Beginners Guide to Types of Beer Glasses
Just like wine glasses, beer glasses come in a variety of shapes and sizes to complement your chosen beer, lager or ale. Beer, lager and ale can be served in virtually any glass but choosing the best beer glass for your beer variety can instantly enhance the flavour, aroma and colour of your beer. Whether you're a home drinker or a pub landlord, you'll want to get the most benefits out of your chosen glassware, so you'll need to know the difference between your standard tulip beer glass and your German pilsner beer glass.
Beer glasses are not only defined by their style and shape but also their various features. While delicate glasses may offer finer rims for tasting, toughened beer glasses are often popular with public houses due to their longer lifespan and glass safety.
Nucleated Beer Glasses
A popular feature of modern beer glasses is a nucleated base, such as Arcoroc's Head-On-It glasses and Head First glasses. A nucleated glass features very small pits which allow the gas to be more readily released, which helps preserve the head of the beer. The two common types of nucleation are a laser etched nucleated base which offers optimum nucleation or a printed nucleated base which stands out more making it ideal for customisation and branding.
CE Mark Glasses
A required stamp for draught beer service, the CE mark replaced the crown government stamp on pint glasses and half pint glasses to confirm the glass adheres to UK licencing laws. 1/3 pint and 2/3 pint volumes have more recently been introduced to pub glassware to allow for a greater flexibility in drinks service. A CE mark can also accompany a line on the glass.
Imperial Pint Glasses
Commonly used for serving Guinness and other dry stouts, the Tulip beer glass has now become a classic pub glass. Chosen for their looks rather than their tasting benefits, Tulip glasses are often made from toughened glass which makes them a practical choice for serving pints.
Nonic Beer Glasses
A classic beer glass, the Nonic is commonly used in pubs and bars in the UK due to its stackable design and durable finish. The bulge in the glass allows it to be easily stacked without sticking, and gives the glass its name which derives from the term "no nick" because the bulge helps reduce the surface area that touches other glassware it is stored with. The bulge also has a handy side effect, allowing for extra grip on a condensation covered glass.
American Beer Glasses
Another popular pub glass, the American beer glass, also known as shaker pint glasses are conical in shape. Used for serving a US pint, which is 16oz or 14oz, the American pint glass is commonly used in pubs around the world as a standard drinking glass and is available in various sizes, including 20oz pints and 10oz half pints for serving draught beer in the UK.
The traditional handled tankard is still popular today and comes in many different forms. The classic British dimpled mug is a firm favourite among beer clinkers due to their sturdy design. Beer mugs are made from a variety of materials, including glass tankards, pewter tankards and ceramic tankards. Popular at beer festivals such as Oktoberfest, the German beer stein or seidel often holds a larger volume of beer and may feature a lid which was traditionally used to keep bugs out.
Originally a ceramic beer mug, the beer stein is defined as being a beer mug with a lid, designed to keep flies and bugs out of your drink, making them ideal for outdoor drinking, and especially for use at beer festivals. The term beer stein however the term stein is generally applied to most handled beer glasses, particularly the masskrug, famed for serving beer at Oktoberfest and other beer festivals in Europe.
A mass is a German measurement equal to 1 litre, so a masskrug is literally translated as a 1 litre beer mug. Commonly seen at the Oktoberfest beer festival, the masskrug is a tall conical beer mug with a dimpled body.
Similar to beer steins, tankards are traditionally made from pewter, or even silver, however the beer tankard is now often made from glass and comes in a variety of shapes and styles. Essentially a drinking vessel with a handle, the tankard is perhaps best known for being a pewter vessel with a glass base.
The beer snifter is a large bulbous stemmed glass that is shaped to concentrate the aromas of your beer or ale and direct them towards the nose. Very similar to brandy snifters, a beer snifter glass can likewise be used to swirl your drink to help release the hidden aromas, in fact a large brandy snifter is an ideal substitute to a beer snifter.
Tulip Beer Glasses
Also generically known as Belgian beer glasses, a tulip beer glass is a stemmed glass with a round bowl and a flared rim. The narrow neck helps to capture and concentrate the aromas of the ale or beer your are serving, and the fluted rim helps with head retention, making this glass ideal for full beer appreciation. Glasses such as poco grande glasses, pina colada glasses and hurricane glasses are perfect substitutes to tulip beer glasses as they have the same body shape.
Pokal Beer Glasses
The term pokal glass is often used to describe a variety of stemmed beer glasses, however true pokal beer glass is by a tall bowl situated on a short stem. A European pokal glass has a very defined base, either bulbous or sometimes flat, while an American pokal glass has a more subtle tapered base that leads in to the stem or foot.
Beer Goblets and Beer Chalices
A beer goblet, or a beer chalice, is perfect for serving German bocks and heavier dopplebocks, the beer goblet is characterised by a strong, thick glass construction with a large capacity and a wide mouth. The word goblet is used as a generic term for a stemmed beer glass, however the best examples of the beer goblet shape can be seen serving Belgian beers such as Chimay and Orval.
Schooner Beer Glass
Similar to a beer goblet, but usually holding a larger volume of drink, a stemmed schooner glass is usually found in the US for serving beers in a European style glass, but with a durable finish that is suited to use in restaurants.
Thistle Beer Glass
Ideal for serving Scotch ale, these exaggerated stemmed tulip beer glasses are designed for a large head and the bulbous bowl helps to capture and promote the aromas of the ale. As well as the practical application of the shape, the thistle glass also represents the national flower of Scotland.
Wheat Beer Glasses
Designed specially for German wheat beers, and also known as a weissbier glass, or a weizenbier glass, the wheat beer glass shape is like an elongated version of the classic tulip pint glass. The bulbous top of the glass is ideal for containing a large head on the beer and for trapping the aromas, while the base is slightly flared to help catch any yeast at the bottom of the glass for a better drinking experience. The design of a wheat beer glass can vary slightly and can almost be interchangeable with some pilsner glasses, particularly hourglass pilsner glasses.
