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Why Do We Drink Beers in Different Shaped Glasses?

Different types of beer are better suited for specific styles of glasses. Today, bars will have as many glasses as they do beer types. Why is that? Does the glass you drink your beer in really matter?

In short, yes. The shape and size of a glass allows any given beer to showcase their aromas, flavors, carbonation, and color. Much like how red wine is usually served in a larger glass and white wine is served in more narrow glasses, the size and style of a glass is crucial to enjoy the beer at its very best.

Presentation is everything, and when selected properly, a beer glass becomes much more than a temporary storage container.  If a beer is served in a glass suited for its type, the drink will look enticing, and the drinker will more than likely enjoy it. 

Each type of beer glass is designed to meet specific needs: ensure the form matches function and enhance and retain the beer’s head, which develops the beer’s aroma. 

You could argue this is a marketing tactic – a brilliant one at that. Most bars serve beer in one kind of glass. However, many pubs, especially overseas, will use glasses for a specific type of beer and often serve beer in the corresponding brand glass. And I have to say, some of the brand name glasses are pretty cool such as Judas, Leffe, Paix Dieu, and La Guillotine.

Belgium, known for its beers, has a website that sells glasses that correspond to specific brands with their own design, size and shape. 

Here’s a short list of different shaped glasses and what beers you should drink out of each:

Pint Glass

The most common glass used for a wide range of beers including, American ales, lagers, and IPAs.

Steins & Mugs

Think Oktoberfest for this one. These big mugs make for popular souvenirs when visiting countries like Belgium and Germany. 


Higher alcohol content beers like Belgian ales, IPAs and wheat wines pair nicely with the spherical shape of the snifter. 

Tulip or Thistle

These glasses are best suited for stronger, aromatic brews like double IPAs and Belgian ales. Because Scotland’s official flower is the thistle, the thistle glass is typically used for Scottish ales.

I’m not telling you to find the perfect glass for a Miller Lite, but I will say if you’ve got a good craft beer, finding a glass that complements it will elevate the experience. 


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