I know there are already one or two questions that touch on specific beers. However, I would like more of a comprehensive list. I would also like to understand why those types of glasses are chosen. Is it for head retention? Breathability? Appearances?

up vote 22 down vote accepted

Function

Beer glassware serves a few primary purposes:

  • it is part of the branding of the beer (for beers with their own glass)
  • it presents the beer (beauty is in the eye of the beer holder) showcasing the beer's color, clarity and/or carbonation.
  • it influences how quickly volatiles (aromatics) are released
  • it influences how much beer can be consumed per sip (e.g. compare champagne flute vs. beer mug)
  • it can promote head retention (through the shape, plus small etchings in the base of the glass)

Some examples

  • A Pilsner glass is a long tall V-shaped glass. It emphasizes the color, clarity and effervescence of the Pilsner. It's similar in principle to the fluted champagne glass, but having larger rim, affords larger sips.

  • The traditional mug is a robust glass, primarly aimed at "chinking" glasses together and allowing large swallows of beer.

  • The challace/goblet can be beautiful pieces of work, designed to showcase the beer, and also promote and maintain a large head.

  • The tulip glass captures volatiles (in the narrow part of the glass) while the large opening at the top supports a large head.

  • The Sniffer, typically used for cognac/brandy, but also for very strong ales, has a large base that curves up to a small opening to capture the aromatics, and to allow for swirling to encourage more aromatics to be released.

  • The Stange, a long tall glass, amplifies the malt and hop characteristics by concentrating them in a smaller area, while also providing a simple elegant presentation of the beer. Often used with delicate beers.

  • The Weizen glass is similar to the pilsner glass, but larger (typically 0.5l minimum) with plenty of room for the large head typical of a wheat beer.

For more details and images, see Glassware for Beer.

  • Consider making this post community wiki; this way everyone can build upon it and create a much more comprehensive list. Thanks! – Sam Whited Jan 25 '14 at 13:43

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