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Beer glassware

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Beer glassware

Michael "Beer Hunter" Jackson's beer glassware (from left to right): summer glass, tasting glass, snifter, session glass

Beer glassware comprises the drinking vessels made of glass designed or commonly used for drinking beer. Different styles of glassware exist for a number of reasons: they may reflect national traditions; they may reflect legislation regarding serving measures; they may relate to practicalities of stacking, washing and avoiding breakage; they may promote commercial breweries; they may be folk art, novelty items or used in drinking games; and they may complement different styles of beer for a variety of reasons, including enhancing aromatic volatiles, showcasing the appearance, and/or having an effect on the beer head. Several kinds of beer glassware have a stem which serves to prevent the body heat of the drinker's hand from warming the beer.

Beer glasses include German steins, old English tankards, and Belgian novelty glassware.


  • International styles 1
    • Pilsner glass 1.1
    • Connoisseur's glassware 1.2
    • Snifters 1.3
    • Taster glasses 1.4
    • Plastic glasses 1.5
  • German, Austrian and Swiss styles 2
    • Weizen glasses 2.1
    • Beer stein 2.2
    • Maß 2.3
    • Stangen and becher 2.4
    • Beer Boot 2.5
  • Belgian and Dutch styles 3
    • Flute glass 3.1
    • Goblet or Chalice 3.2
    • Tulip glass 3.3
    • Café glasses 3.4
  • British and Irish styles 4
    • Tankard 4.1
    • Toby jug 4.2
    • Yard of ale 4.3
    • Pint glass 4.4
  • Capacity 5
  • Australian measures 6
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9

International styles

Pilsner glass

A pilsner glass is used for many types of light beers, including pale lager or pilsner. Pilsner glasses are generally smaller than a pint glass, usually in 200 ml, 250 ml, 300 ml, 330 ml or 400 ml sizes (in Europe 500ml ones are not rare). They are tall, slender and tapered. The slender glass will reveal the colour, and carbonation of the beer,[1] and the broad top will help maintain a beer head.[2]

Weizen glasses are sometimes mistakenly called Pilsner glasses because they are somewhat similar in appearance, but true Pilsner glasses have an even taper without any amount of curvature.

Connoisseur's glassware

Beer connoisseurs sometimes invest in special, non-traditional glassware to enhance their appreciation. An example was the range marketed by Michael "Beer Hunter" Jackson.


Typically used for serving brandy and cognac, a snifter is ideal for capturing the volatiles of aromatic beers such as, Double/Imperial IPAs, Belgian ales, barleywines and wheat wines. The shape helps trap the volatiles, while allowing swirling to agitate them and produce an intense aroma.

Taster glasses

Glasses holding 1/3 of a pint or less may be used to:

  • Try a beer in a pub or cafe before purchasing a full measure
  • Split a bottle of rare or strong beer between friends
  • Sample multiple beers without becoming inebriated. For instance a brewpub might provide a sampler of three different brews in 1/3 pint measures; or a beer festival might provide small capacity glasses for patrons.

Plastic glasses

Plastic beer vessels are usually shaped in imitation of whichever glasses are usual in the locality. They are mainly used as a substitute for glass vessels where breakages would be particularly problematic, for instance at outdoor events.

German, Austrian and Swiss styles

Weizen glasses

A weizen glass is used to serve wheat beer.[3] Originating in Germany the glass is narrow at the bottom and slightly wider at the top; the width both releasing aroma, and providing room for the often thick, fluffy heads produced by wheat beer.[4] It tends to be taller than a pint glass, and generally holds 500 millilitres with room for foam or "head". In some countries, such as Belgium, the glass may be 250 ml or 330 ml.

Wheat beers tend to foam a lot, especially if poured incorrectly. In pubs, if the bottle is handed to the patron for self pouring, it is customary for the glass to be taken to the patron wet or with a bit of water in the bottom to be swirled around to wet the entire glass to keep the beer from foaming excessively.

