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Ask A Pro: Does Glassware Really Matter for Serving Beer?

A: There’s no hard and fast rule to serving beer in particular glassware. That said, many beer professionals use glassware to help showcase the beer’s best qualities.

Most importantly: make sure the glass is clean. That means no visible dirt or smudges or any of those little bubbles that cling to the sides of the glass. Get out your *clean* dish sponge and give that sucker a good hand wash and then rinse with cold water.

Different styles and characteristics of beer are complimented by different styles of glassware, here are my recommendations:

IPAs are very aromatic and best served chilled. So, a glass with a big bowl to capture as many aromas as possible is important. Try searching for a Snifter Glass, IPA glass, or even a large bowl wine glass – they’re all great. 

Is your beer dark and rich? Would you like to take your time with it and let it warm up to unlock some of those subtleties? Go for a glass like a Tulip Pint or a Short Stemmed Snifter so more of your hand is in contact with the glass and warming it up over time.

Lagers and lager-like styles like Cream Ales, Pilsners, Kolsch, and Helles are best served in tall narrow glasses like the Pilsner Glass.

Wheat beer glasses, best used with German Weissbier, are also tall and narrow but the top is curved to form a bowl that captures aromatics and holds the large amount of head these beers create. 

For complex Belgian beers like Saison, Lambic, Trappist, and Mixed Fermentation, I like to use either a wine glass, Teku glass, or Stemmed Snifter Glass to capture as much complexity as possible. Since there is a good chance you’ll want to share these styles with friends, the smaller serving size doesn’t hurt either. 

Finally, when in doubt I like to use the Willi Becher glass. It is the right size and shape to handle 99% of all beer styles. You’ll notice it is starting to become the new standard at good beer bars. 

Do you have questions about wine, beer or spirits that you’d like us to answer? Send your questions to [email protected] to be featured in a future segment!

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