31 March 2020
In order to enjoy a beer to its full potential, it’s important to drink the beer from the right glass. You might be surprised, but this has a huge influence on the smell and taste of your beer. But which glass belongs with which beer?
Craft beer glasses
For a long time, beer-drinkers have been searching for the best shape, size and material to drink beer out of. They tried cups made from wood, sandstone, earthenware, tin - you name it - until finally the art of glassblowing was discovered.
It soon became apparent that the shape of the glass and with which style of beer it’s paired does in fact make a big difference. And that’s why today, there different types of beer glasses which can be distinguished by their shape, and which each go well with a particular style of beer.
Beer glasses by type
Let’s take a look at the different types of beer glass, why they should be used and how they can complement your beer
Tulip beer glass
A tulip is one of the most versatile glasses, used often when drinking a Duvel , a La Chouffe or any Belgian Blond. The shape retains aromas well and offers room for a large head, which is typical of a Duvel. A lot of beer styles can be poured into a tulip, especially Belgian beers. Lager beers, pilsners, wheat beer and weizen are the few exceptions which don’t go so well.
Pros: Ehances the volatile components and maintains large heads.
Recommended use: IPA, German Bock, Belgian Blond.
Flute beer glass
A "flute" is an elongated, straight and narrow glass that holds the foam head longer, protecting the beer against oxygen. In theory oxidation is then countered, but in practice these small glasses (20cl) are empty before oxygen really starts to play a role in the beer. This glass is perfect for a pilsner or a lager, such as Birra Ichnusa or Kompaan Kameraad for something crafty.
Pros: Releases the volatile components of beer to allow for a more intense experience. Slow release of carbonates.
Recommended Use: German helles and pilsner, lambics.
Here in the UK, of course, the most popular beer glass would be the pint. The pint glass is typically used for English and American beer, IPAs, stouts and porters. The shape of the glass makes it easy to hold and ensures it won’t slip through your hand due to condensation on the outside. Drinking English classics from a pint complete the experience: try Fourpure's Last Train Oatmeal Stout or Newcastle Brown Ale.
If you're travelling in Belgium, however, careful not to get confused with their version of a “pint” - which is a pilsner, like a Pax Pils for example. This glass looks totally different. It’s a kind of narrow vase with a ribbed bottom.
Pros: Easy to drink out of and hold.
Recommended Use: Lager, IPA, porter and stout.
AnDer beer glass
Top marks if you've heard of this one! The AnDer glass was developed by beer sommelier André Köppen and beer consultant Derek Walsh, from whom it got its name.
The AnDer is the perfect glass for beer tastings, because aromas remain preserved in the round shape of the glass and its narrow top. The bottom has little ridges, which ensures the beer gets a good head. These are also called mousseer points. Want to get the full effect? Try an Oedipus Gaia IPA from a vaasje first, then try it from an AnDer glass, and experience the difference for yourself.
Pros: An AnDer brings out the aroma of beer, making it an optimal choice for analysing smell, foam and flavour.
Recommended Use: Great for beer tasting!
Typical Belgian beers, such as Tripels, Dubbels, Blonds or Abbey and Trappists are often served in a chalice. Due to the round and open shape of the glass, these fragrant beers’ aromas are released more freely. The optional engraving on the bottom of the glass creates a beautiful and more stable head. Some chalice glasses have extra engravings in the stem, helping you hold the glass there. By holding the glass on the stem, the beer stays at the right temperature for longer. Try a typical Belgian beer like a Westmalle Dubbel, Chimay Wit (this is a tripel) or St. Bernardus Abt in this glass.
Pros: Cleverly designed to support head and reduce warming through your hands. The wide rim makes for easy release of aromas and big sips.
Recommended use: Dubbels, Blonds and Trappists.