Beer stein

A Beer stein or simply stein [5] is an English neologism for either traditional beer mugs made out of stoneware, or specifically ornamental beer mugs that are usually sold as souvenirs or collectibles. Such Steins may be made out of stoneware (rarely the inferior earthenware), pewter, porcelain, or even silver, wood or crystal glass; they may have open tops or hinged pewter lids with a thumb-lever. Steins usually come in sizes of a half litre or a full litre (or comparable historic sizes). Like decorative tankards, they are often decorated in a nostalgic manner, but with allusions to Germany or Bavaria. It is believed by some that the lid was implemented during the age of the Black Plague, to prevent diseased flies from getting into the beer.[6]


The Maß (pronounced and the Bavarian word of female grammatical gender, thus die Maß, for a mug containing one litre of liquid, though commonly misinterpreted as the Standard German noun Maß, pronounced and grammatically neuter, thus das Maß, and translating to "measure") is a term used in German-speaking countries for a unit of volume, now typically used only for measuring beer sold for immediate on-site consumption. In modern times, a Maß is defined as exactly 1 litre. As a maß is a unit of measure, various designs are possible: modern maß krugs are often handled glass tankards, although they may also be in the form of steins.

Stangen and becher

The high, narrow and cylindrical stange (German: stick or rod) is traditionally used for Kölsch. A becher, traditionally used for altbier, is similar, though slightly shorter and fatter. The stange usually holds between 100 ml and 200 ml (though larger ones are now sometimes used to reduce serving work), the becher between 200 ml and 300 ml . Stangen are carried by slotting them into holes in a special tray called a Kranz ("wreath")

Beer Boot

Beer boots, or Bierstiefel, have over a century of history and culture behind them. It is commonly believed that a general somewhere promised his troops to drink beer from his boot if they were successful in battle. When the troops prevailed, the general had a glassmaker fashion a boot from glass to fulfill his promise without tasting his own feet and to avoid spoiling the beer in his leather boot. Since then, soldiers have enjoyed toasting to their victories with a beer boot. At gatherings in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, beer boots are often passed among the guests for a festive drinking challenge. Since the movie Beerfest appeared in 2006, beer boots have become increasingly popular in the United States. It is an old joke to hand the boot to a young novice drinker with the tip pointing away from his person, which will result in beer pouring over the drinker's face uncontrollably when air enters the tip; seasoned drinkers always point the tip towards their body until the glass is sufficiently drained. Beer boots are made of either manufactured pressed glass or mouth blown glasses by skilled artisans in form of a boot.

Belgian and Dutch styles

Flute glass

A vessel similar to a champagne flute is the preferred serving vessel for Belgian lambics and fruit beers. The narrow shape helps maintain carbonation, while providing a strong aromatic front. Flute glasses display the lively carbonation, sparkling color, and soft lacing of this distinct style.

Goblet or Chalice

Chalices and goblets are large, stemmed, bowl-shaped glasses adequate for serving heavy Belgian ales, German bocks, and other big sipping beers. The distinction between goblet and chalice is typically in the glass thickness. Goblets tend to be more delicate and thin, while the chalice is heavy and thick walled. Some chalices are even etched on the bottom to nucleate a stream of bubbles for maintaining a nice head.

Tulip glass

A tulip glass not only helps trap the aroma, but also aids in maintaining large heads, creating a visual and olfactory sensation. The body is bulbous, but the top flares out to form a lip which helps head retention. It is recommended for serving Scottish ales, American double/imperial IPAs, barleywines, Belgian ales and other aromatic beers. Some pint glasses which taper outwards towards the top are also called tulip glasses, despite having notably less curvature.

Café glasses

In addition to the profusion of glasses provided by brewers, some Belgian beer cafés serve beer in their own "house" glassware. An example is La Lunette in Brussels.[7]

British and Irish styles


A tankard is a form of drinkware consisting of a large, roughly cylindrical, drinking cup with a single handle. Tankards are usually made of silver, pewter, or glass, but can be made of other materials, for example wood, ceramic or leather.[8] A tankard may have a hinged lid, and tankards featuring glass bottoms are also fairly common. Tankards are shaped and used similarly to beer steins. Metal tankards were popular in 18th and early 19th century Britain and Ireland, but were largely superseded by glass vessels. They are now seen as collector's items, or may be engraved and presented as a gift. Wooden and leather tankards were popular before the 17th century, but being made of organic materials have rarely survived intact to the present day.

Toby jug

Pearlware Toby Jug

A Toby Jug – also sometimes known as a Fillpot (or Philpot) – is a pottery jug in the form of a seated person, or the head of a recognizable person (often an English king). Typically the seated figure is a heavily-set, jovial man holding a mug of beer in one hand and a pipe of tobacco in the other and wearing 18th century attire: a long coat and a tricorn hat. The tricorn hat forms a pouring spout, often with a removable lid, and a handle is attached at the rear. Jugs depicting just the head and shoulders of a figure are also referred to as Toby Jugs, although these should strictly be called "Character Jugs". They are generally collected and displayed rather than used for day to day drinking.

