Understanding Beer Glasses

The history and function behind four fancy glasses designed specially for beer.
Posted September 16, 2011

Just as with wine, beer purists know it’s not just what you pour, it’s also what you pour into that matters. Gary Sink, of West Seattle’s Beveridge Place Pub, shows us how the proper glass brings out the best in beer.

Pilsner glass (far left)

History: For enjoying pilsners and fruity or bubblier beers.
The physics
: The tall, narrow shape enhances the clarity and maintains the beer’s effervescence.
Bartender’s tip
: These glasses usually have a pour line to allow space for a good amount of head. 

 

Hefeweizen glass (second from left)

History: Traditional hefe glasses are similar to a pilsner glass but thicker and less flared
The physics: The larger bulb at the top allows for more head space, which helps the drinker enjoy the banana and clove aromas.
Bartender’s tip: Forget the lemon! If you’re drinking a traditional Bavarian hefeweizen, you’ll already get the fruit taste. Drinking an American hefe? They're less fruity, so add the slice.


Pint glass (second from right)

History: The most versatile and widely used glass. The Brits and Germans have taken it a little further, adding a notch and handle respectively, making the pint glass easier to hold.
The physics: Pints can hold a lot of beer and are easy to handle.
Bartender’s tip: Allow for a good two fingers’ worth of foam.


Belgian glass (right)

History: Used for all varieties of Belgians and dark beers—although most Belgian breweries design a specific glass for their brew.
The physics: The chalice-like shape allows aromas to be released while tasting. Some are designed to maintain head by etching the bottom of the glass. This keeps it bubbling and retains the head throughout.
Bartender’s tip: Serve with a lot of head—almost half of the glass—so that you get the aroma while tasting the maltiness of the beer.

 

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