Beer Glassware Illustrated

This post accompanies Episode 24 of the Pat’s Pints/Mark’s Mugs – All Things Beer Podcast. Despite our best efforts to describe the appearance of these glasses, a picture is worth a thousand words. As such the content here is limited to a series of pictures with brief descriptions of each glass. For more details we encourage you to download the podcast and give it a listen.

Pint Glasses

Shaker Pint – The ubiquitous thick-walled shaker pint was originally designed to be used in combination with a slightly larger metal cup as a cocktail shaker, hence the name.  Beginning in the 1980s bars began using these utilitarian glasses to serve craft beer and we’re still stuck with this legacy.

Tulip Pint – Typically sized to hold a 20 oz imperial pint, the tulip pint flanges outward rising from the base, then curves back inward ever so slightly. Because of the strong connection with Guinness, this glass is sometimes referred to as the Irish Pint glass.

Nonic Pint – Another glass that originated in the British Isles, the nonic pint has an outward bulge about three-quarters of the way from base to rim that is meant to prevent chipping when glasses are stacked, hence the name “no nick.” The bulge also provides a handy grip when held in your hand.

Pint glasses from from left-to-right: nonic pint, shaker pint, and tulip pint.

Belgian Glasses

Stemmed Tulip Glass – This tulip shaped glass initially tapers inward to hold in volatiles, then modestly outward at the top to support the head. The combination is well suited for effervescent, aromatic Belgian ales.

Chalice – The chalice, a favored vessel for use in Christian religious ceremonies, has been adopted as the glass of choice by most Trappist breweries. The wide opening is ideal for beers that pour with voluminous head, due to the high levels of carbonation.  The Orval glass pictured below was designed by Henri Vaes, the architect that designed the 20th century Romanesque/Art Deco monastery at Orval.

French Jelly Glass – Used in France and Belgium for jelly, one might think of these as the European equivalent of the mason jar. French Jelly Glasses were historically used by farmers and are associated with rustic Belgian styles, including witbier.

Snifter – This 20th century glass originally became popular as a vessel for brandy. The substantial inward taper of the glass makes for a fishbowl-like shape that is designed to hold in aromatics. The smaller size of the snifter makes it a good choice for strong beers like barley wines and imperial stouts.

Lambic Flute – Much like a champagne glass, the tall, narrow shape of this flute glass ensures that the carbonation doesn’t dissipate too quickly, concentrates the inviting aromas, and shows off the appearance of the beer.

Belgian/French glasses from left to right: Orval chalice, stemmed tulip, French jelly glass, lambic flute, Chimay chalice, and snifter.

German/European Glasses

Willi Becher – This is the pint glass you are most likely to encounter in continental Europe. Its tall slender body shows off a beer’s clarity, color and head. Its tapered top helps with head retention and in principle to hold in aromatic molecules.

Pilsner Glass – This elegant glass is purposefully tall and narrow to accentuate the pale color of a good pilsner. The often-times conical shape allows for enough volume at the top to contain the fluffy white head that is a defining feature of the style.

Stange – Stange is the German word for rod, and the glass that bears this name is small and cylindrical. It is used predominantly for serving kölsch in Köln and alt bier in Dusseldorf. In those Rhineland cities the volume is a mere 6 oz (200 mL), so the stange empties quickly, but that’s OK because your waiter will keep bringing fresh rounds until you place your coater over the glass.

Weissbier Vase – This large, curvaceous glass is designed for the frothy German weissbier.  The inward taper at the top is designed to hold in the characteristic banana and clove aromas and to support the voluminous head that is a characteristic feature of a good Bavarian hefeweizen.

German glasses from left-to-right: Willi Becher, pilsner glass, stange, and weissbier vase.

Mugs

Dimpled Mug – Mugs come with a handle, so you can minimize the contact between your warm hand and the cold beer while you drink. This thick-walled, handled mug features faceted, lens-shaped cuts to encourage a mesmerizing play of light in order to present beers in their “best light”.  Popular in the Czech Republic, but also used elsewhere, including for milds and bitters in the UK.

Stein – The origins of this handled mug, often 500 mL in volume, go back to the time when drinking vessels were made of stoneware. Occasionally this type of mug comes with a hinged pewter lid.

Maßkrug – A Maßkrug is the one-litre glass in which beer is served in Bavarian beer gardens, beer halls and during the Oktoberfest. A Maßkrug of beer is simply referred to as a Maß. (Note the ß in German has the sound of the letter s, so it’s pronounced “mass.”)

Beer mugs from left-to-right: a Paulaner maßkrug, a stoneware stein, a stein with a pewter lid, a dimpled mug from Spaten, and a mug from Pilsner Urquell.

