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row of beer glasses

Craft Beer Glassware & Guides

Beer experts know that the proper glass really improves a beer’s taste, aroma and aesthetics. Your customers are becoming more experienced craft beer drinkers and expect their favorite restaurants and bars to share their knowledge and enthusiasm.

From an owners perspective, servicing craft and premium beers in the proper glass is one of the most effective ways to increase check averages and servings.  In addition, utilizing the right glass also enhances your customer’s experience and expectations, as well as allows for a better diversification of the beer styles that you offer.

We all know that serving beer in the right glass just makes it taste better. The scientific reason for this is that over 50% of your taste preferences and ability come from your sense of smell.  Unfortunately, when beer is served in a bottle, the narrow neck of the beer bottle doesn’t allow for enough exposed surface area to release large amounts of aroma. Scent molecules are best released and inhaled when the proper beer glass is used allowing a significant head to form.

When serving craft beer what types of beer glasses should you use? We’ve compiled a quick guide of recommended glassware that will cover most craft beers.

Flute Glass
Long and narrow body to ensure that the carbonation does not dissipate too quickly. Stems will often be a little shorter than the traditional champagne glass, but not necessarily.
Benefits: Showcases and enhances the carbonation. Releases volatiles quickly for more intense aroma.

Goblet (or Chalice)
These glasses range from delicate and long stemmed to a heavy and thick walled.
Benefits: Wide-mouthed for deep sips.

Mug (or Seidel, Stein)
Heavy, sturdy, large and with a handle and can come in many different shapes and sizes.
Benefits: Easy to drink out of. Holds plenty of volume.

Pilsner Glass (or Pokal)
Perfect for serving classic pilsners and other pale lagers.  Pilsners showcase a beer’s color, clarity and carbonation. Typically pilsners are tall, slender and shaped like a trumpet. This glass is used because it captures the sparkling effervesces, aroma and colors of a Pils while maintaining the beer’s head.
Benefits: Showcases color, clarity and carbonation.

Pint Glass (or Becker, Nonic, Tumbler or Pub)
These are the most common and traditional beer glasses in the market.  I’m sure you’ve seen them everywhere. There are two standard sizes – 16 ounce and the 20 ounce. The 20 ounce is preferred to accommodate more beer or beers with large crowning heads.  Pint glasses offer the perfect presentation for classic ales, such as IPA, pale ale, brown ale or stout.
Benefit: Cheap to make. Easy to store. Easy to drink out of.

Snifter
Used for brandy and cognac, these wide bowled and stemmed glasses with their tapered mouths are perfect for capturing the aromas of strong ales.  This shape of glass also allows for a subtle warming of the beer via heat transfer from the hand, enhancing the aromas and tastes.
Benefits: Captures and enhances volatiles.

Stange (Slender Cylinder)
Slender and cylinder-like, are used to serve more delicate beers, amplifying malt and hops.
Benefits: Tighter concentration of volatiles.

Tulip Beer Glass
Stemmed glass, tulip-shaped. The top of the glass pushes out a bit to form a lip in order to capture the head and the body of the beer.  Ideal for presenting lambic and saison, as well as fruit beers. These types of beers typically 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 tulip-shaped glass is best.
Benefits: Captures and enhances volatiles and aromas, while it supports large foamy heads.

Weizen Glass
These glasses thin walls and length, it showcases the beer’s color and allows much headspace.
Benefits: Specifically produced to take on volume and head, while locking in the banana-like and phenol aromas associated with the style.

Oversized Wine Glass
Yes, a wine glass for beer! An oversized wine glass is suitable for serving most Belgian Ales. The size allows for headspace.  These glasses can elevate your typical beer presentation.
Benefit: Replacement for a Tulip or Goblet.

Note:

  • Never pour cold beer into hot glasses directly, from the dishwasher.
  • Never place beer glasses in the freezer! Cool your beer, not your glass.
  • Hand wash all beer glassware. Dishwashers can leave a residue which may affect the flavor and the aroma of the beer.
  • Also, let the glasses air dry on a bar mat. This will allow for better drainage and air flow, as well as preventing towel particles from being left behind.

Check out Libbey’s Glass Master – A Bartender’s Guide for more information.