Yard of ale

A yard of ale

A yard of ale or yard glass is a very tall glass used for drinking around 2.5 imperial pints (1.42 l) of beer, depending upon the diameter. The glass is approximately 1 yard (90 cm) long, shaped with a bulb at the bottom, and a widening shaft which constitutes most of the height.[9]

The glass most likely originated in 17th-century England where the glass was known also as a "Long Glass", a "Cambridge Yard (Glass)" and an "Ell Glass". It is associated by legend with stagecoach drivers, though was mainly used for drinking feats and special toasts.[10][11] (Compare with the Pauwel Kwak glass).

Drinking a yard glass full of beer is a traditional pub game. The fastest drinking of a yard of ale in the Guinness Book of Records is 5 seconds.[12]

Pint glass

A pint glass is a drinking vessel holding an imperial pint (568 ml ≈1.2 US pints) of liquid and is usually used for beer.

The common shapes of pint glass are:

  • Conical glasses are shaped, as the name suggests, as an inverted truncated cone around 6 inches (15 cm) tall and tapering by about 1 inch (25 mm) in diameter over its height.
  • The nonic, a variation on the conical design, where the glass bulges out a couple of inches from the top; this is partly for improved grip, partly to prevent the glasses from sticking together when stacked, and partly to give strength and stop the rim from becoming chipped or "nicked".[13] The term "nonic" derives from "no nick".
  • Jug glasses, or "dimple mugs", are shaped more like a large mug with a handle. They are moulded with a grid pattern of thickened glass on the outside, somewhat resembling the segmentation of a WWII-era hand grenade. The dimples prevent the glass slipping out of the fingers in a washing-up bowl, and the design of the glass emphasises strength, also to withstand frequent manual washing. These design features became less important when manual washing was superseded by machine washing from the 1960s onwards. Dimpled glasses are now rarer than the other types and are regarded as more traditional.[14] This sort of glass is also known as a "Handle" due to the handle on the glass. They are popular with the older generation and people with restricted movement in their hands which can make holding a usual pint glass difficult. They have recently started to make a renaissance, especially in northern Britain.[15]

Half-pint glasses are generally smaller versions of pint glasses.


Volume Names
125 ml Galopin o Bock (France), Benjamin (Belgium), Zurito (Basque), Birrino (Italy)
200 ml Flûte o Hollandais (Belgium), Fluitje (Netherlands) Galopin (Switzerland), Caña (Spain), Stange (Cologne, but only for Kölsch), Birra Piccola (Italy)
250 ml Demi o Bock (France), Chope o Pintje (Belgium), Cerveza (Spain), Vaasje (Netherlands)
284/285 ml Middy, Pot, Handle, Schooner, Ten, Half (Australia), Half (UK, Ireland) – 10 Imp fl oz
300 ml Seidl/Seitel/Seiterl (Belgium)
330 ml Gourde/Klepke (Belgium), Canette (Switzerland), Mini (Luxembourg), liten öl (Sweden), liten øl (Norwegian), třetinka (Czech), Tercio/Mediana (Spain)
400 ml Birra Media (Italy), stor öl (Sweden)
425 ml Schooner (Australia) – 15 Imp fl oz
473 ml Pint (United States) – 16 US fl oz
500 ml Distingué, Baron, Mini-chevalier, Chope, Pinte o Sérieux (France), Demi (Belgium), Seidel or Seidla (German), Chope o Canette (Switzerland), Pinta (Spain), halvliter (Norwegian), půllitr (Czech), Krügel/Krügerl (Austria), Halbe (Bavaria, Austria)
568/570 ml Chopine (France), Pint (UK, Ireland, Australia), Pinte (Canada) – 20 Imp fl oz
775/950 ml Beer stein (English), Humpen (German), Holba (Czech)
1 l Chevalier, Parfait, Double Pinte (France), Corbeau, Lunette, Litron (Belgium), Maß (Germany), Masse o Litron (Switzerland), Birra grande (Italy), tuplák (Czech)
1140 ml Jug (Australia) – 40 Imp fl oz
2 l Stiefel/Liesl (Austria)

The capacity of the "bottes" goes from 30 ml to 3 l.

