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A Guide to Beer Glasses

by Scott Oeffling on March 9

While many beer enthusiasts have an impressive collection of beer shaker pints hiding out in their basements, bars, and hutches, there are also many other types of beer glasses available. The shaker pint may be America’s most popular beer glass, but it is certainly not the only, or even the best, option available depending upon the style of beer you are enjoying.

Why the Different Beer Glasses?

There are numerous beer glasses to choose from, each with its own set of characteristics. Some glasses are designed to maintain the foam head of your beer, while others are designed to allow you to enjoy the beer’s unique aroma or deep colors. A beer glass does more than hold your beer; it serves as an instrument that enhances the beverage. Because the type of glass you choose has a profound impact on the overall experience, choosing the right one can be crucial.

When the beer is transferred from its original container to your glass, its taste, aroma, and appearance all changes. The shape of the glass has a direct impact on head development and retention. A glass that supports a healthy head traps in the beer’s volatiles, such as its hop oils, esters, and spices. It enhances the beer’s aroma and improves the tasting experience. Different types of beer require different levels of head retention, hence the wide variety in beer glasses. The proper beer glass upgrades beer from simply being a beverage to being a dynamic tasting experience.

Choosing the Perfect Beer Glass

So how do you choose the correct beer glass for the best experience? Below is a brief list of some of the most popular and easily acquired glasses that will suit a wide variety of beers.

Beerglass-05Flute Glass

Sleek and elegant, the flute glass enhances and showcases the carbonation, and ensures that it doesn’t dispense too quickly. It is ideal for enjoying lambics and other highly carbonated styles of beer.


Goblets are one of the larger beer glasses available. With a wide mouth to accommodate deep sips, these glasses are not only designed to be aesthetically pleasing but to easily maintain head. It is perfect for serving German bocks or other dopplebocks.


This traditional glass remains very popular today, and can be made from a variety of materials – glass, metal, ceramic – you name it. It holds a lot of beer, providing room for a good deal of foam. Mugs are suitable for everything from IPAs to black lagers.



A tall, slender, and tapered glass, the pilsner glass promotes head retention and enhances the beer’s volatiles. It offers an unobstructed view of the beer’s color, clarity and carbonation and is suited for lighter beers.

Beerglass-02American Shaker Pint

These common beer glasses are easy to acquire, easy to store and easy to drink from. It allows for a clear view of the beer and allows for a decent amount of foam, making it suitable for most types of beer.


With a wide base and a tapered mouth, snifters are perfect for capturing and enhancing a beer’s volatiles. It is typically used to hold stronger ales, such as an imperial IPA or a tripel.


This long and slender traditional German glass is used to serve more delicate beers such as bock or rye styles of beers. It promotes a tighter concentration of volatiles, allowing it to enhance the color and aroma that may be lost in a wider glass.


The bulbous tulip glass induces and provides support for large heads. Used for strong or sweet beers, such as barleywine and Belgian ales, they allow for vigorous swirling to release the beer’s strong aromas.

If you want to take an interesting look at different types of beers and the glasses they pair with, check out our Periodic Table of Beer. Clearly, the beer glass you choose should be dictated by the type of beer you are drinking. One size certainly does not fit all, and to make sure that you are able to fully enjoy your favorite beer’s smell, aroma, and color, you need to choose the proper vessel.

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Topics: Domestic Beer, Beer, Fun, Craft Beer

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