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Our Guide To Beer Glasses: Types, Shapes, and Sizes

Learn the correct glass for each type of beer.

Beer is the most popular alcoholic beverage consumed worldwide, so it’s also no surprise that various drinking vessels go along with it.

Beer Glasses On Dark Table

There are different kinds of glasses for beer in terms of shapes and sizes. While this is partly due to history and culture, there are also practical reasons for this.

Different types of beer glasses can change:

  • how a particular beer looks
  • how you hold the beer
  • how you drink the beer 
  • how the beer maintains its scent
  • and even how it tastes (due to how it presents the beer’s aromas)

That said, it’s nice to know about the various types of beer glasses if you are an avid beer drinker or simply want to become more well-versed in the art.

Types of Beer Glasses

I’ll explain common types of beer glasses in this article so that you’ll know what to choose for your favorite beer in the future.

Beer Mugs

Beer mugs are easily identifiable to U.S. Americans and are also the most common type of drinking vessel for beer throughout North America.

You’ll often see beer mugs in movies and television for this reason.

They have a wide rim and a wider body, with a convenient handle that makes the beer easy to hold.

I like beer mugs because they are easy to drink out of due to the wide mouth and the handle. 

This style of glass is perhaps the best for chugging purposes as well, which is why they are fun to drink out of at bars and beer gardens

The potential downside of the beer mug is that the frothiness goes away quickly, and it’s more likely to get flat faster in this type of glass.


American Pint Glasses

As its name suggests, the American pint glass holds a U.S. “pint” of beer.

This pint is different – and smaller – than a European pint glass because the pint is measured differently.

American pint glasses hold 16 fluid ounces of beer, and people mostly use them for lagers, pilsners, and pale ales.

I like using it for an IPA because the shape of the glass allows me to get a good amount of head while still being able to hold the beer and drink it comfortably.

Perhaps I am also comfortable with pint glasses because I’m used to them, as I enjoy drinking IPAs, and that’s typically the type of glass bartenders serve them in.


Tulip Glasses

Another suitable type of glass for pale ales is tulip glass. Tulip glasses resemble a tulip flower with a short stem and elongated tulip shape.

This type of beer glass is perfect for effervescent, fizzy beers like pale ales and Scotch ales.

The shape of the glass captures the foam and releases the beer’s aromas well.

I also like drinking stouts out of a tulip glass. The shape of the glass is good for maintaining the head, and I like how it looks when I pour a dark beer into it.


Chalices

A chalice is a beer glass with a wide bowl and a short stem. Chalices are often used for heavier beers like Belgian ales, barley wines, and stouts.

I think chalices look regal and are fun to drink out of. I like the shape of this glass because it allows me to get a good whiff of the beer before I take a sip.

The chalice is also good for maintaining the head on a beer. I find that I get a good amount of foam when I pour a beer into a chalice.


Beer Steins

Beer steins are large, durable drinking vessels that have a lid. They are often made of ceramic, pewter, glass, or wood.

The lid is designed to keep bugs out of your beer and to prevent your beer from spilling.

I like beer steins because they are great for outdoor drinking. I also think they look cool, remind me of eventful times in Germany, and are fun to drink out of.

The downside of beer steins is that they are not very practical for everyday use. Beer steins are also not the best choice if you want to show off the color of your beer.


Goblet

A goblet is a type of beer glass that has a stem and a large bowl, similar to a chalice but sometimes with a slight inward curve near the opening.

Also, like chalices, goblets are often used for heavier beers like Belgian ales, barley wines, German Bocks, and stouts.

The widening of the mouth, especially with the indented curve, allows for easier sipping while still supporting the aromas and flavors within – as opposed to a mug or a pint that tends to let the beer get flat quicker.

Because they are so similar, people often use the terms goblets and chalices interchangeably. 

They can also come in various sizes, unlike a pint that has to come “pint-sized.” However, chalices tend to have a thicker wall.


