There was a time in America when the vast majority of draught beer was served in a sham pilsner, a flat bottom glass with a sort of hour-glass cut designed to mimic the look of more expensive footed pilsner glasses. The sham pilsner is still used in some locations, but in many it has been replaced by the “pint,” which often is really not a true pint—holding something less than 16 ounces of beer.
Around the world, specific glassware is used for specific beers, sometimes because it improves the experience, sometimes as a marketing gimmick. True Beertenders know that the right glassware is part of the perfect pint experience. Here’s a quick guide to some classic glass shapes and the brews they are meant to hold:
Tulip Shaped Pint Glass: Irish-style dry stouts, Extra Special Bitter and IPA. Almost anything that has strong roots in the British Isles—except barley wine.
Footed Pilsner: Obviously pilsner lagers, plus certain seasonal beers, that can be put on display in the long, lean cone-shaped vessel.
Weizen Glass: Tall and lean, this is a specialty glass for German-styled wheat beers.
Footed Goblets: These are perfect for many Belgian ales, farmhouse ales and specialty products with unique aromas that are accentuated by the shape of the glass.
Mugs: Classic styled American and European lagers, along with some seasonals and British ales.