If you’re the type who grabs a pint glass no matter what style of beer you’re pouring into it, allow us to enlighten you. In Belgium, especially, there is often a different style of glass for each beer, and it’s not just about getting beer fans to purchase more merch. You’ve probably heard the phrase “head is good,” and there’s a deeper meaning to that snicker-worthy saying. As soon as beer hits the glass, its color, aroma and taste changes. The head acts as a sort of net for the volatiles in the beer that lead to aromas such as hop oils yeast fermentation by-products like esters, spices or other notes you may notice. Different styles have different head retention, so accordingly, different glasses will lead to the most optimal experience of your beer.
Here are ten proper vessels for your favorite beers:
#1 If you are drinking a Belgian IPA, Dubbel, Triple, or Belgian Strong Dark Ale you will want a Goblet.
This wide-mouthed glass is intended to help a beer maintain head, and lets the drinker take deep sips. Goblets are more gentle, with an extended stem, while chalices are heavier and have thicker walls. Some are scored inside to maintain a certain level of head at the top.
#2 If you are drinking an American Lager, Bock, Pilsner, or Blonde Ale you will want a Pilsner glass.
This tall glass showcases carbonation and color, but helps the beer hold its head and enhances its volatiles. It’s the accurate choice for paler Lagers with a lot of carbonation, and unlike a Weizen, a correct Pilsner glass has no curvature.
#3 If you are drinking a Belgian Dark Ale, Double/Imperial Stout, Double/Imperial IPA, India Pale Ale, or Saison you will want a snifter.
More generally associated with brandy, a Snifter glass is a respectable choice for capturing and enhancing aromas and volatiles, making it a solid choice for stronger varieties. Snifter glasses keep all the aroma in, and for big sweet beers it certainly works. You can also swirl these glasses around to release aromas.
#4 If you are drinking a Saison, Scotch Ale, Belgian Pale Ale, Belgian Strong Ale, or Double/Imperial Stout you will want a tulip glass.
With this curved shape, you get to have a great foamy head while volatiles are captured and heightened. Tulip glasses make aromas so much brighter. If the head is key for a beer, this is a respectable glass to go with. Tulips are preferred for strong brews or high-gravity beers like triples and quads.
#5 If you are drinking a Weizenbock, Wheat Ale, Kristalweizen, or Dunkelweizen you will want a Weizen Glass.
This glass shape, extended and flared at the top, is intended for head and volume. It also helps maintain the beer’s aroma. This variety demonstrates the color and head of wheat beers well, while trapping the sediment often found in them at the narrow bottom of the glass.
#6 If you are drinking an American Pale Ale, Oatmeal Stout, Scottish Ale, Irish Dry Stout, or English Bitter you will want a mug.
This acquainted handled glass makes for laidback drinking and allows for plenty of volume, and helps to keep your beer stay chilled longer because your hand isn’t directly on the glass. A tankard mug has a thick bottom and straight sides, and the stouter krug mug is curved with a dimpled surface.
#7 If you are drinking Biere Brut, Biere de Champagne, Vienna Lager, Lambic, or Flanders Red Ale you will want a flute.
Just as with champagne, a flute glass improves and showcases carbonation in a beer. It also allows for the faster release of volatiles, resulting in a more intense aroma.
#8 If you are drinking a Rye Beer, Lambic, Gueuze, Bock, or Gose you will want a stange.
This tall, slender, up-and-down glass is a traditional German style that allows for a tighter concentration of volatiles. This is a respectable style for more delicate varieties. Do not have one of these nearby? Sub in a Tom Collins glass.
#9 If you are drinking a Double/Imperial IPA, Double/Imperial Stout, India Pale Ale, Brown Ale, or Porter you will want a pint glass.
This glass is known as the standard pub shaker. It makes for easy storage and drinking. A shaker, or American pint glass, is tapered with traditional sides, and a nonic or British Pint has a curved notch about two inches from the rim that makes for easier gripping. An imperial or Irish pint is tapered and curved from the middle up, and usually used for porters and Irish stouts.
#10 If you are drinking a Belgian Dark Ale, Belgian IPA, Saison, Belgian Pale Ale, or American Black Ale you will want an oversized wine glass.
Yes, a wine glass – a big one. A 22-ounce wine glass is great for serving Belgian Ales, the Beer Advocate writes. It can also make do where you might use a tulip or goblet, if you don’t have one on hand.