Choosing a Beer Glass

Does the shape and size of the glass actually influence the taste of beer? The answer is yes.

Conventional ales and pilsner style beers have no special requirement other than a glass large enough to easily take a 12-ounce pour and leave room for the head. (Note, if you value a head on your beer, make sure that there are no traces of detergent in the glass. Detergent neutralizes head formation and will prematurely flatten your beer.)

Belgian abbey ales and other Belgian specialty styles are meant to be constantly savored for their aromas as well as their flavors. The principal feature of specialty Belgian beer glasses is their wide, bulbous shape, with a tapered upper section that serves to keep your nose close to the beer and enveloped in aromas. The glass must be big enough to accommodate the beer in the bottle in one pour unless you want yeast sediment clouding the second pour.

The Bavarians figured out that their extravagantly frothy weiss beers need something tall to accommodate all the foam, hence the appropriately tall, slender glass. Conversely, barley wines are best appreciated from a large brandy snifter that will capture complex vinous aromas while not making the necessarily small pours of such heady brews seem disproportionate to the glass.

However, in the United States, the standard, straight-sided, 16-ounce pint glass has gained ground on the traditional 12-ounce pilsner glass.

For the same reason that wine snobs eschew colored wine glasses, so too should beer aficionados avoid opaque beer glasses. The brewer puts a lot of effort into coming up with precisely the right color for his or her beer and it would be rude to ignore all that work. Clear glass is definitely the way to go.

Whatever glasses you choose for beer, use them only for beer. Other beverages may leave residues on the glass that will affect the presentation and possibly the taste of your next beer.

There are many sizes, shapes, and styles of beer glasses used around the world.

The last few years have seen new glassware styles for all types of beverages, including beer. Also, as could have been expected, many styles of glasses has been identified by different names. Here are a few of the most popular traditional styles of beer glasses:



IPA


The newest edition to the world of beer glasses is the IPA (or American India Pale Ale) Glass, first introduced by the Spiegelau division of Riedel, and now a commonly found style from many glassware producers. The IPA glass is designed to amplify the hoppy aroma of the IPA, while its at the same time keeping the contents cooler than with other beer glass designs. Some versions have honeycombed or ribbed bottoms, which by adding surface space, helps keep the brew bubbly.


Chalices and Goblets


The wide mouth of the Chalice allows for deep inhalation of the bouquet of beers with subtle aromas. The wide shape also encourages a well-carbonated ale to fully develop its head without giving the drinker a face full of foam. The rounded shape also allows quick warming of the beer if held in the drinker's hands, or more slowly if held by the stem. A goblet type of glass is designed to prevent the head of becoming greater then 2 centimeter's in height. This ensures the fruity-taste of a beer.


Flutes


Flutes are not just the ideal serving vessel for Champagne, but also for lambics. The tall narrow design helps preserve the delicate bubbles of an effervescent lambic and concentrates the bouquet of aromatic beers, channeling it directly to the nose.


Mugs


The dimpled sides make it easier to handle, especially if your hands become slippery. The large, open mouth releases the floral, herbal bouquet as well as the malty aroma of the beer.


Pilsners


Pilsner glasses come in a variety shapes and sizes, but they all are designed to channel the floral hop aroma to the drinker's nose. The clear class showcases the brilliant golden color and lively stream of bubbles.


Shaker Pints


Originally designed as a bartender's mixing tool, these pint glassess are becoming very common in brewpubs and microbreweries. A very versatile beer glass well suited for a variety of beer styles, it is also commonly referred to as a Tavern glass or as a Pub glass. Their design is intended to provide a heavy ridge for a good grip to prevent a damp 3d or 4th refill from slipping through your hand, spilling and shattering.


Snifter and Tulips


Tulips and snifters are considered to be the perfect vessels to "nose" strong, aromatic beers. In tullip glasses the head can become 3 to 4 centimeter's in height, which makes this the best glass to choose for stronger types of beer. A snifter has a somewhat smaller opening and taller cup, and is perfect for aromatic Belgian ales.


Beer Glasses, Mugs and Steins

Germany Coats of Arms Beer Stein


Steins


Steins with pewter tops where originally designed to keep flies out of the beer. With or without a top, the stein is considered by many to be the perfect vessel for consumption of bock beer. The heavy stoneware material helps insulate the beer.


Tumblers


Tumblers can come in a variety of shapes and sizes. This diversity makes it hard to classify such a broad range of glass styles. Typically, the straight-side variety of tumblers are great for sampling a wide range of beers while the more curved tumblers are generally better suited for lagers.


Weizen


Weizen glasses are some of the best balanced and designed glasses made. They are rugged yet look delicate. The tall and slightly bowed-out shape make this glass perfect for retaining just the right amount of aroma from this distinctive beer style. Can be referred to as Wheat Beer glasses.



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