Like wine, many beers’ underlying aromas and tastes are both influenced and complemented by the vessel in which they are served. This goes beyond visual appeal—although a well-poured beer in a sparkling glass certainly sharpens your anticipation of that first sip. The shape and construction of the glass are meant to enhance aroma and flavor, and maintain the beer’s optimal temperature, with different glass styles to suit the desired qualities of different beer styles.
Stop that bottle! Before you pour your beer into whatever you can grab from the cabinet or — gasp — gulp directly from the bottle or can, there is something you should know. The glass that you select to drink your beer from will affect the beer's flavor, as well as your overall tasting experience.
While glassware options are numerous—Belgian brewers, for example, are renowned for producing a specific glass for each type of beer—certain styles are reasonably versatile. So, if you want to enjoy your beer the way the brewer intended, there are a few key styles of glassware that you should stock in your home bar.
A delicate shape, for a style of beer with matching character. In the same manner that a champagne flute permits bubbles to rise through a narrow space, releasing carbonation and aroma gradually, the tall, slim pilsner glass allows the sustained stream of bubbles. The narrow glass also facilitates a tall head that helps the drinker to appreciate the characteristic hop notes. Pilsner drinkers look for “Brussels lace”—a lattice tracing of foam on the emptying glass.