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Beer Glass Types



The Ulimate Beer Glass Reference Guide by TrueBeer


TrueBeer has compiled this reference guide of beer glass types to inform you on the glassware used to serve beers. This resource guide will help answer the following questions:
  • What is a Beer Glass?
  • What is the proper glass to use to serve different styles of beer?
  • Why are there some many different types of beer glasses?
  • Does each beer style have its own matching beer glass?
  • What are the names of the different beer glasses?
  • How does the shape of a beer glass enhance the drinking experience?
Table of Contents
Below is a list of common beer glasses and the types of beer typically served in them.

American Pint Glass or Shaker Glass


American Pint Glasses
American Pint

The American pint glass is the most common beer glass in the USA. It is cone-shaped and typically holds 16oz to 20oz of beer. The simple design, the ease of stacking and durability are the features that made this style of pint glass so popular in post-prohibition American bars and restaurants. The shaker glass is often used to mix cocktails making use even more widespread. These glasses are made from thick glass and built to last. This helps with maintaining cold temperatures. The cone shape is simple but the wide rim does allow for good aroma release making the glass perfect for serving a wide-variety of beer styles.

Use to Serve:
  • American Ales
  • American Lagers
  • American IPAs
  • American Pilsners
  • Light Lagers
Typical Volume: 12-22 ounces
Typical Material: Machine Pressed Glass
Shop for American Pint Glasses here: American Pint Glasses

Beer Boot, Bierstiefel or Das Boot


Beer Boots
Beer Boots

The beer boot glass is thought to be a German creation formed in the military tradition. There is also evidence the boot shaped beer glass originated in England in the 1800's. A boot glass comes in sizes ranges from 16oz up to 150 oz.

Typical Volume: 16-150ounces
Typical Material: Machine Pressed Glass and Machine Blown Glass

Shop for Beer Boots here: Beer Boots

Beer Mug or Krug


Beer Mugs
Beer Mugs

Beer mugs are the most common style of beer glasses. This classic glassware type evolved from the German beer stein. When commercial glassware production began in Europe, the stone mug was replaced by glassware. The design of a beer mugs serves two purposes; durability and insulation. Beer mugs typically are made with thick glass with a study handle. The thickness of the glass helps keeps the beer cold and the handle allows for a firm grip and to prevent heat transfer from your hand to the beer. The wide mouth of the mug allows for plenty of aroma to be released.

Use to Serve:
  • American Ales
  • American Lagers
  • English Ales
  • German Lagers
  • Pilsners (substitution for pilsner glass or pokal glass)
Typical Volume: 10-33 ounces
Typical Material: Machine Pressed Glass
Shop for Beer Mugs here: Beer Mugs

Chalice and Goblet


Goblet and Chalice Beer Glasses
Chalice and Goblet Beer Glasses

Goblets and chalices are large, stemmed bowl shaped glasses adequate for serving Belgian ales, German doppelbocks and eisbocks and other big sipping beers (high ABV). The distinction between goblet and a chalice beer glass is typically in the glass thickness but the term is somewhat interchangeable. Goblet beer glasses tend to be more delicate and thin, while the chalice is heavy and thick walled. Some chalices are even etched on the bottom of the bowl of the glass to attract carbon dioxide and provide a stream of bubbles for maintaining a nice head.

Use to Serve:
  • Belgian Ales
  • Belgian IPAs
  • Belgian Dubbels
  • Belgian Tripels
  • Belgian Quadrupels
  • Belgian Trappist Ales
  • Berliner Weissbier (substitution for traditional tub glass)
  • Imperial IPAs
  • Imperial Stouts
  • German Bocks
  • German Maibocks
  • Most other Big beers (high ABV)
Typical Volume: 8-18 ounces
Typical Material: Machine Pressed Glass (rare instances of blown glass)
Shop for Goblets here: Beer Goblets
Shop for Chalices here: Beer Chalices

Flute Glass


Beer Flute Glasses
Flute Beer Glasses

A flute glass is the preferred serving vessel for Belgian lambics and fruit beers. The narrow shape helps maintain carbonation, while providing a strong aromatic front. Flute glasses display the lively carbonation, sparkling color and soft lacing of this distinct style.

