Craft Brewpub Glassware 101
“Wait, what? The logoed shaker pint glass isn’t THE glass every brew is supposed to be poured in?” – Me prior to exploring craft breweries + expanding my beer general knowledge of all things beer
Turns out brewers have been serving up their beers in specialized drinking glasses (not always made of glass) for thousands of years! These vessels come in several different shapes and sizes and are often times made of materials other than glass – clay, metal, even leather. Regardless of their form, the functional purpose remained constant. Deliver the beer to the mouth in the best way possible, making it an experience, a celebration.
These days, most beer glasses are made of glass as it’s a widely available and cost-effective material. It’s often clear glass to easily showcase the color and clarity of the brew. However, one size does not fit all. Beer glasses can range in size from just a few ounces (think tasters) to a full liter. Most of the time, the higher ABV (alcohol by volume) a beer has, the smaller the glass will be. For example, it’s not uncommon to go to a brewery and get an imperial stout served in a 6 oz. glass. But there is also the idea that some beers, like a kolsch, should be served in smaller glasses to keep them cold and fresh.
In addition to size, another thing to take into consideration when selecting a glass for your beer-drinking experience is the taper. An outward taper, as seen in a traditional Pilsner glass, allows for a proper head due to the additional support from underneath. And a glass that is narrower at the top than it is in the middle promotes a dramatic aroma. Can you smell the orange peel and honey yet?
Lastly, you’ll want to consider a glass’s rim. The shape and thickness of the rim can change the way the beer is delivered to your taste buds, changing the way the beer tastes and feels on your tongue.
Let’s review some of the most common modern glassware you might come across when visiting a craft brewpub like Off Main Brewing:
TAPERED PILSNER GLASS
Narrow shape to display lighter color
Outward taper supports a solid head
Footed design adds stability and elegance
This glass became popular for brandy in the 20th century
Barley wines and imperial stouts are received well in this glass
Great for stronger ales
SHAKER PINT GLASS
Very common in the U.S.
Not recommended for stronger or specialty brews
Don’t enhance the aroma or presentation of the beer
ENGLISH TULIP PINT GLASS
Commonly seen in serving an Irish stout
NONICK PINT GLASS
Perfect for low-gravity session beers and English ales
Extra bump keeps the rim from chipping
Easy to hold when standing and drinking
STEMMED TULIP GLASS
Outward flare supports the head and fits the lips
Inward taper holds a beer’s aroma
Inward taper supports foam for a great head
Large size holds foam
Inward taper concentrates head and aroma
Smaller size is perfect for stronger beers
Classic glass for bock
Smaller size for stronger beers
Outward taper supports head
Short stem for elegance and presentation
Large glass for beers with lower ABV
Perfect for Pilsner, Helles, Oktoberfest
We hope you'll think twice before pouring your exotic brew into a Shaker glass! Drinking from proper glassware makes a world of difference when it comes to your beer-tasting experience. Give it a try and let us know what you think!