What is a proper beer glass?

Answered by Michael Weatherspoon

A proper glass is essential for enhancing the overall drinking experience and fully appreciating the flavors, aromas, and appearance of the beer. While there are numerous styles of beer available, two standard sizes are commonly used – the 16-ounce US Tumbler and the 20-ounce Imperial Nonic.

The 16-ounce US Tumbler, also known as the “pour man's pint glass,” is the most common beer glass size found in bars and restaurants across the United States. Its size is adequate for serving most beers and allows for a comfortable grip. This glass is versatile and can be used for a wide range of beer styles, from light lagers to hoppy IPAs and rich stouts.

On the other hand, the 20-ounce Imperial Nonic glass offers a slightly larger capacity and has a unique design with a ridge towards the top. This ridge, also known as the “nonic” or “no-nick,” serves as a grip and helps in stacking the glasses. The larger size of the glass allows for a greater volume of beer, making it ideal for beers with large crowning heads, such as Belgian ales or wheat beers. The slight ridge also adds a touch of elegance to the glass and can enhance the presentation of the beer.

When choosing a beer glass, it's important to consider the style of beer being served. Different beer styles have unique characteristics that can be accentuated by the shape and size of the glass. For example, a tulip-shaped glass with a inward-curving top is often used for aromatic and complex beers, such as Belgian ales and strong IPAs. The narrow opening of the glass helps trap and concentrate the aromas, allowing the drinker to fully appreciate the beer's bouquet.

Similarly, a tall and slender Pilsner glass is designed to showcase the color, clarity, and effervescence of light and crisp Pilsner-style lagers. The elongated shape of the glass helps maintain the beer's carbonation and allows the aroma to escape more efficiently.

In addition to the size and shape, the material of the beer glass is also important. Glass is the preferred material for beer glasses as it is non-reactive and does not alter the taste of the beer. Plastic or metal glasses, although sometimes used in outdoor or casual settings, can impart unwanted flavors to the beer.

Ultimately, the choice of a proper beer glass depends on personal preference and the style of beer being served. It's always a good idea to have a variety of beer glasses available to cater to different beer styles and occasions. Experimenting with different glassware can be a fun and educational experience, allowing you to discover new dimensions of your favorite beers. So, next time you enjoy a beer, consider the glassware you use and how it can enhance your drinking pleasure.