to allow all water to evaporate and deter mold.

11 Comments

  • Rick Zwetsch says:

    Where’s the best place online to buy a couple of all these glasses?

    Thanks!

    Rick

  • DRAFT Editors says:

    We’ve noted some suggested retailers for each of the glasses above, and many of them sell several styles of glasses; some even offer beer-tasting sets with multiple styles. Check those spots first!

  • Rick Zwetsch says:

    Can you point me to one or more that sell the sets with multiple styles?

  • […] of Choice Nice write up from Draft Magazine on what beers goes in what glass. Though the article could have benefited from […]

  • Erin says:

    This is a very helpful article! I now know what to buy my best friend and husband for a second anniversary gift.

  • Mash Ryan says:

    Nice article, but, Imperial Pint glsses are NOT “the standard choice for [kölsches.]
    Kölsch is meant to be served in a straight sided cylindrical glass know as a Stange (which translates as rod). In fact, in Cologne whre this style originates, it’s illegal to server Kölsch in anything else!

  • Frank says:

    Amazon has a good selection of beer glasses.

    There is no such thing as a “STANDARD PINT” glass, those awful vessels are for missing liquor and iced tea, not for beer. No beer that you wish to smell or taste should ever be served in that, nor a “mug”.

    A wine glass is a perfectly acceptable alternative, if the proper glassware is not on hand.

    As the other reader posted, an Imperial pint glass is not acceptable for a Kölsch, nor for a rauchbier.

  • […] clean glassware. (What kind? See DRAFT’s Glassware Guide, here.) Glasses should be free of soap, lipstick, food oils, and anything else that may taint a beer’s […]

  • […] GOBLET Some are dainty, some thick-walled and robust; either way, it’s the big bowl that does the work. A wide mouth promotes deep gulps of heavy sipping beers, and the sheer largesse of the cup holds up inches-high heads. Use with: Burly Belgians: dubbels, tripels, quads and strong ales. Try: Dansk Hanna Goblet, about $9 each, dansk.com […]

  • […] clean glassware. (What kind? See DRAFT’s Glassware Guide, here.) Glasses should be free of soap, lipstick, food oils, and anything else that may taint a beer’s […]

  • […] Some are dainty, some thick-walled and robust; either way, it’s the big bowl that does the work. A wide mouth promotes deep gulps of heavy sipping beers, and the sheer largesse of the cup holds up inches-high heads. Use with: Burly Belgians: dubbels, tripels, quads and strong ales. Try: Dansk Hanna Goblet, about $9 each, dansk.com […]

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