Most of us, when craving a beer, don’t give much thought to what glass to use. In many instances, anything from your favorite Beer of the Month Club tastes awesome right from the bottle! But when serving others, there really IS value in choosing the right glass. For instance, Hefeweizen in a shapely glass showcases the graduated hues in the beer, and the wider top supports and shows off the billowing foamy head.
The standard Shaker pint, used for serving beers of all descriptions by most bars and restaurants, is chosen for no other reason than they stack well on the shelves. Not only is the Shaker visually uninteresting, the wide brim also encourages all the aromas to escape unnoticed, and the head to wilt.
Serving beer for maximum enjoyment? These few glasses will serve you well:
A gently-angled Willi Tumbler is taller, with a narrower brim than a Shaker. This holds the delicate aromas in place and actually enhances the appearance of the brew. Slender where your hand makes contact, there is less transfer of heat from your hand to your beer.
We all love the feel of a solid mug in our hand. And this vessel maintains the head, gives an easy grip for deep sips, and all but eliminates that dreaded heat transfer from hand to beer.
The Pilsner glass is tapered from the wide top to the slender fluted bottom, and enhances the carbonation and the golden hues in the brew. Best for cleanly brilliant beers, not the best choice for serving hazy or cloudy ones.
To serve a hefty Witbier or lambic, use a stout, sturdy tumbler with a wide top bowl and a narrower base. Thick walls make for a cool brew.
A rounded snifter encourages us to slowly sip (barley wine, imperial stout or other strong beer), as we swirl and agitate the brew, releasing the aromatic esters.
A chalice or goblet is great for malty strong beers. Shapes range widely. When scored at the bottom, it boosts the release of carbon dioxide, reinforcing the head.
Long, narrow flutes help some effervescent beer styles maximize their carbonation. Use with ales, fruit beers and Czech and German pilsners.