Modern Craft Beer Glasses

Spiegelau IPA Glass – Designed in collaboration with Ken Grossman of Sierra Nevada and Sam Caglione of Dogfish Head, this glass was first introduced in 2013. The inward taper of the top is designed to showcase the aromatic profiles of American “hop-forward” IPAs and preserve a frothy head. The ribbed bottom not only provides a base to support the glass it is designed to encourage a steady stream of carbonation to cointinually push aromatics from the beer to your olfactory senses.

Spiegelau Stout Glass – In 2014 Spiegelau followed up the IPA glass with the stout glass, designed in consultation with Left Hand and Rogue. Similar in shape to the IPA glass, but without the ribbing of the base and with a top that is wider and shorter, shifting ever so slightly away from the tulip and toward the snifter.

Spiegelau Wheat Beer Glass – For the next glass in the modern craft beer series, Spiegelau paired up with Bell’s Brewing to come up with a glass meant to enhance the drinking experience of American Wheat Beers, like Oberon, and fruity Belgian Witbiers. The base is shorter and the top even more bowl shaped than its predecessors.

Spiegelau Craft Pils Glass – Introduced in 2017 this modern take is a more curvaceous iteration of the tall narrow shape of a classic pilsner glass. As with all the Spiegelau glasses there is a pronounced inward taper toward the top to hold in the aromatics.

Spiegelau Barrel Aged Beer Glass – Unlike the other glasses in Spiegelau craft beer line, this tulip-shaped glass has a stem. Like the other Spiegelau glasses it features thin walls, a laser cut rim and an opening wide enough that your nose goes into the bowl of the glass with each sip for maximal delivery of aromatic molecules to your olfactory system.

If those five glasses aren’t enough for you Spiegelau also has a line they call beer classics that includes hefeweizen, lager, tulip and pilsner glasses. Although the craftmanship is no doubt high (as is the price), in my opinion the latter two are somewhat duplicative of glasses in their craft beer line.

Spiegelau glasses from left-to-right: wheat beer glass, stout glass, IPA glass, barrel-aged glass, beer tulip glass, and craft pils glass.

Miscellaneous Glasses

The Sam Adams Glass – Designed by TIAX in collaboration with Jim Koch of Boston Brewing Company to showcase the key attributes of Boston Lager. It’s a more curvaceous version of a tulip pint, with an additional outward flange at the very top to support a rich and creamy head and a narrow bottom to encourage a steady release of carbon dioxide bubbles. This glass is standard issue at most Applebees.

Teku – An elegant, modern take on the classic wine glass. Much like the tulip glass, the stem allows you to hold the beer without warming it with your hands, while the inward conical taper of the glass traps in aromas. This glass is a favorite among sour beer afficionados.

Boot – More decorative than practical, the name of the glass says it all.

Schooner – Rounded with a short stem, the schooner glass is typically larger than a pint, with volumes that go up to 32 oz (except in Australia where the term refers to the volume of the glass, 15 oz or three-quarters of an imperial pint). In England this glass was originally used for drinking sherry and thus is named after the ships that brought sherry from Spain. (Not pictured because Justin broke his on the way home from Chumley’s.)

Yard Glass – This rather impractical glass is tall (roughly 1 yard), starting with a spherical bulb at the bottom and gradually tapering outward. Its only purpose is to deliver a large quantity of beer in a short amount of time. Think of it as the original beer bong (not pictured).

Miscellaneous glasses from left-to-right: Sam Adams glass, Teku glass, and the boot.

4 thoughts on “Beer Glassware Illustrated

Add yours

  1. First look at your site. Excellent.I like what I see and lick forward to spending more time Reading. My question/suggestion is can you tell us where we can we purchase some or any. I like to serve beer to guests in interesting glassware.I like to pick up a glass when I visit breweries or beer bars.
    I am a 73 year old ifetime enthusiastic beer drinker with a passion for travel. I expect to be traveling again sooner than later so I will be continuing my ongoing search for a good place to get a beer.
    Again, nice job.
    Dan

    1. I’m glad to hear that you liked what you’ve read so far? Thanks for leaving a comment.

      As far as finding glassware in your area, probably your best bet is to search online. I know the Speigelau glasses I have were purchased that way. I see that Crate and Barrel also sells craft beer glassware. I’ve also found that local craft breweries occasionally offer specialized glassware branded with their name or logo. The latter route can be hit or miss though.

    1. Do you mean the pilsner glass in the third photo from the top? I believe that is correct, although in the initial version of this postmy description was for a footed pilsner glass, which is not what’s shown in the photo. It turns out there are several variations on the pilsner glass, which I suppose is not too surprising for what might be the world’s most popular style of beer. The text and photo are now consistent with each other. If there’s something else I’m overlooking please let me know.

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