With more breweries now producing beer in the US than at any other time, it’s not surprising that many of us like to make the time to sit down and enjoy an ice cold beer! Although a lot of will grab a handy shaker glass for our beer, the shaker is now falling from grace and being replaced by other types of beer glass.In this article we take a look at some of these different types of beer glass and discover why more people are now using these to enjoy the latest craft beers. We also review some of the best beer glasses available in a selection of styles, to help you find the best glasses for your favorite beers.
The Libbey Craft Brews glass set containing six different glasses for a wide selection of craft beers and lagers is our best pick of the beer glasses.
The ARC International Luminarc pub beer glasses as traditional one pint lead-free and US-manufactured glasses are our budget pick beer glasses.
Table of Contents
- Quick Comparison: Top 10 Best Beer Glasses
- 1. Libbey Craft Brews Assorted Beer Glasses
- 2. ARC International H6480 Luminarc Pub Beer Glass
- 3. Host Freeze Mug Insulated Plastic Beer Glasses
- 4. Libbey Belgian Beer Glass
- 5. Stella Artois 2-Pack Original Glass Chalice
- 6. Guinness Beer Tulip Pub Pint Glasses
- 7. HB"Hofbrauhaus Munchen" Dimpled Glass Beer Stein
- 8. Spiegelau 4991381 Stout Craft Beer Glasses
- 9. Kitchen Lux Pint Beer Glasses
- 10. Luigi Bormioli Birrateque Craft Beer Glasses
- Things to Consider Before Buying Beer Glasses
Quick Comparison: Top 10 Best Beer Glasses
1. Libbey Craft Brews Assorted Beer Glasses
The Libbey Craft Brews glass set is a set of six different styled glasses for various types of beer. Designed to bring out the flavors and aromas of the beers, the glasses are a 23 fl. oz wheat beer glass, a 20 fl. oz craft pub glass, a 20 fl. oz English pub glass, a 16.6 fl. oz Belgian ale glass a 15.25 fl. oz pilsner glass and a 14.75 fl. oz stout/porter glass.Suitable for cleaning in the dishwasher, these glasses are made from lead-free glass. Some recent buyers have been disappointed that these glasses have arrived damaged, and there can be the odd flaw in one or more of the glasses.
2. ARC International H6480 Luminarc Pub Beer Glass
Made in the US, the set of four ARC International Luminarc pub beer glasses have a 16 fl. oz (one pint) capacity. Made from lead-free soda ash glass, these are suitable for cleaning in the dishwasher, although some buyers consider these more fragile than other glasses so they will need careful handling, to reduce the risk of cracks or chips. There is also a risk of shipping damage.
3. Host Freeze Mug Insulated Plastic Beer Glasses
The set of two Host Beer FREEZE cooling cups are 16 fl. oz (pint) double walled glasses made from transparent BPA-free plastic. Between the walls there is a proprietary cooling gel, which after storing in the freezer for two hours will keep beer cold (between 38°F and 42°F) for hours.These glasses also have an insulated gray silicone band around the outer middle to stop your hands from getting too cold. These glasses should be hand washed after use. A number of owners have found that these glasses can begin to leak soon after purchase and there is also a risk of the plastic beginning to crack.
4. Libbey Belgian Beer Glass
The pair of Libbey Belgian beer glasses have a rounded bowl to allow you to warm the beer by heat transfer from your hand. These lead-free glasses with a one pint/16 fl. oz capacity also have a tapering top to enhance the aroma of the beer.These glasses will need a good cleaning on arrival, as they can arrive dirty/dusty and the odd repeat buyer has found that there can be a difference in quality between orders. As with any glasses, there can also be a risk of shipping damage.
5. Stella Artois 2-Pack Original Glass Chalice
With a 11.16 fl. oz capacity, the Stella Artois glass chalices will each hold one bottle of Stella Artois. These tulip style glasses have a full color logo and a gold rim, and the printed star stem helps keep the beer crisp. These are safe to clean in the dishwasher.Some buyers are disappointed that these are smaller glasses and the capacity is limited if you want to use them for other brands of beer/lager. As tulip glasses these can also be more fragile than typical beer glasses.
6. Guinness Beer Tulip Pub Pint Glasses
Containing four glasses, the Guinness pub pint glass set is official Guinness merchandise. These tulip shape glasses actually have a 20 fl. oz or 1.25 pint capacity (as a ‘nonic’ pint) and each glass has a different Guinness design, including traditional logos, colors and the Guinness harp. These glasses can be cleaned in the dishwasher.Some buyers have found that these may be wrapped individually rather than in one box, and a number of these glasses may have very visible seams.