Pilsner Glasses

A pilsner glass is tall and slender with subtle curvature towards the bottom. Pilsner glasses are typically used for, you guessed it, pilsners. You can also use it for other lighter beers like a light lager.

You can find pilsner glasses in various sizes, but they are typically smaller than a pint glass, although they tend to look similar to pint glasses from a distance.

This shape holds the carbonation well while allowing the unwanted foam to fizzle from the top. Plus, the slight indentation makes it easy to hold and drink out of.

Still, I prefer a pint glass and other common types of beer glasses over a pilsner glass because they tend to hold a smaller amount of beer.


Snifter

A snifter, which looks similar to a wine glass with a short stem, is a type of glass used for various alcoholic beverages, including whiskey, brandy, cognac, and even wine.

Its main goal is to keep the aromatics of the drink intact, which is why it can work well for various drinks.

I like drinking beer out of them because you can use the bowl-like shape and short stem to swirl your beer around and create a little “mini-tornado.”

This action will help release the beer’s aromas so you can enjoy them fully before taking a sip, which is why they’re perfect for strong beers like double IPAs.

The main downside of using a snifter is that it can be difficult to drink out of because of the small opening.


Stange Glasses

A stange glass is called such because stange means “rod” in German, and this glass looks similar to a rod as it is narrow and tall.

Drinkers often use this glass for Kolsch, a German beer style, and other lighter beers.

Instead of maintaining flavor, this glass is used to help intensify the aromas and flavors of these lighter beers.

I don’t drink out of stange glasses much because I don’t typically drink light beers. But when I am in the mood for a Kolsch, I highly appreciate a stange glass.


Weizen Glasses

Just like a chalice looks like a goblet, a weizen glass looks similar to a pilsner glass.

They are both taller and slender and have an indentation towards the base. However, weizen glasses typically have an overall rounder shape, especially around the mouth.

This more prominent curve towards the head of the glass is perfect for wheat beers because it helps entrap the foamy top so you can appreciate the wheat beer aromas for longer.

I like weizen glasses because they are tall enough that I feel like I am getting a good portion, but not so tall that it is difficult to drink out of.

Plus, the foamy top on a wheat beer is one of my favorite parts, so it is nice to appreciate it without having to try and chug it.


Thistle Glasses

A thistle glass is similar to a tulip glass but has a more elongated top that curves back outwards instead of staying inwards.

Thistle glasses are underrated, in my opinion, because they include many aspects of a great beer glass.

You get the stem that makes it easy to both hold and swirl. You also get the bowl-like feature that’s great for swirling and holding in the aromas and flavors.

Finally, you get the outward curvature at the top, making it smooth and easy to drink.

IPAs and other stronger beers are excellent in a good thistle glass.


Types of Beer Glasses

  1. Beer Mugs
  2. American Pint Glasses
  3. Tulip Glasses
  4. Chalices
  5. Beer Steins
  6. Goblet
  7. Pilsner Glasses
  8. Snifter
  9. Stange Glasses
  10. Weizen Glasses
  11. Thistle Glasses

Final Thoughts

There are various types of beer glasses, and the one you use is ultimately up to personal preference and favorite beer of choice.

I tend to gravitate towards pint glasses, beer steins, tulip glasses, and thistle glasses because I like strong beers and find those glasses easier to hold.

But some prefer stange glasses for lighter beer choices, goblets for their intriguing look, or beer mugs for chugging at the bar.

I hope you now feel more confident about your beer glass choices in the future! And if you prefer a certain type of beer glass, let us know in the comments below why it’s your favorite.

Whether you’re drinking non-alcoholic beers or light beer for the summer, use the right glass from our list!

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Written by Erin Elizabeth

Erin lives in East Passyunk and enjoys checking out the local restaurants in South Philly and beyond. Her favorite restaurants are those with spicy food and outdoor seating so that she can bring along her dog, Miss Piggy.