This is a glass suitable for German Weizen beers, such as Ayinger Urweisse or Texels Skuumkoppe. It is a fairly narrow, high glass of 50 centiliters. The best - or actually the only - way to pour this beer is by keeping the glass at an angle of about 45 degrees and slowly pouring it until the bottle is almost empty. Leave the final 10-15% of the contents in the bottle. Then pour them out slowly, but be careful, as Weizenbier foams much more than your average Pilsner. After that, shake the bottle around a few times and fill the glass with the remaining beer. By shaking, you’ll release the last bit of yeast in the bottle, and when added you should see a cloud form in the glass. This will slowly spread throughout the long glass, and the perfect Weizen with its natural turbidity is ready to drink!
Pros: Seal in those characteristic banana aromas.
Recommended use: Wheat beers (German Dunkelweizen and Hefeweizen).
TEKU beer glass
This Italian glass looks a bit like a wine glass and is considered the best all-rounder. It was co-developed by Teo Musso, founder and master brewer of the Italian brewery Baladin. The glass is wide at the bottom but gets narrower towards the top. This helps capture the smells of the beer perfectly, which of course are crucial to the taste. When it comes to tasting, only the AnDer glass trumps the TEKU, but because of its larger opening, the TEKU glass offers a slightly more pleasant experience.
As an all-rounder there are only a few beer styles that are not suitable for this glass: pilsners and lagers being the only ones. Fragrant beers do very well, for example Het Uiltje Dr. Raptor. Baladin beers are also worth tasting in a TEKU: we'd recommend trying Nora and Nazionale.
Pros: Looks attractive. Offering a full sensory drinking experience by capturing the beer's aroma.
Recommended use: Fragrant beers; Imperial Stouts, Barley Wines and Double IPAs.
Pull / Oktoberfest / Mass glass/ Stein
These are the biggest, thickest beer glasses in the list. They’re used at the Oktoberfest in Germany, and are made thick in order to keep the beer cool. They are heavy and sturdy, with a handle. They can also come in many shapes and sizes.
Pros: They don’t break if you ‘cheers’ with too much force!
Snifter / Balloon glass
This glass is similar to those you’d use for gin and tonic or cognac, but smaller. They are wide bottomed vessels with relatively narrow tops. Similar to the AnDer glass, the shape holds the aromas nicely. Due to the design they are often used for beers with complex aromas and an ABV of more than 8%. Try Fourpure Imperial Beartooth or Kompaan Bloedbroeder for example and taste the difference.
Pros: Capturing aromas.
Recommened use: They’re perfect for strong beers: Eisbock; barley; Imperial Stout and barrel-matured beers.
Stange beer glass
Finally, these are glasses used for Kölsch - the light beer that comes from Cologne in Germany. Also Alt, amber to brown ales from Düsseldorf taste amazing in a Stange. These are narrow, elongated, straight glasses of 20cl. They hold the foam head long enough and protect the beer from oxygen, just like a Dutch "fluitje". They have the same purpose, too: before the beer oxidizes, your glass is empty and there’ll be a new one already waiting for you. If you can’t make it immediately to a beer garden in Cologne or Düsseldorf, try it yourself with Noordt Herrie (Kölsch) or Superfreunde Old School Ale (Alt).
Pros: Retention and concentration of aromas. The shape is also great for showcasing milder flavours.
Recommended use: Kölsch, German Altbier or drinking in Cologne.
Branded beer glass
As each glass gives you a different taste experience, many brewers produce their own glasses to ensure you drink the beer at its best. A branded beer glass helps to bring the pub home and can add a connection with the brewer.
Belgian beer glass
Tulip works especially well with Belgian beers. If you are drinking a typical Belgian beer like a Tripel, Dubbel or Quadrupel, a chalice works nicely. And, if you plan to do a Belgian tasting then an AnDer glass is perfect!
German beer glass
A weizen is glass is good for German wheat beers although if you are drinking German lagers or an Oktoberfest beer then a stein is best! And finally, if you want the best glass for a Kolsch, it’s the stange glass.