Judging by the glassware at many bars and restaurants throughout the United States, you might think the best way to drink beer is out of a standard shaker pint or even the bottle itself. And while there’s nothing wrong with enjoying a beer the old fashioned way, sometimes the occasion calls for a heightened drinking experience.
Just like a flute for Champagne or a snifter for Cognac, there are glasses designed specifically for certain types of beer that will bring out the best of its style. These glasses will not only make your beer taste and smell better, but also look fantastic. Presenting a quality brew in a beautiful glass at a dinner party or beer tasting signifies these special occasions in your life.
Different beer glasses can produce different results with the the same beer. This is why designs vary so dramatically from glass to glass. Some glasses showcase the delicate complexity of a Kölsch, while others enhance the intense aromas of a robust barrel-aged Stout.
But don’t let the seemingly endless array of options overwhelm you. If you want to elevate your beer-drinking experience, consider expanding your beer glassware collection with these three staples.
Stemmed Pilsner glass
Spiegelau’s Stemmed Pilsner glass, more commonly referred to as a tulip due to its shape, is one of the most versatile glasses you can own. It is an invaluable part of any glassware collection.
On the surface, the tulip is a beautiful glass that will make any beer look elegant, which makes it great for special occasions. But beneath its sophistication, it’s doing wonderful things to your beer. The blossom shape captures and enhances a beer’s volatiles, which then release aromatics into the foamy head that rests on the fanned rim. Aroma is absolutely crucial in tasting beer and tulips are one of the best glasses for it.
Because of this design, a tulip is ideal for complex and robust beers such as Imperial Stouts, IPAs and many types of Belgians.
Tall Pilsner glass
While a tulip is best used for Belgians, IPAs, Stouts and the like, a Spiegelau Tall Pilsner glass is ideal for all types of lagers. The long, tapered design of a Pilsner glass will not only beautifully display the full color spectrum of a fresh Pilsner, it will also produce a fantastic head and retain its delicate aroma.
Lagers being the crisp, refreshing beers that they often are, Pilsner glasses ought to make an appearance at any family cookout or sunny afternoon on the deck.
Wheat beer glass
Spiegelau’s Wheat Beer glass is narrow in scope, but it picks up the slack that the others leave behind. These tall, elegant glasses are designed specifically for wheat beers such as Hefeweizens and Dunkelweizens. Their length and curved shape, much like a Pilsner glass, showcases the color of the beer, while allowing enough space for foam (of which wheat beers produce a lot.)
The narrow shape also does a great job at capturing the yeasty banana notes that wheat beers are famous for. The result is a beautiful glass of beer that will fully represent the peak of what a wheat can be.
Beer is a complex beverage that begs to be put in a proper vessel to promote aromatics, proper foam levels and appearance. The world of beer glassware is wide and varied, but starting with these three basics will immediately create a richer experience from first pour to last sip.
What are some of your favorite glasses to use with beer?
About the author: Jake Guidry is a freelance writer and DJ based in Chicago. He spends his free time learning about — and indulging in — the vast world of food and drink.