Not too long ago, I’d have been comfortable pouring my beer into any old vessel. A stubby six ounce glass? Sure. Red solo cups? Hey, times are tough. But dressing up your DIPA in a cool teku doesn’t only make for great Instagram posts. Proper glassware helps accentuate the flavor and aroma of your favorite beer.
But don’t throw out your old glassware and fill your cupboard with pilsner glasses just yet. You already have a lot of the right glassware, you just might not be using it. Cognac snifters are great for big beers like tripels or barleywines. I regularly use wine glasses for saisons or sours. And a standard pint glass can still be used for pilsners after a long day, when you don’t have time for nuance or aroma.
I asked Ben Pratt, co-owner of As Is — one of our favorite beer bars in NYC — and Hop Culture’s Photography Manager, for his best and worst picks for beer glasses.
“The Rastal Teku. Every beer tastes better in a stemmed glass. The design is optimal for delivering the highest impact of concentrated aroma, which makes up a lot of what makes beer so delicious.”
“It’s got to be the shaker pint. There’s a reason why most modern beer bars have moved away from these things — they suck. Not only are they ugly and heavy, they are so wide that all of the volatile aroma compounds float off into the ether before they can be enjoyed,” he said. “Sure they’re fine for chugging an everyday lager, but anyone serious about beer should consider something a bit more delicate.”
Very few people have the shelf space for every beer glass, but to really get the most out of your beer it’s worth investing in a few proper glasses. Our office has a total of three glasses, which you’ll find below, that handle just about any drinking situation.
What to drink: Just about anything. But the shape of the glass, and its ability to funnel aroma to the nose and retain the head of a pour, makes this perfect for a pungent IPA. While Rastal makes the classic Teku, those looking for a slightly more elegant design should check out the Luigi Bormioli Birrateque Tester pictured in this article lead photo.
Height: 7.7 inches
Capacity: 14.2 ounces
Luigi Bormioli Michelangelo Napoleon
What to drink: Belgian IPAs, saisons, tripels, and essentially anything Belgian. Note that this is technically a brandy glass, but we’ve found it’s suited perfectly for Belgian beers. For a sturdier version of this glass, the Libbey Belgian Glass is always dependable.
Capacity: 13.25 ounces
Nachtmann Vivendi Stemmed Pilsner Glass
What to drink: Pilsners, helles lagers, dunkels, and witbiers. While you might lean toward the classic, skinny and tall pilsner glass of your favorite beer hall, we find that the elongated shape tends to be frustrating to clean. The one that hangs around our offices the most is the Libbey Wine Taster Glass, which is dependable in pretty much every drinking situation.
Height: 7.25 inches
Capacity: 15.1 ounces
UPPING YOUR GAME
Spiegelau IPA Glass
What to drink: IPAs and pale ales.
Height: 7.3 inches
Capacity: 19.2 ounces
Stange Beer Glass
What to drink: Kölsch, pilsners, goses, and lambics. Note: This is a half pour glass, which is perfect for sharing beers or partaking in some light day drinking.
Height: 6.4 inches
Capacity: 6.8 ounces
Libbey Can Beer Glass
What to drink: Anything from a can.
Height: 5.25 inches
Capacity: 16 ounces
207th Anniversary Oktoberfest Stein
What to drink: Marzens, oktoberfests, dunkels, and bocks.
Height: 10.9 inches
Capacity: 25 ounces
Libbey Hoffman House Goblet Glass
What to drink: Berliner weisses, dubbels, tripels, quads, and Belgian strong ales. Anything that can be drunk while holding a sword.
Height: 6.1 inches
Capacity: 15.9 ounces
Tired Hands Dudely Teku
What to drink: The best beer you’ve ever tasted.