types of beer glasses on bar

The (MANY) Types of Beer Glasses & When to Use Them!

Originally Posted On June 3, 2023 and Last Updated On

Disclaimer: We independently review everything we recommend. We may earn a commission when you buy through our links. You can learn more here.

The (MANY) Types of Beer Glasses & When to Use Them!

Let’s face it, most of you decided to read this article about the types of beer glasses simply because the word beer caught your eye. After all, the majority of beer lovers tend to drink their beer straight from the bottle, a paper cup, or what ever else is available to catch their fine brew in.

Unless you happen to be a beer mug collector you probably haven’t given a single thought to what kind of glass beer should actually be drank out of, and if you did you probably would never imagine that there was actually a specific glass that should be used for specific kinds of beer just like there are differences in wine glasses.

Come on admit it, even if you heard the terms middy, pony, tulip, and schooner you probably didn’t think of them as something to drink beer out of, unless the word pony brings up visions of those small beer kegs that are so plentiful at frat parties.

If this is the case, and it probably is, then this article can change you from being simply a beer lover to beer connoisseur. That’s right you will soon be able to impress your friends by knowing which style of glass to drink which type of beer out of. And if you want to learn about bar glassware in general, I’ve written an awesome article about bar glass types here.

Beer Steins

Beer stein

Beer steins have been around since the 14th century and are considered by some to be more a work of art than something you can drink from. In fact, a lot of people collect steins and some of them can actually be worth thousands of dollars. So maybe a cool hobby to start? Just don’t use the kid’s college fund!

|After doing a bit of research on these I learned that beer steins are actually the result of the bubonic plague which caused the Germans to create laws for all drinks in public places to be covered to keep from spreading more disease. It makes sense. So they came up with the stein which still to this day comes with a lid, usually made of pewter and highly decorated.

I’d assume that each bar over time wanted to make their steins better than their competitions which eventually lead to these things becoming so ornate. But I don’t have anything scientific to prove this.

The word “stein” is of German origin, and it means either “stone jug/mug” or “stone goods.” which makes perfect sense.

And although I have drunk from these things all over the world, I was never really a fan as they’re heavy. And as much as I like they seem to keep your beer cold and I do appreciate a heavy pint glass, they’re still a bit ‘much’ for my taste. I definitely prefer a simple nicely made pint glass.

Some of the current producers of steins are Liegl Kaiser Porcelain, the largest producer of beer steins in the world, and they specialize in promotional products for companies and organizations, primarily Budweiser.

Pilsner Glasses

Pilsner Glass

Pilsner glasses are a type of beer glass that are tall, slender, and conical in shape, with a slightly wider mouth than the base. These are super common in American bars and are usually made from thin glass with a heavy foot to keep the glass from tipping, although I’ve seen plenty of that in my years as a bartender!

They idea of these glasses is to show off the beer and its bubbles in beers like pilsners and other lighter beers and their shape helps keep the head on the beer as long as possible. And of course who doesn’t like a little head, it always shows it’s a fresh beer and not flat. The proper varieties of beer to drink from these glasses are Pilsners and Witbiers.

The common pilsner glasses hold 8 to 10 ounces of beer, so they’re half or almost half of a pint glass as far as volume. And you may hear them being called European Pilsner glasses or Footed Pilsner glasses

Pilsner glasses are highly recommended for delicate beers like Kölsch, Bocks, Lambics, Gose, Czech Pilsners, Rye beer, Altbier, and Rauchbier.

Pint Glasses

Pint Glass with dark ale

Beer pint glasses are the most common type of beer glass used to serve mild ales, brown ales, and stouts and are definitely my personal favorite glass to use, regardless of what type of beer I’m drinking! These glasses are believed to have originated from actual pint jars that people drank beer out of in various pubs and bars.

Today, you can find them in every bar across America and most of the world for that matter. But one interesting thing to note is that the American pint glass is slightly wider at the mouth than at the base, and it is relatively inexpensive to manufacture and easy to clean and store.

You can also find these as promotional material like the famous Guinness glasses that are given to pubs and bars for free from the brewery, so if you own a bar, ask for some free swag!

The pint glass is by far the most popular beer glass used England as well.

Traditionally, this would hold 20 imperial fluid ounces, and you still find these used for many British ales and stouts with thick heads. However, an American pint holds 16 US fluid ounces and is the standard used today for most lagers, pale ales, and pilsners.

Flute Beer Glasses

Flute Beer Glass

Beer flutes are a type of beer glass that are made of thin glass and are generally delicate looking glasses that sit on the stem. They are tall, slim, and slightly wider at the mouth, and often hold between 6 and 10 ounces of beer.

