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Whether you're a working bartender-in-training or wanting to generally learn more about spirits to finally put your whiskey books to good use for hosting weekend parties, a dependable glass is vital. Craft beer has stormed the nation, and with it, the rise of specialty beer glasses. Glass selections today range far beyond your standard pint glass—there are snifters for bold barley wines, whisper-thin stemware, and cicerone-beloved Teku glasses.
"Whether you realize it or not, many things happen when you pour a beer into a glass,” says Patrick Bisch, certified cicerone at Illinois' The Open Bottle. "To wax poetic a little bit, it's like the blossoming of a flower, but a blossoming of your sensors: carbonation is released, and that releases gas that further enhances the aromas of the beer." He continues, "The sight of the beer, no longer covered up by the brown glass or aluminum can, shows off its color and clarity.”
Simply put, you can keep sipping your low-cost lagers out of a can, but for craft beers, do the brews justice and drink them out of a glass. “You're robbing yourself of all these subconscious enhancements that truly make a beer enjoyable when you drink out of a bottle or can,” says Bisch. “So pour your beer into a glass and realize its full potential!”
Best Overall: Rastal Teku Stemmed Beer Glass
Excellent for tasting
Versatile for beer styles
Wash by hand
If you’re going to invest in a really great beer glass, from simple booze to blended, two-ingredient ginger beer, Teku's beautiful stemmed glass is a worthy pick. Designed by brewers Lorenzo “Kuaska” Dabove and Teo Musso, the glass was initially designed to be the beer equivalent of the ISO, a universal wine tasting glass used by professional wine tasters. And that’s just what it achieves: the 14.2-ounce glass showcases the full flavors and aromas of each beer. Made in Germany by Rastal, the angular, modern shape traps the aromas in, so when you sip, waves of the flavors hit your nose. A tiny lip that curves outward lets beer roll from the glass right onto your palette. Plus, the wine glass-stem lets you hold your beer without your hands warming up the drink.
Related: The Best Kegerators
Best Budget: Libbey Pint Glass
Use it as a mixing glass
Nuanced flavors may get lost
Libbey’s standard fare pint glass is built to last, whether enjoying Spruce Beer or bourbon. The classic glass (with the shape found at every pub and bar of bartenders across the country as these booze books should be) is made with a DuraTuff heat-treated rim, designed to resist thermal and mechanical shock. There’s a reason why so many bars stock these 16-ounce glasses—they are durable, affordable, dishwasher-friendly, and resistant to rough and tumble use. When this versatile glass is not holding fresh suds, it doubles as an excellent cocktail mixing glass once you've chosen the right pairing.
Kaitlin Vandenbosch, brewmaster at Mill Street Brewing, prefers these glasses for nitro beers. “Nitrogen charged beers—whether served from draught or can—need to be served in a wide mouth glass." She adds, "You pour the can of beer directly upside-down into the glass and allow the nitrogen in the beer to create the cascade effect that produces a thick puck of dense foam on the top of your beer."
Best IPA: Spiegelau IPA Glass
Ideal for the IPA lover
Crafted by beer masters
Specific to IPAs
Most everyone in the beer world agrees that Spiegelau sets the standard for beer glassware. This German glassware company has been a leader in the industry for decades and its beer glasses have racked up design accolades from the German Design and Red Dot Awards.
Made of lightweight, non-leaded crystal, Spiegelau’s 18-ounce glasses were designed by two beer masters (Dogfish Head’s Sam Calagione and Sierra Nevada’s Ken Grossman) to perfectly amplify the flavors of an IPA. “It was tested, engineered, and proven to be a great glass for drinking any aromatic beer, but especially IPAs,” explains Bisch. “As you pour the beer into your mouth, its ridged, narrow bottom agitates the beer while simultaneously releasing carbonation (and therefore aromas)." He also adds, "While the glass sits upright, the etched logo on the inner base provides a nucleation point for the CO2 to release upward, creating a denser, thicker head that captures aromas.”
Related: The Best Beer Fridges
Best for Stout Beer: Bormioli Rocco Snifter Glasses
Small stem prevents heat transfer
Designed for higher-alcohol beers
Bigger beers with high alcohol, like English ales, barrel-aged beers, and imperial stouts, require a glass that shows off the complex layers of flavor, like a snifter. Similar to the snifters used for whiskey, the curved shape of these Bormioli Rocco glasses concentrates the flavors. “Higher ABV beers, such as stouts and Belgian quadruples, deserve smaller glasses that remind you to sip and enjoy gracefully while narrowly focusing and capturing aromas with a smaller, tapered curve at the mouth,” says Bisch. “These glasses are typically thinner, which allow for heat transfer from your hands that warms the beer to enhance the flavor—beer tastes better between 40 to 50 degrees and not ice cold.” Plus, the larger surface area and small stem allow for ideal heat exchange. This Italian-made glass holds 18 ounces of beer.
Related: The Best Beers
Best Classic: Restaurantware Imperial Nonic Pint Glass
Compatible with many styles
Stackable and durable
As for his all-time favorite beer glass, Bisch points to the 20-ounce imperial nonic pint glass. “I tend to gravitate to this glass because it's compatible with many different beer styles such as English Milds, IPAs, lagers, etc." He says, "Its wide mouth allows for an easier flow of low ABV, sessionable beers."
Consider this glass your everyday beer glass: just like a classic English pub glass, the wide rim and slight bulge make it easy to stack and store these glasses. But just because they are easy to store, doesn’t mean they lack in quality—the 19.5-ounce, machine-blown glass (a little less than the standard 20-ounce glass) boasts above-average glass clarity. “Not to mention, it fits a lot of beer and just feels damn good to hold,” adds Bisch.
