Does The Shape Of Beer Glasses Make A Difference?

Beer can be consumed in a number of ways, commonly drunk directly from the can or even from plastic cups. However, more styles of cups are emerging. Do these differently shaped glasses change anything about the beer-drinking experience? We've done the research and can tell you if shape matters for beer glasses.

The shape of the beer glass does make a small difference in drinking beer. Both taste and aesthetics are the main focus of a beer glass design. A beer glasses' main goals are to retain beer head and capture its aromatics.

Keep reading to find out how different beer glasses impact drinking, the different types of beer glasses, and how glass shape affects drinking speed.

Mug of light beer with foam on a wooden table in a pub, Does The Shape Of Beer Glasses Make A Difference?


The Affect of Glass Shape

Drinking beer can be a more in-depth experience when it's paired with a proper glass. Some glasses are made specifically to enjoy certain kinds of beers. These glasses are designed to maintain a beer's head, showcase a beer's color, as well as help to capture its aromatics. Beer head improves the taste of the beer because it has a very distinct smell. A consistent head also has a classic look that improves the experience. Here we have a few different types of beer glasses and how they affect the overall drinking experience.

American Pint Glasses

A Pint of Craft Beer on Trendy Brewery Bar

The traditional American pint glass doesn't actually improve any part of the beer-drinking experience. The pint glass was originally just a shaker glass.  These glasses are cheap to make, easy to stack, harder to break, and easy to clean. When beer became more popular, this glass was used due to those factors and not whether it would improve the beer or not. The thick glass warms the beer quickly and can result in beer going flat.

Check out this set of six pint glass set on Amazon.

Pilsner Glasses

Boozy Golden Beer Ale in a Tall Glass with Foam

Pilsner glasses are tall, slender, and usually tapered. The broad rim is meant to maintain the beer's head for a longer time. This cup is well suited for the drink pilsner and other pale lagers. The tall and slender design of the cup is great for highlighting its lighter color.

Check out this set of 4 nucleated pilsner glasses on Amazon.

Tulip and Thistle Glasses

The tulip beer glass is a popular Belgium-style glass. This glass is bulbous, very similar to a brandy snifter, however, a tulip glass has a flared rim. Tulip glasses are great for Scottish ales, American IPAs, Belgian ales, other aromatic beers, and even wine.

Check out this 4 set of Belgian-style tulip glasses on Amazon.

A thistle glass is a modified version of a tulip glass. While the tulip glass resembles a tulip, the thistle mirrors the Scottish thistle plant. Thistle glasses are fairly tall and are larger than tulip glasses, holding between 15 and 20 ounces compared to tulips 10 to 18 ounces. Scotch ales or wee heavy beers are well suited for the thistle glass.

The flared rim of each glass allows for comfortable drinking, and aromatic and head retention qualities.

Check out this 21 ounce super thistle beer glass on Amazon.

Goblets and Chalices

The terms goblet and chalice are often used interchangeably. Both are large bowls that are on top of a long, thick stem. However, goblets are typically thicker and heavier than chalices are. Sometimes chalices are designed with etches on the bottom to nucleate bubbles to maintain a nicer head.

Heavy and malty beers are perfect choices for this style of glass. The wide rim allows the drinker to really enjoy a beer's aromatics while drinking.

Check out this 21-ounce goblet beer glass on Amazon.

Spiegelau IPA Glasses

Craft Beer in a Special Glass

Spiegelau's unique IPA glass is designed to bring out craft beers' complex aromas and accentuate the beers' texture. These glasses feature a slightly bulbous top with a narrow rim and a thick stem-like bottom. As the name suggests, IPA-style beers are best suited for this particular cup.

Check out this Spiegelau set of 4 dishwasher-safe beer glasses on Amazon.

Weizen Glasses

Full glass of hefeweizen wheat beer on a light wood table

This glass has a narrow bottom and flares out into a slightly larger rim. This style of glass originated in Germany and is made for craft beers. The wide rim of the glass allows the beer's aroma to waft out while also leaving room for wheat beers' thick and fluffy heads.

Since Weizen and pilsner glasses are so similar, they are often confused. However, a Weizen glass has more curvature to it, especially towards the top of the glass.

Check out this crystal wheat beer glass on Amazon.

Stangen Glasses

This style of glass is popular in Germany. The stange glass (plural Stangen) is tall, narrow, and cylindrical. The German word for stick or rod is stange, which is how this glass got its name. While it was designed specifically for the Kölsch, other crisp, light beers work well in this glass.

Check out this set of 2 signature beer glasses on Amazon.

Stemmed Beer Glasses

The stemmed beer glass has a similar design to the wine glass. These glasses sit on a stem and have a smaller rim. The smaller rim of the glass is meant to hold in the beer's aromatics and retain a foamy head. The stemmed glass is best used for craft beer.

Check out this 14.2 ounce stemmed beer glass on Amazon.

Tankard or Mug

Tankard or Mug

A tankard, also known as a mug, is a large, cylindrical shape with a handle. These kinds of cups tend to have a higher capacity, holding a range of 3.5 ounces to 34 ounces of liquid.

Check out this set of 8 beer mugs on Amazon.

What Is The Most Common Beer Glass?

The most common beer glass is the pint glass. These cups were easy to manufacture and were already widely used because they were used for cocktail drinks. The American pint glass is still widely used for beer, despite not being designed for drinking beer.

How Large Is A Standard Beer Glass?

A standard beer glass in the United States is the pint glass. This type of glass holds 16 ounces. While there are beer glasses in many shapes and sizes, 16 ounces is commonly accepted as the standard beer size.

Does Beer Go Flat Faster In A Glass?

It is possible for beer to go flat quickly in a glass. However, this isn't true for every glass. If your beer is going flat fast in a glass there's usually an underlying cause. Typical causes of a flat beer include:

  • Dirty glass
  • Wet or warm glass
  • Old beer

If you notice your beer is going flat quickly, make sure you're using beer clean glasses. This means that your glasses are free from any foreign debris that give carbon dioxide a place to stick to. Also, using a glass designed specifically for beer will help prevent it from going flat as fast.

How Many Different Beer Glasses Are There?

Beer types. A visual guide to types of beer. Various types of beer in recommended glasses. Vector illustration

When it comes to beer glasses, the sky is the limit. There are dozens of styles and types of beer glasses. Some glasses are designed with specific beers in mind, while others are well suited for a wide variety of beers.

What Do You Call A 24 Ounce Beer?

Twenty-four-ounce beers that are served in a can are typically referred to as a tallboy. The tallboy size is typically found in the United States.

In Closing

There are so many different types of beer glasses to choose from. While using a regular glass will work, choosing a specific beer glass can slightly improve your overall drinking experience. Much like with wine, aromatics are an important part of beer drinking. A special beer glass helps you appreciate those aromas by improving the drink's head retention.

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