7. HB"Hofbrauhaus Munchen" Dimpled Glass Beer Stein
With a one liter (33.8 fl. oz) capacity, the Hofbrauhause München (HB) stein is a handled glass/mug complete dimples. This glass stein is official HB merchandise with the blue HB logo, and it has been imported from Germany. This dishwasher safe stein is very heavy – weighing just under 3 lbs., which means it may not be suitable for all beer drinkers.The HB logo can fade quite quickly, especially when washed in the dishwasher, and the odd buyer has also been disappointed that the logo has been printed onto the seam of the stein.
8. Spiegelau 4991381 Stout Craft Beer Glasses
The German-made Speigelau craft stout glasses (4991382) have a slim shape to enhance aroma and can be used for serving pilsners as well as stouts. This set of four lead-free crystal glasses have a 21 fl. oz capacity. The glass of these may be thinner than expected, which can increase the risk of breaking, and the manufacturer does recommend that these are hand washed rather than in the dishwasher.
9. Kitchen Lux Pint Beer Glasses
The twin pack of Kitchen Lux pint beer glasses are ideal all-purpose tumblers as well as beer glasses. These shaker glasses have a one pint (16 fl. oz) capacity and as well as coming gift boxed, they are suitable for cleaning in the dishwasher.As with any glasses, there can be a risk of them being damaged during shipping and some owners consider that the glass is thinner than they expected.
10. Luigi Bormioli Birrateque Craft Beer Glasses
Designed and produced in Italy, the Luigi Bormioli Birrateque Collection IPA/white beer glasses have a bowl shaped for IPA and white beers. These glasses are designed for the fine and compact foams of IPAs and they also have a laser etched circle on the inner base of the glass to control foam release.With an 18.25 fl. oz capacity, these premium glasses are made from lead-free crystal glass and can be cleaned in the dishwasher. If you do wash these by hand, you may find it awkward to clean the residue from the bottom of the glasses due to their shape.
Things to Consider Before Buying Beer Glasses
Beer has been around for the last 11,000 years or so, probably first served in animal skins, then later, terracotta pots. Pottery started to replace terracotta until around 2,000 years ago when Phoenicians began glassblowing. As these craftsmen began to spread through Europe, the demand for glass bowls increased, although many people still drank out of wooden or earthenware vessels as they could not afford glass.
By the 1300s, wooden tankards were in use in Europe, but as the plague spread across Europe and people became concerned about infection, the tankard evolved into a lidded tankard that would often be made from pewter. This was also known as a stein.
Before early settlers in Virginia began to brew their beer from corn in the 1500s, the Native Americans had been making their beer in this way for some time. In 1612, the first US brewery was opened in New Amsterdam (now Manhattan) by two Dutch explorers.
By 1810, there were just 132 breweries in the US, but with the influx of European citizens and their preference for all-malt lagers, this increased to 4,131 breweries. By 1873, the demand for German and other European-style lagers had outstripped that of traditional British-style ales.
At the same time, glasses were becoming cheaper to produce, and because glass allowed drinkers to see exactly what was in their drink, more people started to use them for beer. Up to this point, beers has often been heavy in sediment which could not easily be seen when the ale was served in a wooden or pewter tankard. The improvements in brewing techniques was also contributing to the decline in beer sediment.
Beer was served in the smaller goblet style glasses, and by the 1880s, as many US breweries were expanding and pasteurization was allowing them to send their beers further away, early forms of advertising began to appear on beer glasses. At this time, the pint beer glass could only be found in a ‘British’ pub.
As many breweries closed down during Prohibition - the time when producing or distributing alcohol which contained more than 0.5% alcohol by weight was illegal - it was not until 1933 when the Cullen-Harrison Act re-legalized beer up to 3.2% alcohol by weight and later that year, Prohibition was officially ended.
However, post-Prohibition beer was lower quality and as it was lower strength compared to pre-Prohibition, people wanted (or needed) to drink more.
As a result, the shaker glass - half the Boston cocktail shaker - came into everyday use as it was low cost, durable and always had a 16 fl. oz capacity which was more than the usual goblet glasses and beer mugs in use at the time.
The shaker remained a popular glass as homebrewing increased alongside the 1978 bill which made it legal for adults to homebrew beer and wine with more than 0.5% alcohol. However, with the advent and subsequent growth of American craft brewers in the late 1980s, the need for glasses that enhanced the drinking experience of quality beers also increased.
Even today, beer is still commonly served in 16 fl. oz shaker glasses. Although the shaker is a great all-purpose tumbler for a range of non-alcoholic drinks as well as beers, the disadvantage of a shaker glass is that it allows beer to warm quickly (from being held in the hand), and the shape of the glass prevents the aromas from the beer being released properly.