Australian measures

Prior to metrification in Australia, one could buy beer in glasses of size 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, 15 and 20 (imperial) fluid ounces. Each sized glass had a different name in each Australian state. These were replaced by glasses of size 115, 140, 170, 200, 285, 425 and 570 ml.

As Australians travel more, the differences are decreasing. In the 21st century most pubs, no longer have a glass smaller than 200 ml (7 imp fl oz); typically available are 200ml, 285ml and 425ml, and increasingly many pubs now have pints (570 ml, 20 imp fl oz).

Many imported beers are served in their own branded glasses of various sizes, including 250 millilitres (8.8 imp fl oz), 330 millilitres (11.6 imp fl oz) and 500 millilitres (17.6 imp fl oz) for many European beers.

A request for a "Pot of Gold" may sound like a joke, but in Queensland it is a 285 ml glass of XXXX Gold.

Names of beer glasses in various Australian cities[n 1][n 2][n 3]
Capacity[n 4] Sydney Canberra Darwin Brisbane Adelaide Hobart Melbourne Perth
115 ml (4 fl oz) - small beer foursie shetland
140 ml (5 fl oz) pony pony pony horse/pony pony
170 ml (6 fl oz) six (ounce) small glass bobbie/six
200 ml (7 fl oz) seven seven seven (ounce) butcher seven (ounce) glass glass
285 ml (10 fl oz) middy half pint / middy handle pot[n 5] schooner[n 6] ten (ounce)/pot pot middy/half pint
350 ml (12 fl oz) schmiddy[n 7]
425 ml (15 fl oz) schooner schooner schooner schooner pint[n 6] fifteen / schooner schooner[n 8] schooner[n 8]
570 ml (20 fl oz) pint pint pint pint imperial pint[n 6] pint pint pint
  1. ^ Entries in bold are common.
  2. ^ Entries in italics are old-fashioned and/or rare.
  3. ^ Entries marked with a dash are not applicable.
  4. ^ The "fl oz" referred to here is the imperial fluid ounce.
  5. ^ "Pot" is also known as Pot glass
  6. ^ a b c Confusingly for visitors, South Australians use the same names for different volumes than in the other States.
  7. ^ A modern glass size, mainly used with European beers. While the glass may be 350ml, a 330ml or 300ml fill line is common.
    With the increasing popularity of European beers, glasses of size 250ml and 500ml are also becoming more prevalent, but as yet don't seem to have acquired "names".
  8. ^ a b Traditionally, 425 ml is a size not found in Western Australia and Victoria.
  1. The Aussie Beer Baron
  2. Buying Beer in Australia
  3. Guidelines at a glance
  4. Ordering Beer
  5. Liquor Merchants Association of Australia
  6. Which Size Beer Do Ya Want, Mate?

See also


  1. ^ Wisconsin's best breweries and .... Google Books. Retrieved 2010-03-01. 
  2. ^ Duane Swierczynski, , page 122The big book o' beer: everything you ever wanted to know about the greatest beverage on earth. Quirk Books, 2004, ISBN 1931686491. Retrieved 2010-03-01. 
  3. ^ Ben McFarland, , page 27World's Best Beers: One Thousand Craft Brews from Cask to Glass. Sterling Publishing Company, Inc., 2009, ISBN 1402766947. Retrieved 2010-03-10. 
  4. ^ The Beer Journal. Google Books. Retrieved 2010-03-10. 
  5. ^ US dict: 
  6. ^ Gary Kirsner (1999). "A Brief History of Beer Steins". Archived from the original on 3 June 2009. Retrieved 19 June 2009. 
  7. ^ Trip Advisor on La Lunette
  8. ^ "Tankard at British History Online". 
  9. ^ The dictionary of beer and brewing – Google Books. Google Books. Retrieved 2010-03-10. 
  10. ^ "Yard-of-ale glass (drinking glass) – Britannica Online Encyclopedia". Retrieved 2010-03-10. 
  11. ^ "The Yard of Ale : Our History". Archived from the original on 4 March 2010. Retrieved 2010-03-10. 
  12. ^ The Guinness book of records 1999. Guinness. 1998. p. 60. Retrieved 28 June 2011. 
  13. ^ Last orders for traditional pint glass as search begins for alternativesThe Times:
  14. ^ Collapse of Glass Firms Calls Time on Dimpled JugsThe Independent:
  15. ^ "The return of the dimpled pint glass".  

External links

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