Use to Serve:
  • Biere de Champagne
  • Biere Brut
  • Eisbock
  • Fruit Beers
  • Gueuze
  • Krieks
  • Lambics
  • Pilsners
  • Red Ales
  • Schwarzbier
Typical Volume: 6-14 ounces
Typical Material: Machine Pressed Glass or Blown Glass
Shop for Flute Glasses here: Flute Beer Glasses

Nonic Glass or English Pint Glass


Nonic Glasses
Nonic Glasses

A nonic glass is an English style pint glass that has a curved lip about two inches from the top of the glass. A nonic typically holds an imperial pint or 20 oz. This glass is typically used to serve English ales and English Lagers.

Nonic glasses are an English glassware innovation. Bars and pubs are always looking for ways to economize their glassware inventory. Key areas of concern are storage and breakage. The evolution of the pub glass used in England started with the dimpled mug also called the dimpled jug. These mugs are very durable but aren't easy to store because they are wide, can be hard to stack and have a handle that takes up room on a shelf. Starting the1980's, pubs began replacing these with straight pint glasses. These included the conical pints and tulip pints. Conical pints were favored because they are fairly durable, taller rather than wide and are easy to stack. The drawback is that the conical pint lack character and isn't that visually appealing. Tulip pints do offer character and can be stacked but aren't that durable when compared to dimpled mug or conical pint. The nonic pint was then developed by the glassware industry to be easily stacked and have a durable rim. The durable rim is commonly reported to be the result of the bulge in the glass. This is unlikely and the rim is likely "not to nick" or "no nick" by heat treating the rim. The bulge in the glass is a design feature to make the glasses easier to stack. Nonic glasses have largely supplanted the tulip pint and taken the mantle as the go-to English pint glass. The glassware in English pubs continues to evolve with the growth of the craft beer movement. The selection of glassware used to serve the various types of craft beers has grown and stemmed beer glass such as tulips and pokals are becoming more common.

Use to Serve:
  • American Lagers
  • Black Ales
  • Blonde Ales
  • Brown Ales
  • California Common or Steam Beer
  • Cream Ales
  • English Bitter
  • Extra Special Bitters (ESB)
  • India Pale Ales (IPA)
  • Milk and Chocolate Stouts
  • Oatmeal Stouts
  • Old Ales
  • Pale Ales (APA)
  • Porters
  • Pumpkin Ales
  • Red Ales
  • Rye Beers
  • Saisonse
  • Stout
  • Winter Warmers
Typical Volume: 12-20 ounces
Typical Material: Machine Pressed Glass
Shop for Nonic Glasses here: Nonic Glasses

Novelty Beer Glass


Novelty Beer Glasses
Novelty Beer Glasses

Novelty beer glasses come in all different shapes and sizes. They are meant to add a little fun to your beer drinking sessions.


Shop for Novelty Beer Glasses here: Novelty Beer Glasses

Over-sized Wine Glass


Over-sized Wine Glasses
Over-sized Wine Glasses

The over-sized wine glass is just that, an big wine glass but it's used for serving strong or high gravity beer styles. Use this glass when a chalice or goblet isn't readily available.

Use to Serve:
  • Double IPA
  • Barleywine
  • Belgian Doubles
  • Triples and Quads
  • Strong Ales
  • Most high gravity (ABV) or big beers

Typical Volume: 12-22 ounces
Typical Material: Machine Pressed Glass or Blown Glass
Shop for Over-sized Wine Glasses here: Over-sized Wine Glasses

Pilsner Glass


Pilsner Glasses
Beer Steins

A pilsner glass is a glass is used to serve many types of light beers, but is intended for its namesake, the pilsner. Pilsner glasses can be smaller than a pint glass, usually in 10oz or 16oz sizes. They are tall and slender and tapered. Weizen glasses are often mistakenly referred to as Pilsner glasses, but a true Pilsner glass has an even taper without curvature. Pilsner glasses are made to showcase the color, effervescence and clarity of the Pilsner style, as well as maintain a nice head. This is a classic beer glass style that was widely used in both the USA and Europe prior to Prohibition.

