Beer School Recap: Proper Glassware – It’s Not Just for Beer Snobs

Beer School Recap: Proper Glassware – It’s Not Just for Beer Snobs

Does Beer Even Need a Glass?

If you’re at home or a bar, then YES! Camping, hiking, and drinking near the ocean are exceptions (or drinking a Heady Topper). What does the glass do that a beer can or bottle doesn’t? It can actually decrease how burpy you get. When beer is poured into a glass, it loses some carbonation, and therefore you swallow less gas. BUT, it doesn’t just prevent you from sounding like Barney from the Simpsons. Proper glassware also helps you to get all of the flavor out of your beer.

Taste is not the only sense used to enjoy a beer. The sound of beer pouring into a glass is the most beautiful sound you’ll ever hear. Sight and smell also weigh in. Glassware helps you to see the liquid, and it helps you to smell the aroma. The smell before the taste is huge! If you get that amazing smell before you have even tasted your beer, it’s going to cause you to enjoy the taste even more. Of course, this depends on the beer and the glass. So…

Imperial Stout in a Snifter Glass.

Which Beer gets Which Glass?

ABV plays a role in this. Lower ABV beers tend to be in bigger glasses that lean toward a pint glass or mug, to get bigger gulps. Higher ABV, tend to be more flavorful, and are better served in glasses that are rounded at the top allowing aroma to be trapped, and smaller sips to be taken. Head retention is another factor that comes into play, depending on the style. Like with many things beer, a google search will send you down a rabbit hole. There are a few glasses that everyone agrees with, but many recommend different glasses. Some breweries will tell you on the can or bottle what glass to use, and I LOVE that! But, most do not. So, we’re going to follow the Cicerone guidelines, with a few tweaks here and there. Cicerone is basically a beer sommelier.

Proper Glassware

This is not an exhaustive list, but it’s enough.

  • Shaker Pint: Murica beer. You know exactly what I mean. The aroma escapes in this wide mouth glass, but you’re drinking it super cold to mask the lack of flavor, so a basic pint glass is perfect.
  • Snifter: Imperial Stouts, Strong Ales, DIPA, Belgium Dark Ales. The shape here keeps the aroma in the glass and allows you to be able to enjoy the aroma with each small sip. You can even swirl it for increased aroma.
  • Footed Pilsner: German & Czech Pilsners. Wide mouth increases carbonation and head retention, which can help release flavor and aroma. 
  • Goblet/Chalice: Belgium Strong Ale, Belgium Dubbel and Tripel. Berliner Weisse. The wide mouth helps to maintain head, and allows you to get deep sips.
  • Tulip: Belgium Style Abbey Ales, IPA, Saison, Scotch Ale, Imperial Stouts. This is another good glass to swirl around as you plot some evil revenge, and release more amazing aromas from your beer. 
  • Flute: Vienna Lager, Lambic, Flanders Red Ale. This glass showcases carbonation, and intense aroma.
  • IPA: IPA. I personally hate this glass, but supposedly the ripples on the bottom stir up aroma with each sip. To each their own.
  • Weizen Vase: Any wheat beer that isn’t also a sour. These glasses are extra big to create a larger amount of head to stay at the top to maintain aroma. The thin bottom, allows the yeast to stay at the bottom while you drink.
  • Willi Becher: European Lagers.
  • Beer Mug! Used for Oktoberfests. Lagers under 6%. Stouts. The handle helps keep the beer cold, as does the thicker layer of glass, compared to other glassware. 
  • Stange: Kolsch, Gose, Lambic. This is good for delicate beers, because it concentrates the liquid into a small space giving it more flavor.
  • Tulip Pint: Irish Stout. British and Irish Ales.
  • Nunic Pint: British and Irish Ales. IPA.
  • Teku: This glass has no rules. It is apparently very controversial. It’s my favorite! I drink any kind of IPA out of it, and occasionally darker beers too. So, do with it as you please.

Beer Clean

This is more important than you realize! For one, the cleanliness of your glass can impact the flavor of your beer. Second, if you post a dirty glass on social media, you will be judged whether you know it or not. I should warn you though. If you do not already know what ‘beer clean’ is, after this you will cringe anytime you see someone post a beer dirty glass.

Drying rack for beer glasses

If it is BEER CLEAN, there will be no carbonation sticking to the walls of the glass. So no tiny bubbles. You should also get nice head retention. As you drink, a clean glass will leave a nice lace around the inside.

So how to make sure your glass is beer clean at home? I’m glad you asked!

  • Don’t wash your glasses with dishes. Food residue can stick to your precious beer glassware. So, you’re gonna need to handwash.
  • Use a separate sponge to wash beer glasses, than you use for food dishes. Yes, I have 2 sponges in my sink, and yes, everyone thinks I’m crazy.
  • Use a natural dish soap. There are other weird recommendations out there because of the oils in dish soap, but I think using a natural one is ok. I’m no expert, but I’m also not running a brewery.
  • Let the glasses air dry on a rack with proper ventilation.
  • Rinse the glass with water immediately before putting beer in it.

So long as you follow thess beer clean “rules” and use “proper glassware” you can achieve the maximum flavor and aroma from your beer, and be called anything from beer smart, to fucking crazy! So, here’s to proper clean glassware. Cheers!

While "proper glassware" can achieve the most aromas and flavor, sometimes you just got to drink out of fun glasses. Just make sure they're "BEER CLEAN!" Cheers!
About the Author
Lauren, "The Hoppy Mommy" is our self-proclaimed Disney beer expert. She is a Florida native, and a Cicerone CBS, who is often found drinking at the most magical place on Earth, the beach, or a local brewery. From German imports that follow the Reinheitsgebot laws, to local craft beer, she is helping us find all the best brews throughout Disney World, and Central Florida. She is also half of our spinoff podcast, 'Hops GEEK News.'

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