Best Set: Spiegelau Craft Beer Tasting Kit
Perfect for tastings
All the glasses you could need
High-quality, lightweight glass
Only one of each - you will need to buy several sets
Ideal for the serious beer aficionado, Spiegelau’s ultimate craft beer tasting kit contains glasses for any and every beer you’re sipping. The paper-thin, dishwasher-safe glasses are ideal for most craft beer lovers, with a thin lip that pours the beer right onto your palette. Each of the set’s four glasses is designed with beer experts to amplify the aroma and flavors of the beer: the set includes a 19.1-ounce rippled IPA glass, a 26.5-ounce deeply rounded American wheat glass, a 21-ounce stout, and 17.7-ounce stemmed barrel-aged beer glasses, all made of lightweight, non-leaded crystal and crafted by Bavarian artisans. Order one set, or pick up a few to host your own tasting club.
Best Splurge: Zalto Beer Glass
Ideal for showcasing light beers
Zalto's stemware is the gold standard of wine glasses, and their beer glasses offer just as much prestige. This 14-ounce glass is designed specifically for beer (Pilsen and Marzen styles), with the gentle curve of the glass titled at 24, 48, and 72 degrees to match the tilt angles of the Earth. These carefully-made glasses are whisper-thin and have a classic, deep tulip shape that excellently showcases light beers.
While it may be your first instinct to wash these by hand, the pressure of hands can add torque to the bowl and potentially cause breakage. Instead, wash them in a half-filled dishwasher with minimal detergent—the glass is crack- and chip-resistant.
Related: The Best Home Brewing Kits
Most Unique: Iittala Krouvi Beer Mug
While beer mugs are commonly seen in German beer gardens, this delicate Iittala Krouvi mug is far more at home on a modern bar cart. These Scandinavian-style mugs were designed by Oiva Toikka in 1973 and have a retro, yet modern feel. The glass has a smooth, polished rim and an embossed vintage-inspired 50cL measurement. Better yet, a handle keeps hand heat from warming up the beer (though note that this mug cannot be used for warm measurements). This glass is shorter than most beer glasses, but its size is deceiving—this mug holds 20 ounces.
Good to Know:
“One more thing about glassware: please never, ever drink from frosted glass," advises Bisch. "Dust particles and impurities from the ice ultimately melt into your beer, making it taste worse—that's not to mention that ice-cold beer means less flavor."
Best Design: Beer Shaped Glasses
Easy, everyday glasses
“My favorite type of beer glass is the beer can shaped glasses,” says Jessy Jolicoeur, Owner, Brewer: Oval Craft Brewing. “The lip on top curves in a little making them great drinking glasses and they hold up well with a little motion.” The 16-ounce glasses also keep the foam thriving, thanks to the slightly curved lip.
The shape mirrors that of a traditional beer can, but opting for thin glass instead of aluminum - ideal for flaunting your favorite light beer.
“I serve anything not hoppy in my beer can glasses,” says Jolicouer. “The narrowing top does limit aromas a little but not in an average beer.”
Best for Gifting: Made in Cookware Glasses
Lets beer aromas shine
Delicate to wash
Gifting for the beer enthusiast? These are an excellent addition to a home beer collection. These unconventional, tall stemmed beer glasses are specifically designed to let the beer shine, from a wide, angled bowl that shows off aromas to a curved lip that allows the foam to stack perfectly in the glass. The opening of the glass is designed to let your nose fall naturally into the glass so you can fully experience the aromas. A long stem (8 inches high) keeps the heat of your hand away from the beer, meaning, your suds stay colder for longer.
“If the person is an IPA drinker a tulip glass is perfect,” says Jolicoeur. “The flaring top accentuates aromas and provides the drinker with a wider mouth to sink their nose in as they enjoy.”
The glass comes in a set of four and is dishwasher safe for a simple cleanup.
Best Everyday: Bormioli Rocco Stackable Bodega Glasses
While many of the options on this list are designed to specifically flaunt the flavors, aromas and nuances of a beer, these options are a little more laid-back. The standard bodega-style glasses are excellent for your everyday life. Merging form and function, these chip-resistant glasses are excellent for every drink, morning, noon, and night, from sipping a flight of beer to pouring water to serving G&Ts.
These low-effort glasses are an easy solution for parties, larger gatherings, and other social drinking situations. The thick base, crystalline clarity, and dishwasher-safe construction
What to Look For
How the glass is shaped plays a big role in your beer’s flavors. Tulip glasses are suited for more aromatic beers, while Weizen glasses will let wheat ales shine. Can’t decide what style? A standard pint glass is near-perfect for a wide range of styles.
A standard pint glass sits at 20 ounces. That said, higher-alcohol beers may call for smaller glasses, while small cans may only need to be poured into a 16-ounce glass. Ensure your favorite beer will fit in your favorite glass!
Many of the glasses on this list are delicate, with whisper-thin glass that lets flavors sing. But there’s a reason beer glasses in biergartens are thick - they’re built to withstand more spirited evenings. Also consider whether the glasses are dishwasher safe - you may not want to hand wash and polish glasses after a rowdier evening.
What are the different types of beer glasses?
The standard types of beer glasses are a pint glass, weizen (or wheat) beer glass, goblet, tulip, snifter, stein, and flute.
How many ounces in an average beer glass?
A standard beer glass has 16 ounces, while larger pint glasses will hold 20 ounces.
Does beer stay colder/more effervescent in glass?
Liquid stays colder in glass longer, though that will also depend on the heat transfer from your hand. Beer in a stem glass will stay cold for the longest.
Why Trust Liquor.com?
Kate Dingwall is a seasoned beverage writer and sommelier and has spent the last five years writing about wine and spirits and the last decade as a working sommelier. Her work appears in a variety of national outlets, both print and digital. She’s the niece of an award-winning Belgian brewer and is always kind enough to help test his new brews.