Choose the Right Beer Glass, Get the Most Out of Your Brew

Categories: Beer Beer Beer

Sietske from nl
Some appropriate glassware: a high-footed tulip, a regular tulip, a snifter, and a straight nonic.
For craft beer lovers, there's nothing quite like cracking open a bottle of that highly sought-after imperial stout, or even simply a well-made pale ale, after a long day at work while sitting comfortably and decompressing. You've got the product down, but are you getting the most out of your beer?

Many will already be familiar with the disdain many have for the use of the ubiquitous straight-walled tumbler glass, but where do you go from there? Why get different glasses at all? The simple answer is for the taste. The more complicated one includes aesthetics.

"The best beer glasses bear a strong resemblance to wineglasses," says Garrett Oliver, brewmaster at Brooklyn Brewery and author of The Oxford Companion to Beer. "As with wine, any beer that is truly to be tasted rather than simply drunk must be swirled or rotated in the glass.

"Beer served in stemmed glassware will maintain its temperature better; the liquid will not be warmed by the heat of the drinker's hand."

So now that we have a direction to head in, let's explore some of the options available to us in the beer glass scene.

CC / Leonid Mamchenkov
A nonic glass.
The standard, everyday beer glass. Most of these in America will be the straight-edged tumbler designs. The best ones to drink from as an everyday pint are the Guinness-styled glasses. They are slightly tulip-shaped and accommodate a full 16 ounces of beer with enough room for a two-finger head. Full capacity is generally around 20 ounces. These are perfect for pale ales, amber ales, dry stouts, and especially sessionable beers.

The narrow waist helps to support the frothy head of certain beers, especially ones that derive a lot of their flavor character from yeast. You should be able to get your nose in and smell, and -- most important -- enjoy it as an aspect of the drinking experience.

Use this for Biere de Gardes, red ales, lambics, dark and pale strong ales, saisons, and almost any Belgian-styled beer that's not monastic.

Feast like a king with a chalice of Trappist beer. These types of glasses are great for big sipping beers. They're more traditional than other glassware and make an attractive visual statement about the quality of beer inside.

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