Use to Serve:
  • American Pilsners
  • Baltic Pilsners
  • German Pilsners
  • Czech Pilsners
  • Light Lagers
Typical Volume: 10-16 ounces
Typical Material: Machine Pressed Glass, Blown Glass (common with antique specimens)
Shop for Pilsner Glasses here: Pilsner Glasses

Pint Glasses


American Pint Glasses

A pint glass is a beer glass holding either an American Pint (16 oz) or a British pint 568 ml (19.2 oz). Pint glass is a non-specific term that usually refers to one of three different beer glass styles:

  1. American Conical Pint Glass or Shaker Glass
  2. Nonic Glass - English Style Pint
  3. Tulip Pint Glass - Irish Style Pint
  4. Willibecher Glass - German Style Pint

Snifter Beer Glass


Snifter Beer Glasses
Snifter Beer Glasses

The snifter beer glass is typically used for serving brandy and cognac, a snifter is perfect for capturing the volatiles of aromatic beers, such as Belgian ales, India pale ales, barleywines and wheat wines. The shape helps trap the volatiles, while allowing swirling to agitate them and produce an intense aroma. The short stem and wide bowl fit nicely in your hand and allow the warmth from your hand to gently warm the beer to the optimal serving temperature.

Use to Serve:
  • Barleywine
  • Belgian Triples
  • Belgian Quads
  • Bocks
  • Double Bocks
  • Imperial Ales
  • Imperial Stouts
  • Strong Ales
  • Scotch Ales (substitute for thistle glass)
  • Most beers with over 7% abv.
Typical Volume: 12-20 ounces
Typical Material: Machine Pressed Glass
Shop for Snifter Beer Glasses here: Snifter Beer Glasses

Stange Glass, Stick or Stuck Glass


Stange Beer Glasses
Stange Beer Glasses

The stange beer glass or pole glass is a simple cylinder shaped glass typically used for German Kolsch and Alt beers. Stange glasses tend to lower in capacity as the beer meant to be consumed quickly while still cold.

Use to Serve:
  • Alts
  • German Kolsch
  • Gose
  • Gueuze
Typical Volume: 6-16 ounces
Typical Material: Machine Pressed Glass
Shop for Stange Beer Glasses here: Stange Beer Glasses

Steins


Beer Steins
Beer Steins

A beer stein is a traditionally German beer tankard or mug, made of pewter, silver, wood, porcelain, earthenware or glassware, and usually with a hinged lid and levered thumb lift. The lid was implemented during the age of the Black Plague, to prevent flies from getting into the beer.

Use to Serve:
  • American Ales
  • American Lagers
  • German Lagers
  • German Ales
  • English Ales
  • English Lagers
Typical Volume: 12-34 ounces
Typical Material: Stoneware, Machine Pressed Glass, Pewter, Wood
Shop for Beer Steins here: Beer Steins

Thistle Beer Glass


Thistle Beer Glasses
Thistle Beer Glasses

A thistle beer glass is used for Scottish ales. The glass is shaped like a thistle blossom, hence the name. The bowl of the glass is large and fit well in your hand while the flared top allows for the release of aroma.

Use to Serve:
  • Scotch Ale AKA Wee Heavy
  • Barleywine
Typical Volume: 12-22 ounces
Typical Material: Machine Pressed Glass
Shop for Thistle Beer Glasses here: Thistle Beer Glasses

Tulip Beer Glass


Tulip Beer Glasses
Tulip Beer Glasses

A tulip beer glass not only helps trap the aroma, but also aids in maintaining large heads, creating a visual and olfactory sensation. The body is bulbous, but the top flares out to form a lip which helps head retention. Good for serving hoppy beer styles such as India Pale Ales (IPAs) and other aromatic beers.

Use to Serve:
  • Belgian Ales
  • Biėre de Garde
  • India Pale Ales (IPAs)
  • Pale Ales
  • Scotch Ale AKA Wee Heavy (substitute for thistle glass)
  • Strong Ales
Typical Volume: 10-16 ounces
Typical Material: Machine Pressed Glass
Shop for Tulip Beer Glasses here: Tulip Beer Glasses

Tulip Pint Glasses (Imperial Pints)


Tulip Pint Glasses
Tulip Pint Glasses

The tulip pint glass is commonly used in Ireland and England to serve ales. The glass is flared from the middle to the rim of the beer glass. They are also called Tulip Pint Glasses.

