Similar to wine, beer tasting can be enhanced based on the glass. Pouring Pinot Noir in a narrow Chardonnay glass will affect its taste, and beer is the same way. Depending on the type of beer, agitation will activate the CO2, keeping each sip fresh, and glasses can open up aromas or close them off. Plain pint glasses are not the best way to bring out the flavor of any type of beer, a tapered shape is best with thin rim to keep temperature chilled.
Tulip / Stemmed Pilsner
It is used with higher alcohol content ales and German pilsners to even out the complexity. The top lip flairs outward to open up hoppy beers that are not effervescent, allowing the aromas to blossom.
High carbonation beers such as medium pilsners and light lagers look and taste best in a tall glass that allows the carbonation room to display, similar to the effect of Champagne in flutes.
The narrow bottom traps yeast caused by Weizen beers, allowing the fluffy head room to expand. Its opening is tapered slightly like a wine glass, for highest quality aromas. It is best used with weizen, spiced beers, and fruity lambics.
Dark, rich beers like stout, porter, and lagers will be enhanced in flavor by a stocky smaller glass, narrowing at the bottom. Keep in mind that the head will expand rapidly, do not pour too full, and let it settle several minutes before drinking. Bubbles in stouts are a mix of carbon dioxide and nitrogen, unlike lighter beer which is carbon dioxide based. The foam needs time to circulate in the glass.
There are many other types of beer glasses, such as specific varieties for IPA and Lagers. Before pulling a generic pint glass off the shelf, consider choosing a complimentary glass instead. IWA offers many beer glasses to get started.