Beer Glass

Buying Guide

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You wouldn't serve soup on a plate, you don't serve sandwiches in a teacup, and you wouldn't dream of serving a Russian Imperial Stout in a pilsner glass. All right, maybe that last one didn't make quite as much sense as the first two. That's okay; this guide will boost your beer I.Q. and help you figure out the types of beer glasses you need to stay at the HEAD of the pack!

Beer Glasses

Helpful Reminders

  • Remember to keep drinkability in mind, i.e. a beer glass that is designed for sipping strong, malty beers versus a glass designed for healthy gulps of light, refreshing beer.
  • Residual oils, grease, or detergents can subdue the carbonation of a beer, even in small amounts. Check out our cleaning guide to find some tips on how to avoid this by using the proper cleaning tools and chemicals.
  • Brewers are usually proud of the products they produce; don't be afraid to find out information about ingredients, production methods, and serving recommendations for the beers you serve. A little digging will probably leave you with a much better idea about what glassware is optimal for your beers.
  • There are countless varieties of beer and plenty of conflict and overlap with how beers are categorized. Get a sense of what beer glass styles go with what beers, then just have fun creating the visual presentation you think looks best!

Why The Head?

The formation of a head of a beer is caused by carbon dioxide bubbles surfacing on the top of the liquid portion of a beer. This CO2 is present either naturally from the fermentation process in the beer's production, or from manual addition to the beer. The head's greatest function is to create a striking visual presentation of a newly poured beer, which establishes a sense of freshness and signifies the kind of beer being served. In addition, the head also traps aromas and flavors that are essential to getting the most out of your beer. Ingredients like malt, barley, hops, wheat, and other grains largely determine the form of the beer head. The type of glassware a beer is served in also plays a large role.