Pilsner Beer Glasses
Many brands of German wheat beers and Belgium beers choose the Pilsner glass, partly due to the elegant shape but mainly because they emphasize the characteristics of the beer. A Pilsner beer glass often holds smaller volumes than a standard pint glass making them suited to serving bottled beer.
The Pilsner beer glass has a tall, slender shape to emphasise the colour and carbonation of the beer, with a broad top to help maintain the beer's head. A similar style to the Pilsner glass is the Weizen beer glass, specially designed to complement wheat beer.
Willi Becher Glasses
In the same way that the tulip or the nonic pint glasses are synonymous with British beer service, the willi becher glass is a common German beer glass. A general all-rounder, the willibecher has a conical shape, which then narrows towards the rim to help trap and concentrate the aromas of your beer.
Stange Beer Glasses
Very similar to a standard highball beer glass, the stange glass is famed for serving Kolsch in Germany. Characterised as being tall and thin, a stange glass traditionally hoods around 200ml of beer, however the glass is so similar to a tom collins glass or a mojito glass that any tall highball glass will have the same visual effect. The word stange literally translates as a stick, and it is common to serve a "stick of beer", or maybe a "rod of beer".
Highball Beer Glasses
No different than any normal highball glass used to serve cocktails or soft drinks, when CE marked highball glasses are often used to serve beer in pubs. A perfect all-rounder for draught beer service, highball glasses are easier to produce, making them cheaper to replace and easier to fit in glass washers and glass storage crates.
Yard of Ale
The classic Yard of Ale Glass (1.42 litres) is used as a measure of a man's drinking prowess, with competitions held to see who can drink the yard of ale the fastest. The current Guinness World Record for the fastest drinking of a yard of ale is 5 seconds. A yard of ale glass is usually accompanied by a stand or rack as it has no flat base for easy storage, and can sometimes be found displayed on a wall in a pub or bar.
A popular party glass, the German Beer Boot or Bierstiefel in Germany, has been popularised in recent years by the movie Beerfest where it is called "Das Boot", but it is thought to have its origins in the military. A tip for drinking from a beer boot is to keep the toe pointed down - when pointed up, air will enter the toe and the contents will rush out, more often than not soaking the drinker.
More of a novelty and decorative example of glassware, the modern "trinkhorn" is inspired by the use of hollowed and gilded cattle horns used by vikings and other civilisations before the production of ceramic and glass vessels.
Oversize Wine Glasses for Beer
Of course, with the variety of beer glasses on the market it is not surprising that beers, lagers and ales could be served in all manner of drinking vessels. For good beers that need to be appreciated, a nice wine glass makes a perfect drinking vessel; red wine glasses will usually have a rounded bowl and narrow rim, similar to a beer snifter, while white wine glasses have a wide rimmed bowl, like a beer goblet. Choosing a larger wine glass helps accommodate bottled beer, which usually come in 33cl sizes, and allows you to swirl your beer to release the aromas.
Flute Beer Glasses
Famed by the high ABV Belgian bière de champagne, DeuS, a flute champagne style glass can also be used to serve beer. With similar properties to a narrow stemmed beer glass, the flute shape promotes carbonation for better head retention. Suitable for serving a sparkling beer, standard champagne flutes can be applied to fruit beers as the narrow bowl directs the aromas up to the nose.
Beer Sampler Glasses
Sometimes known as a pony beer glass, beer tasting glasses can be any small drinking glass that provides a sample serving of beer. Particularly useful for brewing competitions and beer tasting sessions, a beer sample cup can be almost any shape and style, however because of its effective throw-away use a simple conical glass is common. For a more refined presentation when beer tasting, a group of glasses can be served with a beer flight, which is a specially designed tray for presenting around 3 small glasses.
Specialist Beer Glasses
Not restricted by a certain shape, a specialist beer glass will normally have been produced for a particular brand of beer to accentuate the properties of the drink, or might only be used in a particular part of the world. A famous specialist beer glass is the coachman's glass, which was created by Pauwel Kwak to be easily carried by coach drivers in the 19th century, and is now used to serve Kwak beer in Belgium.
Novelty Beer Glasses
The scope for novelty beer glasses is almost endless, with no restrictions on shapes, sizes and styles. Popular novelty beer glasses include sexy beer glasses and skull beer glasses, which make great gifts for beer lovers. Traditional beer glasses such as the nonic have also been oversized to unusually large sizes such as 5 pints to create an effectively unusable beer glass, but fun gift. Novelty glasses can come in many themes, with tiki or Hawaiian themed glassware or ceramics becoming more popular for use at parties.
A favourite pastime for many, enjoying a good pint of beer is helped all the more by the type of glass you use. We offer a wide selection of cheap beer glasses, from classic pint glasses and stemmed beer glasses to branded beer glasses and novelty beer glasses. Ideal for giving as a gift, our selection of beer glasses can be delivered direct to your door, with our optional next day UK delivery service.
For those that love beer, the right glass is essential, which is why we have a great selection of beer tankards, beer mugs, novelty beer glasses, cool beer glasses, stemmed beer glasses, pint glasses and half pint glasses. Because everyone has different tastes, we offer a choice of branded beer glasses, including cider glasses, ale glasses, lager glasses and wheat beer glasses.
If you're hosting a large event or own a bar, we offer a range of toughened and tempered beer glasses suitable for commercial establishments, such as pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants. Our range of professional quality glassware includes CE marked beer glasses and LCE beer glasses. We also offer reusable plastic beer tumblers and disposable plastic beer tumblers for large events and outdoor use.