There are now more breweries in the US than there has ever been. Including brew pubs and micro-breweries, there are currently over 7000 breweries.
Different Types of Beer Glasses
The shaker or American pint glass is similar in purpose to the British nonic pint. A traditional nonic (or ‘no-nick’) pint has a larger 20 fl. oz capacity (known as an ‘imperial’ pint) and like the shaker is an all-purpose glass used for lower alcohol beers and lagers; although a nonic pint can be better for serving darker beers or stouts.
A chalice or goblet glass has a large bowl with a thick stem to keep the beer colder. This style of glasses can be used for beers that are more complex, including IPAs.
IPAs have quite a long history in the US and Canada. Originally a British beer, developed in around 1840 it was called IPA (India Pale Ale) as one brewery was one of the first known to export beer to India, and the beer was also popular with East India Company traders that were situated near to the brewery. The IPA of the time was a paler ale than those traditionally brewed, as the malt was now being coke-fired; making it lighter.
Breweries in the US were known to be brewing IPA before 1900 and today’s American IPAs are brewed with distinctive American hops. West Coast IPAs tend to have a lower malt and higher hop presence than their East Coast counterparts and East Coast IPAs often use specialty malts and European hops which are spicier.
The double, or Imperial IPA is usually higher than 7.5% alcohol by volume and is thought to have originated from a Californian brewery in the 1990s. New England IPAs are more citrusy, juicy and floral with low bitterness and a hazier appearance. Having been around for less than a decade, the New England IPA was recently recognized as a Juicy or Hazy India Pale Ale by the Brewer’s Association.
IPAs are now one of the most popular craft ales available and frequently feature in annual beer awards.
IPAs can also be served in tulip glasses. Similar in shape to a chalice or goblet glass, the tulip glass has a flared rim that suits IPAs and other beers that more sour and have lower foam. It can also be popular for serving up stronger beers. The thistle glass can also be used for these types of beers. Similar in shape to the tulip glass, the thistle glass has been elongated in height and has slightly less curve around the rim.
A stout glass will often can have thinner walls, as thinner walls can keep beer colder than a pint glass by 2.5 degrees after five minutes. The shape of a stout glass also concentrates the aromatics of the stout under the nose and the angle of the thinner lip allows the stout to move across the tongue for a greater taste experience.
Like IPAs, American stouts are a big contributor to today’s brewing businesses. Traditionally, a stout was always the strongest version of a particular brew; whatever its color. By the early 1700s, porter was being brewed in London - a stronger brew that was heavier on the hops and wood-aged for complexity.
Dublin brewers learnt to brew porter from the London’ brewers and the Dublin brews evolved into Irish stouts, including Guinness, which actually made its stout London-style. Many of today’s stouts, even American stouts, have overtones of these old versions that were first brewed over 150 years ago.
The first American stouts appeared in the late 1970s. The blend of dark malts with American hops helps give American stout its distinctive appearance, flavor and aroma. Often more popular during fall and winter, American stout suits game meats, strong cheeses and soups.
Tall and slim pilsner glasses show off lighter beers and pilsners and also help keep the head on these so that the aroma stays under the nose. A pilsner is a lager beer which originated in the Czech Republic. A pilsner has a lighter color than a lager and with its strong hop and spicy floral flavor, pilsner has become a popular choice. Beers such as Coors and Budweiser are made in the pilsner style.
Lighter pilsners along with rye beers, altbiers and Kolsch biers can also be served in a smaller stange glass. This is a tall and thin cylindrical glass which helps keep the head and the carbonation of the drink while concentrating aroma under the nose. At one time stange glasses were only 6.5 fl. oz glasses, but these are now available as larger 12 to 13 fl. oz glasses – enough to hold a bottle of beer.
The weizenbier or wheat beer glass is another specialist glass, as well as the beer flute. Similar to a champagne glass, a beer flute is suitable for sparkling beers and light pilsners and the flute shape of the glass promotes carbonation to keep a better head while concentrating aromas under the nose. Oversized (22 fl. oz) wine glasses are also suitable for serving Belgian beers in as the large bowl helps concentrate the aromas!
In this article we have delved into some of the history of beer and of beer glasses, both in the US and across the world, and seen how both of these have evolved to create the demand for suitable glasses to enjoy the wide range of today’s beers.If you enjoy a regular beer, or your tastes run more to IPAs, stouts or European-style lagers, then we hope you have enjoyed reading about these and why today’s glasses enhance the experience of drinking these beers and lagers. We also hope you found our reviews of the best beer glasses helpful, whether you are a long-time beer drinker or are just starting to explore the world of craft beers.