I love beer, it’s definitely one of my favourite things in the world. One of the main reasons why I got into homebrewing is because I wanted to try myself out and see if I can make a good beer, and I’m really glad I did because now I can enjoy my beer just the way I like it. But if I’m being honest, I spent some time learning about homebrewing essentials before my first brew and these days I’m into learning more about beer glassware.
Believe it or not, there is a lot of art, history and a bit of science involved in the design of various beer glasses. There are so many types of mugs as there are styles of brew, I would say, and the shape of the glass really matters even though I didn’t believe it at first, but as I got more into homebrew, I learned some interesting things that I’d like to share with you. Whether it’s a beer stein glass, beer mug or pint, it was designed to either maintain the head, release carbonation at the proper rate or allow a better appreciation of the colour of your drink.
Different Types of Beer Glassware
When it comes to beer, the head, the foamy white or cream coloured substance that forms on the top when you pour your beer into the glass is very important. I mean, I always liked my beer with some foam, but I didn’t know that it’s a kind of lid that traps the volatiles in the beer. Some beer compounds, such as hops, specialty grains and other release volatiles that evaporate as they get in touch with the air and form the aroma of the beer.
According to many studies, the glass you’re sipping it from can have a big impact on your perception of the beer’s aroma and flavour. While drinking straight from the can or bottle seemed convenient when I was younger, these days I’m only drinking from a beer glass as it certainly gives a better depth of flavour and aroma and not to mention it can help reduce bloating and discomfort. Here are my top 5 favourites and the reasons why they got there.
Beer steins are sturdy glasses with a handle, most commonly used for German, English and American lagers. If you like these types of beer and glass that is easy to drink out of and cheers with, then you should definitely opt for a beer stein glass.
Traditionally, steins were made of different materials, including stoneware, pewter, porcelain, wood and silver. The term stein is an abbreviation of the word Steinzeugkrug, a German word for stoneware jug or tankard. A stein mug is an iconic German beer glass that was invented in the early 16th century, during the Bubonic Plague. For sanitary purposes, Germany mandated that beverage containers must be covered to keep flies from dropping into them.
One of their main characteristics was the hinged lid that covers the top of the mug and has a thumb lever, so it can be opened with one hand. Beer steins evolved over time and are commonly used today, however, some older styles are mostly regarded as souvenir glassware or ornamental and can be often seen in bars or the homes of beer enthusiasts, such as myself.
Historically, beer steins were decorated with glaze artwork and enamel and were known for their elaborate designs. Very often, the markings represented a place of origin, family crests or the names and ranks of their owners. Today, they are a symbol of the Bavarian cosiness and you can see Oktoberfest fans enjoying their beer from a traditional stein. Every beer lover appreciates the distinctive experience of drinking out of a stein glass. And I can tell you that sipping a delicious brew from a stein feels a bit special and brings aroma, flavour and history together.
A beer mug is probably the first one that comes to mind when you think of beer glasses. It’s evolved from stein glass and is one of the most popular beer glasses you can find. Mugs are best for Scottish ales, Irish dry stouts and American ales and lagers. They are available in a variety of sizes and styles, robust and easy to use, and most importantly, hold a lot of beer. What’s even better is that they have relatively thick walls for durability and insulation and keep your beer cold.
Pint beer glasses are a great choice for a wide range of beer, including IPAs, ales, lagers and pilsners. There are many different kinds of pint glasses and one of their main advantages is that they are easy to clean and simple to stack, which is one of the main reasons why they got in my top 3. And also, because a pint glass was the first glass I ever had a beer in, which is no surprise as bars love to stock pint glasses.
When carefully selected, your beer glass can become much more than just a container for your beer. I like sharing my homebrew with family and friends, and I have noticed that serving my beers in proper glasses highlights their characteristics and turn the beer experience into one of a kind.