After seeing this Crate and Barrel poster last week (courtesy of The Beer Babe‘s Facebook page) and feeling bummed that people have been misinformed (what the hell is a “craft beer” glass?!) we decided to create our own glassware guide with some of the pieces we have on our shelves at Craft Beer Cellar in order to help you navigate the at-times overwhelming landscape of the stemware jungle.
Beer Advocate has a great glassware guide, and the Brewers Association has a great video that explains the difference between styles. So without further ado, here’s what’s going on in the image above, from left to right:
1. Pint. Also called “Shaker Pint” or “Nonic” if it has a slight bulge at the top. According to Randy Mosher in his book, Tasting Beer, these cups weren’t used for beer until the ’80s. The name came from its use in conjunction with a larger, metal cup to shake cocktails. Mosher says they don’t do much for the flavor or aroma of a beer, but they’re best used for American and English ales, Marzens, and low-gravity session beers. Jack’s Abby pint glass, $5.
2. Lager. Jim Koch designed this glass to be best for their lager, but the logic applies to any lager: the rounded shape collects aroma, the lip delivers the malt-forward flavor to the front of the tongue, the narrowed top helps with head retention, and the beaded rim creates turbulence that releases extra taste and aroma as the beer enters your mouth. Sam Adams lager glass, $5.
3. IPA. Sierra Nevada and Dogfish Head collaborated with Spiegelau to create this glass specifically meant for hop-forward brews. Laser etchings on the bottom sustain carbonation and head retention, the ridges aerate the beer which amplifies aroma and flavor, and a wide mouth keeps the aroma in your sniffer. We’ve heard from more than one source that these are fragile, though, so know that they require tender loving care! Sierra Nevada/Dogfish Head IPA glass (with Sierra Nevada logo), $10.
4. Wine. We think Beer Advocate says it best: “‘A wine glass for beer!?’ Yep, an oversized 22oz wine glass will be most suitable for serving most Belgian Ales. Its size allows for headspace, while the open bowl creates an amazing nose. A lot of smart beer bars are now serving their Belgian Ales in these. It also makes for a great crossover conversational piece. ‘Is that wine that you’re drinking? And you reply, ‘No, it’s De Ranke XX Bitter from Belgium. Wanna try?'” We’ll drink to that! Great for Belgian brews, Double and Imperial IPAs and Stouts, Barleywines, Saisons, and more. Pretty Things glass, $6.
5. Hefeweizen. So Crate and Barrel got this one right (one out of seven ain’t bad, right? Wrong.). The height and shape of this vessel, specifically the way it tapers inward, concentrates foam at the top. As the Brewers Association video points out, the size of the glass often correlates to the ABV of the beer that should be served in it. Lower ABV weiss beers do well in this often .5L capacity glass, which shows off color and head. As you tip the glass back to imbibe, the characteristic aromas of these brews (banana, clove, spices) are pushed to the nose. Perfect for all Weizen styles, Gose, and American Wheat Ales. Aventinus weizen glass, $15.
6. Pilsner. With its slender shape and outward tapered top, this glass shows off color and clarity, and supports head retention and carbonation. In addition to pilsners, these are great for Steam beers, light lagers, Munich Helles, Bocks, Schwarzbier, Vienna Lager, and Witbier. Left Hand Polestar Pilsner glass, $6.
7. Goblet. A big bowl is the hallmark of these glasses, and whether they’re thick and chunky or dainy and delicate, a wide mouth means big sips and lots of aroma while the overall shape holds head. Best for Belgian styles (Dubbels, Tripels, Quads, Strong Ales, etc.), goblets also seem to have more artistic variation than other glasses. Westmalle goblet, $15.
8. Tulip. Ahhh, ye olde tulip glass. This piece tapers inward, which holds aroma, while the outward flare supports a healthy head and again, keeps aromas close to your nose. The stem prevents unnecessary beer warming from your hands. Great for Ales, Pale and Strong Ales, IPAs, Lambic, and Gueuze. Fantome tulip, $25.
9. Snifter. Again, if ABV corresponds to the size of the glass, then this wee snifter is clearly meant for strong beers. Its smaller size and curvature retains scent and taste, while a wide, rounded bowl allows hands to warm whichever Barleywine, Wee Heavy, Russian Imperial Stout, or Imperial style you may be tippling. Night Shift snifter, $5.