Let us do a simple test. Try the same beer directly from the can or bottle, then pour her in a solo cup and finaly in a glass. If you noticed difference in taste the next logical questions are “How can the matterial and shape affect taste?” and “Why are there so many different beer glasses?”
The short answer is yes, the material and the shape of the container make a difference. Much like every beer style has different serving temperature, likewise they are served in different glassware. Let us learn about these different glasses and their properties.
The first shape that comes into mind when we think of beer. It is used mainly for Lager and in general, beers that are served cold and in large quantities. The big rim allows the drinker to take big sips, while the handle does not allow body heat transfer to the beer thus remaining cold. It might seem counter productive since the large diameter of the rim allows large area of the liquid to exchange heat with the environment, but the main goal of the beer mug is to be empty before it gets warm. Usualy they have inner decoration which helps carbonation so that there is always a little foam on the top of the mug.
It is the simplest glassware we can find in a shop. Narrow bottom that stretches in diameter as it gets higher, usualy without any decoration on the inside or outside. One of the most versatile glasses since it can be used for varius styles of beer, from the most common, like Lager or Pils, to IPAs, Stous and Porters as well.
These are thin tall classes that sometimes have a narrow midle. As their name idicates, they are used mainly for Pilsners and in general clear beers. The lack of decoration allows the drinker to enjoy the transparency of the beer, while the wider neck gives the nessecary space for the foam to develop.
By default, big and heavy glasses that have a volume of at least 500 ml or 7/8 of a pint and are used for Weiss and Wheat beers. The rim is weider than the bottom and has a curvature facing the inside. By doing that, the glassmakers create space for the rich foam while making sure that there are no spills and that the rich aromas are trapped inside for the drinker to enjoy at every sip.
Tulip and Thistle Glasses
Those two glasses have little differences and are used for the same beers and the only reason to pick one over the other is aesthetics. Both have a base with a small stem like a wine glass and a rounded bottom. Tulip (left), gets narrow close to the rim and then gets an outwards curvature, while Thistle (right), has more rounded bottom and the narrowing is closer to the bottom where the outwards curvature starts to appear. This change in shape helps the foam last longer and at the same time has enough space for whirling beer on the bottom. Both of the glasses are used for malty beers, such as Scottish ales, Double IPAs, Belgian Ales and Barley Wines.
Goblets and Challices
They are amongst the flashier glasses. Both Goblets and Challices have a long thick stem that connects the base with a glass of single diameter, usualy having more intricate decoration. They are the glasses of choice for beers that are heavier on alcohol like Belgian Ales, German Bocks and Trappists and they are often used for analysing aromas.
They resemble the glasses used for cognac and they come in varius sizes. Sniffers have rounded shape and narrowed rims in order to preserve the aromas inside of the glass. We try not to fill them to the rim so that we maintain room for whirling. They present the best option for beers with strong aromatic profiles such as Imperial, Double and Belgian IPAs or Dubbel, Tripel and Quadrupel Trappists. Their elegance and their ability to enchance the beer aromas make them the glass of choice for every beer enthusiast.