Use to Serve:
  • Irish Stouts
  • Irish Ales
  • Porters
  • Red Ales
  • Cream Ales
  • English Ales
Typical Volume: 12-22 ounces
Typical Material: Machine Pressed Glass
Shop for Tulip Pint Glasses here: Tulip Pint Glasses

Tumbler or Tub


Tumbler Beer Glasses
Tumbler Beer Glasses

A tumbler or tub beer glass that looks like a wide rocks glass. This glass is used to serve Berliner Weisse and Belgian Witbier.

Use to Serve:
  • Berliner Weisse
  • Belgian Witbier
Typical Volume: 12-16 ounces
Typical Material: Machine Pressed Glass
Shop for Tumbler Beer Glasses here: Tumbler Beer Glasses

Wheat Beer Glass, Weizenbier Glass or Weissbier Glass


Wheat Beer Glasses
Wheat Beer Glasses

A wheat beer glass is a glass used to serve wheat beer, known also as Weizenbier or Weissbier. This German-style glass generally holds 0.5 liters (16 oz) with room for foam or "head". It is much taller than a pint glass, and starts out very skinny before widening out slightly at the top. It is said that the glass is tapered to trap yeast at the bottom of the glass. In other countries such as Belgium, the glass may be 0.25 liters or 0.33 liters. This tall glass provides room for the often thick, fluffy heads produced by the style, which traps aromas and is visually pleasing.

Use to Serve:
  • All Wheat Beers
  • Dunkelweizen
  • Hefeweizen
  • Kristalweizen
  • Weizenbock
  • White Ales
  • Belgian Wit (substitution for tumbler)
  • Gose
  • Pilsner (substitution for pilsner glass or pokal glass)
Typical Volume: 10-20 ounces
Typical Material: Machine Pressed Glass
Shop for Wheat Beer Glasses here: Wheat Beer Glasses

Willybecher Glass


Willybecher Glasses
Willybecher Glasses

The willybecher (or willibecher) is the standard beer glass in Germany. They typically hold 500 milliliters or 16.9 ounces of beer. A willybecher has a think glass bottom and is tapered in the middle. The glass is used to serve German lagers.

Use to Serve:
  • German black beer or Schwarzbier
  • Helles
  • Helles Bock
  • Maibock
  • Marzen
  • Oktoberfestbier
  • Rauchbier
  • Pils or Pilsener
Typical Volume: 12-20 ounces
Typical Material: Machine Pressed Glass
Shop for Willybecher Glasses here: Willybecher Glasses

Beer Glass History


What is a Beer Glass?

To put it very simply, a beer glass is a glass vessel that holds beer. The Sumerians are widely recognized as the inventors of beer and methods to drink beer. They enjoyed beer served out of clay pots with long straws (see image below).

Clay or stoneware was the material of choice for serving beer right up to the 1600s when pewter and silver started to be used to make beer tankards. The image below is an example of beer tankard made by Paul Revere.

Glass started to be used for serving beer in the mid to late 1700s. The catalyst is said to the royalty in England commissioning glassmakers in Germany to make new and interesting beer glassware for their enjoyment during hunting parties and other entertainment events. Glass making methods evolved and became more widely available to the general public and beer glass industry was born.

Why are there so many different types of beer glasses?

Beer glasses were first designed to fill specific purposes. For instance, the lidded German Beer Stein was created to keep flies out of your beer. The coachman's beer glass was created to allow an easy way to enjoy beer while driving a carriage. Thick glass mugs or krugs were developed to be durable and withstand the abuse endured in a local pub. Practical purposes superseded style for the common beer drinker. Beer glass styles that didn't have a specific utilitarian purpose were reserved for the upper classes and nobility. It wasn't until the mid-1800s that beer glass styles broke free from their functional constraints and started to be used as marketing tools by breweries in an attempt to set themselves apart from the competition. This was the start of many of the modern beer glasses we have today. Marketing efforts by beer companies has created beer glasses that unique and help separate one breweries beer from the others. Highly stylized beer glasses are found along side beer bottles in most beer ads. Getting the beer glasses used in the ads can prove difficult. Some breweries don't resell the beer glasses that they market along-side their beer. Other breweries, like Guinness, have a better understanding of customer demand for glassware and make liberal use of their products in licensing agreements.

