When dining at your standard chain restaurant, you’ll notice beer typically comes in one of 2 glasses: a 16 oz. pint glass or a 22 oz. Weissbier vase, neither of which have any real shape or form. But then again, the types of beer being served at these establishments rarely warrant special glassware to enhance the experience. Sure, you might run into the occasional Leinenkugel’s or Goose Island mass-produced variation, but you won’t get as full of a flavor out of those as you might wish. Don’t mistake us, though, we’re not beer snobs. We both enjoy the occasional macro, especially when it comes with a monster burger and a ton a fries. We just know that there’s so much more to a beer than what your eyes see. It’s not a drink; it’s an experience.
That being said, let’s talk about proper glassware. Glassware is almost as important as the beer that’s being poured into it. For the craft beer lovers out there, including us, there’s nothing more important than getting the most out of the flavors the brew-master carefully chose to include in the beer. It’s kind of like golfing without proper golf shoes on…yes, you’re getting the experience of the sport, but once you put those spikes on, the experience is taken up a notch. This month, we want to look at some of the beer glassware options out there that will help take your next beer experience up a notch. Give a few a try and tell us what you think…
Shaker pint – The most basic style of glassware. No real additions to enhance flavor or aroma. This is the typical 16 oz. glass you get at restaurants.
Bavarian seidel – Also known as the Beer stein. These are very popular in Germany, especially in the fall during Oktoberfest. Great glassware for beers such as Pilsners, Oktoberfests, or Marzens.
English tulip pint – Also known as the Guinness glass. Great glass to use for Irish Stouts.
Nonic(k) pint – These are used typically for English beers. The bump in the glass is used to prevent chipping on the rim. There is also a popular opinion that the bump was created as a good “standing” beer since the English enjoy meandering around the local pubs.
Snifter – Although this glass style is typically used for a whiskey or cognac, it is also the perfect choice for complex beers, such as Barleywines and Imperial Stouts. The wider base keeps the complex flavors in, while the narrow rim holds the head nicely. Be sure to fill these up about ¾ of the way to allow those complex flavors to escape nicely.
Tulip – This is one of the fancier styles of glassware on the market. The side profile of this glass has a distinct tulip or hourglass shape, which help hold the aromas in. Strong Ales and Imperial beers, such as porters, reds, and IPA’s, are typically poured in these.
Tapered pilsner – The tapered profile is used to show off the colors and carbonation of the beer. These are great for lighter beers such as wheats, lagers, and pilsners. We also think saisons/farmhouse beers are great in these as well, since many of them are very light and bubbly.
Weissbier vase – The name of this glass implies what beer should go in these; wheat beers. Although this is the other common glass type served at restaurants, the narrow bottom and larger top help release some of the beautiful, simplistic aromas that a good wheat can produce. The larger opening at the top also helps with head retention.
Bolleke goblet – This style is very popular in the Trappist communities. Typically, Belgian strong ales, Belgian dubbels, and Belgian tripels are served in this glass. The wide opening, as well as occasional scoring at the top of the glass, helps with head retention and allows the drinker to take deep sips at a time.
Teku – This is one of our favorite glassware styles. This is considered the mother of all glassware since it incorporates many of the various styles all at once. The wider bottom helps hold in those flavors while the narrow opening brings those aromas right to the nostrils and also helps hold the head in. Although many styles can go in here, IPA’s, sours, or beers that carry a punch in the nose, are typically served in this unique glass. Be warned, though: these beers can get a bit top-heavy when filled completely. Its function is to have the beer filled just about halfway or less to allow those aromas to breathe and escape right up through the opening.
Coconut shell – Nature’s goblet, and an ideal option should you find yourself stranded on a deserted island, talking to a volleyball. We found it to be particularly satisfying when we used one to sample a delicious coconut rum barrel stout. (In case you missed the video review, click here to check it out.)