Drinking a brew straight out of the bottle or can is the fastest way to reach beer nirvana. If you care enough about the fizzy beverage to invest in craft varieties, this method isn’t allowing your beer of choice to live up to its full potential. In addition to making for a nice presentation, drinking out of a beer glass also allows the aroma to fully develop. It’s figuring out which specific glass to use where things get tricky.
Bars and restaurants make it easy because they do the selecting for you. It’s hard to know where to begin if you aren’t familiar with all the different styles and what they’re designed to do, though. This is why we’ve compiled a quick crash course in glassware. You’ll never again make the mistake of sipping your IPA from a stange.
1. Pint glass
The American pint glass, also known as the shaker pint, is the go-to for most folks and even many bars. It’s easy to fall into the habit of always using this basic design, but it’s really best suited for IPAs. Draft Magazine explained hoppier brews don’t require the glass to trap any of the aroma. The story said shaker pits are also perfect for cream, blonde, and amber ales.
This category also includes nonics, those glasses that bubble out around the edges before narrowing back to the normal shape of a regular pint. According to GQ, this style is always going to be a good choice because it helps form a great head.
That sipping from a goblet makes you feel like royalty is just one reason to add this glass to your collection. Hops Magazine said certain styles can accommodate up to 2 inches of head, which is great for showing off a complex aroma. These glasses are idea for Belgian strong ales, IPAs, and dubbels.
Winning the category for most fun to say, snifters look like goblets with thinner stems. According to Kegerator.com, these vessels are most commonly used for sipping brandy. The story recommended reaching for a snifter when you’re drinking double IPAs or Belgian ales. Like with the hard stuff, the idea is to encourage swirling to help bring out all of the aromas in the beer. Just don’t get carried away, or you’ll end up spilling everywhere.
4. Weizen glass
Weizen glasses score points for impressive presentation, but the design is about much more than looks. Crate & Barrel explained the narrow portion is designed to trap sediment in the bottom of the glass, which isn’t all that tasty, while the wide head encourages a thick foam. These work best with wheat beers, goses, and white ales.
5. Pilsner glass
Pilsner glasses are designed for, you guessed it, pilsners. They’re sort of like a less showy version of a weizen glass, but you can pretty much use the two interchangeably if you only want to invest in one. According to the Brew Review Crew, the tall, thin shape is supposed to show off particularly clear brews and helps release some of the carbonation. You can also use pilsner glasses with hefeweizen and lager.
Quantity is the name of the game with these massive glasses. For this reason, Men’s Journal recommended opting for the 1-liter portion. It sounds like a lot, but it makes a lot of sense if you typically have more than one drink anyways. Just stick with something on the light side. These are great options for when you have friends over since the sturdy design encourages clinking.
The ornate ones with lids are called steins. While fun, they aren’t the most practical glasses in the world since you have to hold down the thumb press every time you take a sip.
7. Tulip glass
If you’re familiar with the flower shape, the name for this glass makes a lot of sense. Digg said this fancy design encourages a nice head while also trapping the aromas, giving you the most flavorful results. Like all glassware with a stem, you can take your time because you don’t have to worry about your hand warming up the beer too fast. The article said tulip glasses are great for pale ales, lambics, and strong ales.
With straight sides and a flat bottom, stanges aren’t the prettiest glasses in the room. Still, it’s worth keeping a supply for lighter styles. According to Paste Magazine, the shape helps to concentrate flavors. Reach for a stange when you want a Kölsch, rye beer, or bock.
These slender glasses are usually used for sipping a bottle of sparkling wine, but they’re just as effective with particularly bubbly beers. Rood Republic explained the shape shows off the fizz and amplifies taste. Save these glasses for lambics and sour ales.
10. Huge wine glass
No, this isn’t a joke. Some bars have even given traditional beer vessels the cold shoulder in favor of wine glasses. Beer Advocate explained the fancy stemware provides a lot of space that allows the nose to fully develop. They’re great for Belgian ales, black ales, and barley wine. Bonus: This means you can simplify your glass choices the next time you’re entertaining both beer and wine drinkers.