The History of the Traditional German Beer Mug

is an integral part of German culture, and the nation has a long history of creating traditional beer mugs. The most iconic beer mug in Germany is called a “Maß” or “Stein”. This word translates to “measure” or “stone”, respectively, and is used to refer to a one-litre glass beer mug or its contents.

The Maß was created in the 14th century and is popular throughout Germany and Austria, where it is spelled “Maß” or “Mass” (both spellings are permissible). In Switzerland, it is spelled as “Mass.” This traditional beer mug typically holds up to half a litre of beer. Marzen beers are usually served in a stein, as this type of beer pairs perfectly with the stoneware material that makes up the mug.

The lid of the Maß was designed after the plague spread acros Central Europe in the 16th century. To protect food and drink from deadly mosquitoes, a decree was issued that all containers should be covered accordingly. As such, lids were made for these mugs to ensure that any drinks were safe from insects and other pests.

Today, the Maß remains an important part of German culture, as well as Austrian and Swiss culture. It can be found at festivals, pubs, and other celebrations throughout central Europe as people pay homage to their historical roots when drinking their favourite beverages. Whether you are visiting Germany for its diverse culture or simply enjoying a cold brew on your own time, you can find yourself sipping from a Maß – just like generations before you have done so!

German Beer Mug 1677073270

The Name of the Big Beer Glasses Commonly Used in Germany

In Germany, the large beer known as Maß (or Mass), which hold a full liter of beer, are popular in Bavaria and other southern German states. Die Maß is the feminine form of the word, while das Maß is the neuter form. The same word is used to refer to a one-litre glass beer mug or its contents. The spelling “Maß” or “Mass” is permissible in Germany and Austria, while it is spelled “Mass” in Switzerland.

The Traditional German Beer Tankard or Mug

A traditional German beer tankard or mug is known as a stein. Steins are made of stoneware, a kiln-fired ceramic material that has been used since the 14th century. They typically hold up to half or one litre of beer, and feature a handle and lid to help keep the beer cold. The word “stein” is an abbreviation of the German word “Steinzeugkrug” which translates to “stoneware jug” or “tankard”. The iconic shape and size of steins make them a popular choice for serving Marzen beers.

The Purpose of Lids on German Beer Mugs

In 16th century Central Europe, the area was plagued with swarms of mosquitos, which posed a danger to food and drink containers. In response, German brewers developed beer mugs with lids to protect the beer from contamination by these insects. The lids were usually made from metal or ceramic and often featured a hinged lid that allowed for easy access. The lid also helped keep the beer fresher for longer by preventing it from evaporating too quickly. The removable lid also provided an extra layer of protection against spillage and unwanted debris, such as bugs or leaves, entering the mug. Today, German beer mugs with lids remain popular in pubs and taverns across Germany and beyond due to ther practicality and unique design.

What Is the German Word for Beer Mug?

In Germany, a beer mug is typically referred to as a Bierkrug or Bierstein. Bierkrug generally refers to a mug made of glass or ceramic, while Bierstein is used to describe a mug made of stoneware. Both types of mugs may also have lids, often made of pewter, and are used to serve beer in traditional German pubs.

The Traditional Beer Glasses of Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest beer glasses are called beer steins. These glasses are traditionally made from stoneware and often feature ornamental designs, such as a handle with a thumb rest. The most common type of beer stein is the one liter Masskrug, which is widely used during Oktoberfest celebrations. The Masskrug is usually decorated with Bavarian images, such as eagles, shields, and religious symbols. Other types of traditional Oktoberfest beer steins include relief-style mugs and wheat-ear motif mugs. In addition to traditional steins, beer glasses in the shape of boots or pretzels are also popular at Oktoberfest festivals around the world.


In conclusion, Germany is a country rich in culture, history, and traditions. It is renowned for its beer steins, its unique beer-mug lid invention and its ‘Maß' – a one-litre glass mug of beer. Beer has been an integral part of German culture since the Middle Ages and continues to be enjoyed by locals and tourists alike today. Germany is an incredible destination to visit for anyone looking to experience first-hand the country's fascinating culture, customs and history.

Photo of author

Thomas Ashford

Thomas Ashford is a highly educated brewer with years of experience in the industry. He has a Bachelor Degree in Chemistry and a Master Degree in Brewing Science. He is also BJCP Certified Beer Judge. Tom has worked hard to become one of the most experienced brewers in the industry. He has experience monitoring brewhouse and cellaring operations, coordinating brewhouse projects, and optimizing brewery operations for maximum efficiency. He is also familiar mixology and an experienced sommelier. Tom is an expert organizer of beer festivals, wine tastings, and brewery tours.