Beer glass design can be drived by form. For instance tall and slender wheat beer glasses allow for yeast sediment to settle at the bottom of the glass. A beer snifter is used for higher gravity (higher alcohol content) beers and the wide bowl allows for the hand to gentle warm the beer and the narrow lip allows for aroma retention. Kolsh glasses are typically designed to be small and so that the beer is enjoyed quickly while it is still cold.

A beer glass can be designed with function in mind. Beer steins were first created using stoneware which helps keep the beer colder longer. Lids were added to beer steins and mugs to keep flies of the beer. The coachman's glass was designed to rest in a wooden stand that could be held while driving a horse and carriage. Beer mugs in the beer gardens in Germany are designed for high volume use and durability. These hefty dimpled one liter mugs can weigh over 3 pounds each and can withstand a surprising amount of abuse.

Does each beer style have its own matching beer glass?
Some beer styles are actually best enjoyed in the beer glass specifically designed for their enjoyment. The wheat beer glass instantly springs to mind. This tall beer glass is designed to trap yeast sediment at the bottom of the glass so it is not mixed with the rest of the beer as you are drinking it.

In Germany, each beer style typically does have its own corresponding beer glass. In Belgium, each beer glass BRAND can have its own beer glass style. In the USA, bar may serve all their beers in the same style beer glass. This is starting to change as beer tastes evolve and bars start to recognize the need for serving beer in proper glassware.

Beer Glass Legal Requirements
In some countries where beer drinking is taken rather seriously, legal requirement put forth by governments dictate how large a beer glass must be and how it should be marked. This is the case in the UK with the imperial pint glass. Glassware marks in Europe are coded and collectors even seek out glasses with certain markings.

How are beer glasses made?
Beer glasses are manufactured using one of the following techniques:

Machine Pressed Beer Glasses
Machine pressed glass was invented in the USA in 1825 by John Bakewell to make glass knobs for furniture. The process begins with a mold created with the desired shape of the beer glass and then molten glass is injected or plunged into the mold. The mold is then split open when cooled leaving a finished beer glass. European glassware factories quickly realized that this technique could produce beer glasses that more uniform, durable and cost effective to produce. You can spot a machine pressed beer glass by a rounded lip and the seam left by the mold. Machine pressed beer glasses are the most durable product on the market and perfect for bars, restaurants, beer gardens and any other high volume location.

Machine Blown Beer Glasses
Machine blown glass is produced in a similar manner to machine pressed glass. A mold is created for the beer glass and then molten glass is injected into the mold with high pressure air. Once cooled, the beer glass is removed from the mold and polished. The resulting product can be very durable and offer good uniformity. Small air bubble from the high pressure air injection can be present in the finished product. This is intrinsic to the process and not considered a flaw. A seam is present on a machine blown beer glass and the rim of the glass is typically not rounded like a machine pressed glass.

Mouth Blown Glass
Mouth blown glass is an ancient technique were molten glass is inflated into a desired shape. The process was thought to be invented by the Phoenicians around the year 50 BC. Molten glass is placed on the tip of rod and air is mouth blown through the rod inflating the glass. The mass of glass is then rolled or formed into the final design. Mouth blown glass is the most time consuming and expensive technique for making beer glasses. The finished product can be quite fragile. Mouth blown glass, created with the air of a mold, does not have a seam.

Where are Beer Glasses Made?
Beer glasses are made by a number of companies around the world. In the USA, the two biggest beer glass producers are Libbey and Anchor-Hocking. In Europe, the largest beer glass manufactures are Stoelzle (STO), Rastal, SAHM, LuminARC and La Rochere. Some of these companies have been making the same style glassware for over 100 years. Factories in China also produce many different styles of beer glasses for the North American Market. Sources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beer_glassware
TrueBeer.com