Comparison

Beer Growlers
Libbey 70217 64 oz. Customizable Amber Growler - 6 / Case
Beer growlers, ceramic jugs used to transport beer, have become a very popular method of beer sampling. When a beer is on tap, a growler permits the customer to take home a substantial quantity of the brew. Typically made of glass with either a screw-on cap or hinged porcelain gasket cap, beer growlers can keep beers perfectly fresh for more than a week! Growlers effectively transport any type of beer, and are a great investment if customers are looking to take home your brew. Though any type of beer can be put in a growler, they are most often used to transport craft or specialty beers, including ales and lagers.
  • English Brown Ale
  • English Dark Mild Ale
  • American/English India Pale Ale (IPA)
  • English Pale Ale
  • English Pale Mild Ale
  • English Strong Ale
  • Euro Dark Lager
  • Irish Red Ale
  • Euro Dark Lager
  • Summer Love Ale
  • Staison/ Farmhouse Ale
  • American Double/Imperial Pilsner
  • Pumpkin Ale American Adjunct Lager
Belgian/Tulip/Goblet
Libbey 3807 13 oz. Belgian Beer Glass 12 / Case
These types of beers boast complex tastes and aromas are often darker and heavier than other varieties. They also tend to have a thick, heavy head, and are often consumed at a slightly slower rate than lighter beers. To protect the rich flavors and aromas, a bulbous, sometimes tulip-shaped glass is ideal. A higher sip to gulp ratio in Belgian beers often requires smaller glass shapes, which lend themselves to more intricate designs than other beer glass styles.
  • Belgian IPA
  • Belgian Strong Dark Ale
  • Berliner Weissbier Dubbel
  • Quadrupel (Quad)
  • Tripel
  • Russian Imperial Stout
  • Barley Wine
  • Abbey Dubbel
  • Abbey Trippel
  • Strong Golden Ale
  • Hyper-Beers
Mugs/Steins
Libbey 52733 12 oz. Sport Mug with Panels - 12 / Case
Mugs and steins stand out from other types of beer glasses because of the mood they give the beer drinker; their historical use as beer glasses makes them popular souvenirs. The beers that fill these glasses include traditional, medium alcohol-level ales and lagers that are not as filling as heavy stouts or Belgian beers. Although plenty of beers in this category have strong, hoppy attributes, they still have more straightforward, bold tastes rather than complex, multi-faceted smells and flavors. Since there doesn't have to be a focus on retaining understated smells and flavors, glass-shapes can be more simple, open, and cylindrical. These beers are typically served in glasses that are durable, have a large capacity, have handles, and have large openings for sizable gulps; they can be served in large quantities without sacrificing taste-quality.
  • Oktoberfest
  • American/English Brown Ale
  • English India Pale Ale (IPA)
  • English Pale Ale
  • American/English Porter
  • American/English Stout
  • Euro Dark Lager
  • Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)
  • Herbed/Spiced Beer
  • Irish Dry Stout
  • Irish Red Ale
  • Milk/Sweet Stout
  • Oatmeal Stout
  • American Amber Ale/Lager
  • American Barleywine
  • American Black Ale
  • American Blonde Ale
  • American Dark Wheat Ale
  • American Double / Imperial Stout
  • American Pale Wheat Ale
  • Black & Tan
  • California Common / Steam Beer
  • Pumpkin Ale
  • Cream Ale
  • Berliner Weissbier
Pilsner
Anchor Hocking 90245 12 oz. Flared Pilsner Glass - 12 / Case
Beers in this category include low to medium alcohol-level pilsners, ales, and lagers that are light, low on hop flavor, and refreshing. Heads on these beers are deep, but also airy and foamy. Carbonation and sparkling colors should be shown off with long slender glasses that highlight the bubbles rising from the bottom to the top. This beer is best served in a glass that tapers gradually as it reaches the top, lending itself to smooth, easy drinkability.
  • American Adjunct Lager
  • American Amber/Red Lager
  • American Double/Imperial Pilsner
  • American Pale Lager
  • Bock
  • California Common/Steam Beer
  • Czech Pilsener
  • Doppelbock
  • Dortmunder/Export Lager
  • Euro Dark Lager
  • Euro Pale Lager
  • Euro Strong Lager
  • German Pilsener
  • Happoshu Japanese Rice Lager
  • Light Lager
  • Low Alcohol Beer
  • Vienna Lager
  • Witbier
Pint/Mixing/Pub
Anchor Hocking 90279 16 oz. Cyclonic Mixing Glass - 24 / Case
Beers in this category include traditional, medium alcohol-level ales and lagers that are not as filling as heavy stouts or Belgian beers. The glasses that these beers go in are the most common beer glasses on the market, serving as an old standby when a versatile glass is needed. The heads on these beers should be small to medium, so the glass-shape need not promote the carbonation. Although plenty of beers in this category have strong, hoppy attributes, they still have more straightforward, bold tastes rather than complex, multi-faceted smells and flavors. Since there doesn't have to be a focus on retaining understated smells and flavors, glass-shapes can be more simple, open, and cylindrical. These beers should be served in glasses that are durable, have a large capacity, and have large openings for sizable gulps; they can be served in large quantities without sacrificing taste-quality. These glasses are also ideal for mixing drinks.
  • English Brown Ale
  • English Dark Mild Ale
  • American/English India Pale Ale (IPA)
  • English Pale Ale
  • English Pale Mild Ale
  • English Strong Ale
  • Euro Dark Lager
  • Irish Red Ale
  • Low Alcohol Beer
  • Lighter-end Stout
  • Lighter-end Porter
  • Old Ale
  • Pumpkin Ale American Adjunct Lager
  • American Amber/Red Ale
  • American Black Ale
  • American Blonde Ale
  • American Brown Ale
  • American Dark Wheat Ale
  • American Pale Ale (APA)
  • American Pale Wheat Ale
  • American Strong Ale
  • Black & Tan
  • California Common/Steam Beer
  • Cream Ale
Specialty
Libbey 1629 / 69292 Fizzazz 20 oz. Giant Beer Glass - 12 / Case
The sky is pretty much the limit with specialty glasses. Yard glasses, boots, and other giant glassware are, as you might expect, typically used for serving large quantities of beer (often at special events and parties). Generally, you want to stick with beers that are suitable for consumption in large volumes and that won't have excessively thick heads or overly malty/hoppy flavors. Many of the beers you might serve in mugs, steins, and pint glasses (such as ales, lagers, and pilsners) are your best bets here.

Sample glasses can also be nice option for those serving fine beers, several reasons include:

  • Helps avoid excessive alcohol consumption while still allowing drinkers to try out several beers.
  • Breweries and specialty bars often offer a sampler option with all of the beers they are currently producing, increasing public knowledge of the products they offer.
  • Samples help avoid drinkers paying for a full beer that they are dissatisfied with.
  • Serving style is not quite as important as there is less liquid and carbonation to deal with. In addition, samples probably won't last long enough to worry too much about glass style. Still, there are stylish sampler glasses available as visual presentation is always important.
Stemware
Anchor Hocking Stolzle 200-00-19 Classic 15.25 oz. Beer Glass - 6 / Box
These beers are in the mid to high levels when it comes to color and alcohol content. Flavors of these beers have some depth and fragrance to them, but not intense hoppiness. These beers should have a medium-sized head that still needs a relatively large opening on the top of the glass to accommodate it. Glass shapes that are more slender and tall than standard goblet or snifters work best.
  • Brown Ale
  • American Amber Lager
  • American Lager
  • Fruit Beer
  • Porter
  • Saison
  • Lambic