Draft Beer

Beer Glassware Guide: Beer Glass Types and Uses

beer glassware

When it comes to beer, not all glassware is created equal. Sure, you could pour your favorite ale into whatever container you have lying around and successfully deliver beer to your mouth. But there is a reason why particular beer styles are traditionally served in specific types of beer glasses. It isn't just for looks (although looks certainly play a role.) Rather, the different shapes and styles of beer glassware on the market were, in many cases, designed to make more pronounced or otherwise enhance the aromatic compounds inherent to different kinds of beer. And as we all know, smell greatly impacts how we perceive flavor. Ergo, the right beer glass can take your beer-drinking experience to new heights.

Below are some common types of beer glasses, along with information on which beer styles they best complement.

american pint glass

American Pint Glasses

The simple, utilitarian 16-ounce American pint glass is slightly wider at the mouth than at the base. You’ll find it in large numbers in bars and restaurants across the United States, where it is used to serve a wide range of beer styles. Its ubiquity is that it is relatively inexpensive to manufacture and easy to clean and store.

Appropriate Beer Styles
The American pint glass’s basic design neither enhances nor seriously detracts from any particular beer style. Consider it your run-of-the-mill, all-purpose glass.

imperial pint glass

Imperial Pint Glasses

Like its close relative the American pint glass, the imperial pint glass is all-purpose. Unlike its U.S. counterpart, however, the imperial pint holds a full 20 ounces. It also differs in that it features a small lip at the mouth.

Appropriate Beer Styles
Consider it your basic, go-to glass for British ales and lagers like pale ale, India pale ale, amber/red ale, brown ale, porter, milk stout, oatmeal stout, Scotch ale

pilsner glass

Pilsner Glasses

Tall, slim, and slightly wider at the mouth, a pilsner glass makes the sparkle, clarity, and bubbles of pilsners and other lighter beers visible. At the same time, it helps retain a beer’s head, which keeps volatile aromatics locked under your nose. Typically, pilsner glasses hold less beer than a pint glass--usually somewhere in the vicinity of 12 to 14 ounces.

Appropriate Beer Styles
Pilsner, American adjunct lagers, bock, helles bock, maibock, Vienna lager, blonde ale, California common, Japanese rice lager, witbier

tulip glass

Tulip Glasses (a.k.a., Belgian Glasses)

With a bulbous body and a flared lip, the tulip glass is designed to capture the head and promote the aroma and flavor of Belgian ales and other malty, hoppy beers. Its short stem facilitates swirling, further enhancing your sensory experience.

Appropriate Beer Styles
Belgian strong ale, Belgian dark ale, barleywine, double/imperial IPA, Belgian IPA, Belgian pale ale, bière de garde, Flanders red ale, gueuze, fruit lambic, saison, American wild ale, Scotch ale

thistle beer glass

Thistle Glasses

A modified version of the tulip glass, the shape of a thistle glass resembles Scotland’s national flower (the thistle). It is characterized by a short stem, bulbous bottom, and elongated top section that’s noticeably more sharp and angular than that of the tulip.

Appropriate Beer Styles
Scotch ale, wee heavy

beer goblet

Goblet / Chalice Glasses

The goblet glass has a large, head-retaining round bowl and a thick stem. Chalices are similar but tend to have thicker bowl walls. Both types can be highly decorative and sometimes feature intricate etching or precious metal inlaying. Their wide-mouth design promotes big, hearty sips.

Appropriate Beer Styles
Heavy, dark beers like Belgian IPAs, Belgian strong dark ale, dubbel, tripel, quad

ipa glass

IPA Glasses

The iconic ridges of the IPA glass aerate your favorite hoppy beer with each sip, releasing volatile aromatics in the process. Meanwhile, the tall, slender, tapered bowl concentrates and directs those hop aromatics to your nose. Some IPA glasses are also nucleated (etched) at the bottom to help release carbonation and promote a steady stream of cascading bubbles.

Appropriate Beer Styles
Any and all varieties of IPAs

stout glass

Stout Glasses

Spiegelau designs this distinctive stout glass in partnership with Left Hand Brewing Company from Colorado and Rogue Ales from Oregon, and this deserves a spot in every beer connoisseur china cabinet. The shape of the base and the angle of the bowl accentuate the roasted malts and notes of rich coffee and chocolate that define stout beers. The angled shelf and narrow mouth promote head retention.

Appropriate Beer Styles
Any and all varieties of stouts

weizen glass

Weizen Glasses

The weizen glass (or wheat beer glass) features thin walls and a lot of length to showcase the color of wheat beers. The design also locks in the style’s signature banana and clove aromas and provides proper space for a thick, fluffy head. They are sometimes confused with pilsner glasses, but there are important distinctions. A weizen glass typically holds about 1/2 liter of beer (compared to a pilsner’s 12 to 14 ounces) and boasts some attractive curvature.

Appropriate Beer Styles
Wheat ale, dunkelweizen, hefeweizen, kristalweizen, weizenbock

stange kolsch glass

Stange Glasses

The stange glass, which comes from the German word for pole, is narrow, straight, and cylindrical. Like a champagne flute, the stange concentrates soft hop and malt aromas and preserves carbonation. Unlike a flute, however, the stange has a thick-bottomed base for reliable sturdiness.

Appropriate Beer Styles
Delicate beers like kölsch, bocks, lambics, gose, Czech pilsners, rye beer, altbier, rauchbier

teku glass

Teku Stemmed Beer Glasses

Widely recognized as one of the finest craft beer glasses available today, the visually stunning Teku glass was designed by an Italian sensory expert and craft brewer. It features an 11.2- or 14.2-ounce tulip-like bowl, a remarkably thin lip, and an elegant long stem that prevents your hands from transferring warmth to your beer.

Appropriate Beer Styles
The Teku bills itself as appropriate for all styles. That said, the glass does a phenomenal job of concentrating aromatics and accentuating flavor profiles, so very strong beers can be overpowering when served in one. We particularly like the Teku for lambics and other sours, gruit, fruit, and heather beers.

beer mug

Beer Mugs

Beer mugs come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Some are even dimpled. What holds true for all beer mugs, however, is the handle projecting from one side. It’s a design feature that, like a stem, helps prevent heat transference from your hand to the beer. Beer mugs also tend to have relatively thick glass walls for durability and insulation. They are classic pub glassware.

Appropriate Beer Styles
American, German, English, and Irish beers of all sorts

glass beer boot

Glass Beer Boots

Beer boots, or “das boots,” have been popular at beer festivals and parties in the United States for decades. They are often used for drinking games or in macho displays of drinking prowess. Their origin, though, is rooted in Bavarian beer culture. According to legend, a Prussian general promised his troops he would drink a beer from his own leather boot in exchange for a win on the battlefield. When his men proved victorious, he commissioned a glass likeness of his boot to spare himself the displeasure of drinking foot beer. From there, it is believed the glass gained popularity, and in time, it was folded into Oktoberfest traditions. The beer boot eventually made its way to North America thanks to the returning World War II soldiers who observed the tradition while serving overseas.

Appropriate Beer Styles
Märzen / Oktoberfest, witbier, assorted German beers

How To Pour Beer Into A Glass

We've put together some tips for how to pour a glass of beer. Be sure to keep watching after the tips for pouring because we also break down some of our favorite beer glasses to use.



KegWorks has been selling cool tools for drinking and serving knowledge on tap since 1998. We are all about enjoying good drinks with good friends.

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