While you can drink pilsners and Witbriers from a beer flute, they are really made for those more light and fruity beers that emulate wines. Flutes are designed to retain some of the same properties found in champagne, including active carbonation, an intense aroma, and a visually attractive presentation.

They are typically reserved for delicate beers, such as German Kölsch, to help intensify the flavors and aromas.

Thistle Beer Glasses

assortment of beer glasses

The beer thistle glass is a uniquely shaped glass that is designed specifically for Scottish ales and is a Scottish variant of the tulip glass. The glass is characterized by a short stem, bulbous bottom, and elongated top section that is noticeably more sharp and angular than that of the tulip glass.

The shape of the glass is designed to resemble Scotland’s national flower, the thistle. The enlarged structure of the glass concentrates the aroma of the beer, allowing for a more intense aroma upfront. The fine outward curve of the rim of the glass helps to maintain a foamy head and enhance hoppy or malty brews.

The thistle glass is typically reserved for Scottish ales, as the shape of the glass helps to intensify the beer’s unique aroma. The glass is a good substitute for a tulip glass or a goblet cup. The thistle glass is a great addition to any beer lover’s collection, especially for those who enjoy Scottish ales.

Tulip Glasses

Tulip Glass filled with Belgian ale

The beer tulip glass is a stemmed glass that is shaped much like the flower and is designed to help bring out the aroma of strong Belgian ales. It has a bulbous body and a flared lip at the top, similar to a brandy snifter.

The tulip glass is best suited for strong beers that have ample hop, including double stouts, saisons, Belgian beers, and other ales. The wide bowl on the tulip glass makes it easy to swirl the contents and release the aroma.

When buying a tulip glass, there are several interpretations of this style, so it is important to make sure you like what you’re buying. The Libbey Glass Belgian Style Stemmed Tulip is a popular option that supports a foamy head and makes aromas and flavors brighter.

Being stemmed, the tulip glass elevates the beer above your hands, protecting it from warming up too quickly. Overall, the tulip glass is a great choice for those who want to enhance the aroma and flavor of their beer.

Weizen Glasses

Weizen Glass

Weizen beer glasses are tall and shapely glasses designed to hold a full 18 ounces of wheat beer along with its large head. The design of the Weizen glass locks in the style’s signature banana and clove aromas and provides proper space for a thick, fluffy head.

The Weizen glass is thin-walled and has a lot of length to showcase the color of wheat beers. It is sometimes confused with pilsner glasses, but there are important distinctions. A Weizen glass typically holds about 1/2 liter of beer (compared to a pilsner’s 12 to 14 ounces) and boasts some attractive curvature.

The best beers for Weizen glasses include wheat ale, dunkelweizen, hefeweizen, kristalweizen, and weizenbock.

The Pony glass is a favorite in Australian pubs and is called a pony because it is designed to hold 1/5 of a pint of ale, which is around 4 to 5 ounces. Often, it’s similar in look to the Pilsner Glass only smaller. The Pony glass is just right for having with those luncheon sandwiches that pubs are well known for.

In addition to specific glasses for specific beer, there are also English pub glasses, general glass beer mugs, and general pub glasses.

Libby Beer Glass Styles

I’m mentioning this Libby product because I think it’s perfect for a home bar and comes with 6 different types of beer glasses to get you started on the right path.

This product is called the Libbey craft brew sampler and goes for around $30.00. Of course the set only includes one glass of each type so if you want to drink with a friend you will have to double your order. Or you could begin with a set of 4 or 6 beer mugs and then gradually add to your beer glass collection a little at a time.

Libbey Craft Brews Beer Glasses

And don’t forget you can hint to all those friends a relatives that one of these sets of beer glasses would make the ideal Christmas or Birthday gift.

If you are worried about missing out of freedom of drinking your beer straight from bottle or enjoying the casualness of those paper cups filled to overflowing from icy cold keg don’t be. There will always be a place in your life for the more casual enjoyment of beer.

You can simply save your beer glasses and your knowledge for those more formal occasions or when you simply want to impress those around you with you exceptional beer knowledge. Besides, there are just those time when a good cold glass of beer simply tastes better than drinking it from a bottle, though I’m not recommending that for your home brew.

So, go ahead and become a true beer connoisseur it just may add a whole new dimension of flavor to your beer drinking.

About the Author

  • Bill Allen

    I'm Bill Allen, the guy behind this site. I've been a bartender, bar owner and sitting on both sides of a bar for almost 35 years, so I have some experience in the whole mixology scene. And now I'm just building out my site with as much helpful content as I can share with you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *