If you've ever wondered which glass is best for your beer, Wonder Bar bartender Duane Gilleylen spills the hops on why certain ones improve the taste of your brew.
"It's an American way to get more beer in a glass," says Gilleylen. The sturdy handled mug holds voluminous amounts of our favorite brews and allows for hearty toasts among friends without fear of breaking the glass. "It's an American, corner pub kind of a thing. You can drink a lot at a time," he says. "You'll never see, with the exception of Christmas Ale, high-volume alcohol percentages in a mug."
This stately, skinny-tapered glass has a wider mouth to create more foam and thus more sensory satisfaction. It suits pilsners such as Great Lakes Brewing Co.'s The Wright Pils. "It's a little more fluted and allows, like a wine glass, the fruity aromas to open up that you would lose in a pint glass," says Gilleylen.
"Americans use pint glasses so often because we want to get the most of our beer," says Gilleylen. Heavier American beers and lager styles such as Magic Hat #9 fill this standard glass best because of their strong aromas and flavors. "A lot has come down from tradition," he says. "That's how they drink beer in England. No self-respecting working man was going to drink out of a flute [glass]."
The nose knows best when it comes to beers with complex flavors such as New Holland Dragon's Milk. "It's the same reason you put brandy in a snifter — it's so you can get your nose in there," says Gilleylen. The short stem and wide bottom transfers heat from your hand to enhance the aromas, and the small opening allows your snout to sniff the beer's nuances with each sip.
If you enjoy a dainty brew, then this might be your glassware of choice. The tulip opens at the top like a flute glass, but has a heartier stem. "The large bottom really helps capture the flavors and concentration of the beer's texture. It also helps create a large head on top of the beer, which is popular outside the United States," says Gilleylen. If you're going to use a tulip, Gilleylen suggests a delicate Belgian such as La Chouffe, a fresh and fruity golden blonde ale.
Weizen means wheat in German, so this glass is mostly used for wheat beers. The tall, thin curved glass has a wide opening at the top allowing air to enter as you sip, boosting the drinking experience. "It's about aroma and flavor profiling," says Gilleylen. The wider mouth also promotes a thick foamy head that intensifies the hoppy aroma in beers such as Weihenstephaner Hefe Weissbier.