Choosing the Right Glass

By Chris Bailey August 20, 2012 Published in the July 2010 issue of Portland Monthly

CLOCKWISE Pint, Snifter, Weizen, Pilsner, Tulip, Mug.

A GOOD BARKEEP knows there’s more to serving beer than just reaching for a cold mug. “The wrong glass can be sacrilege to some,” says Leslie Bucher, the bar manager at North 45 pub. The correct vessel, she notes, is less about good looks than enhancing taste. Below, Bucher explains which glass works best for your suds.


A barroom staple, this familiar glass has a large surface area to help release the aromas of a variety of brews. Best for ales, porters, stouts, and most commercial beers.


The snifter’s wide bottom agitates volatiles—the oils behind a beer’s fragrant nose—enhancing flavor as you sip. Best for Belgian sours, red ales, and barleywine.


Designed specifically for wheat beers, this vessel’s leggy shape allows room for lots of airy—and aromatic—foam. Thin walls spotlight rich, golden tones. Best for hefeweizens.


A narrow body promotes carbonation, which floats the less assertive scents of certain lagers or pilsners toward the mouth of the glass. Best for Czech pilsners and lambics.


The bulbous base stirs up volatiles, while the tulip’s flared lip cradles a thick head of foam, intensifying aroma. Best for Belgian strong ales and Belgian-style IPAs.


The sturdy build can endure numerous clinks from rowdy pubgoers. And an offset handle keeps warm hands off the glass, helping beer stay cold. Best for Märzen and other German lagers.

Filed under
Show Comments