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?
Which beer glass to use?
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. Let’s take a look at some of the most commonly used beer glasses:
A tulip glass is one of the most versatile glasses, used often when drinking a Duvel or a La Chouffe. 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.
A "fluitje" glass is a typical Dutch glass. It’s 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 De Leckere Pilsener or Birra Ichnusa.
When you order a pilsner at a bar in the Netherlands, you are more likely to get a “vaasje”. This is a tapered glass that is easier to hold than a fluitje.
It's also a little bit larger, and looks almost like a cocktail shaker.
Similarly, the most popular beer glass in the UK would be the pint. This glass is typically used for English and American beer, IPAs, Stouts and Porters. The shape of the glass makes it easier 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 Samuel Smith's Oatmeal Stout or Fuller's London Pride. In Belgium this is not to be 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 vaasje with a ribbed bottom.
Beer lovers have probably heard of it, or might even have one at home. The glass was developed by beer sommelier André Köppen and beer consultant Derek Walsh, who gave it its name.
This is the perfect glass for beer tastings. The 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 an AnDer glass, and experience the difference for yourself.
Typical Belgian beers, such as tripels, dubbels, blondes 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.
This is a glass suitable for German Weizen beers, such as Ayinger Urweisse or Hoppebrau Weissbier. 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!
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 narrows as towards the top. This help capture the smells of the beer perfectly, which of course are crucial to the taste. When it comes to tasting, only the AnDer glass actually beats 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. Beer from Baladin is of course also worth tasting in a TEKU, so try Leon and Nazionale, for example.
Pull / Oktoberfest / Mass glass
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. An added advantage is that the glasses don’t break if you ‘cheers’ with too much force! The beers that taste best from this glass are German Lagers, Belgian white beers, and any Oktoberfest beers or Märzen, such as Paulaner Oktoberfest or Camba Märzen.
Snifter / Balloon glass
This glass is similar to those you’d use for gin and tonic, but smaller. They’re perfect for strong beers: Eisbock; barley; Imperial Stout and barrel-matured beers. Similar to the AnDer glass, the shape holds the aromas nicely. Try De Molen Bommen & Granaten or Kompaan Bloedbroeder for example and taste the difference.
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).
Taste the difference yourself!