Once the beer has been brewed to perfection, fermented, bottled, chilled, and ready to drink comes the moment of truth: What glass to use? Germans take glassware very seriously. There is a specific glass for each type of beer, and for good reason. The shape and size of each glass is designed to do justice to the taste and flavor of each individual brew. To a German, it’s just wrong to drink a Weizen from a Pilsner glass or an Ale from anything other than a chalice (or goblet). Here is a primer on which glass suits which beer:
The Famous Pilsner Tulip
The Tulip Glass is a stemmed glass in the shape of the flower. The bulbous bottom pushes upwards and inwards and then out towards the lip to cup the head of foam. This glass is ideal for beers such as Radeberger Pilsner, because its unique shape enhances volatiles and encourages and props up a large head. Pluck a Tulip too when reaching for a Dortmunder DAB.
The Established Pilsner Glass
This type of glass is tall and skinny with little to no curvature. The Pilsner glass is designed to be used primarily for lighter beers such as Pilsners. The tapered, slender glass captures the sparkling effervescence and colors of a Pilsner while maintaining its head. It’s the perfect choice for a beer like Clausthaler, showcasing the clarity and color of the brew.
The Unique Weizen Glass
Weizen glasses are often confused with Pilsner glasses due to their similar shape and size. However, the Weizen glass has more of a curve at the top. This helps trap a thick foam head and allows you to enjoy the full aroma that wheat beers are known for; just the right fit for a beer such as Schöfferhofer Grapefruit.
The Traditional Mug
Probably the glass most commonly associated with beer drinking, the indestructible mug is the sturdy workhorse of German glassware. Mugs have to be this solid so that you can clink them together with vigor. This traditional glassware derives its shape and size from the old stone German Stein. The Stein has a lid, which dates back to the time of the Black Plague: it was put on to prevent flies, which were thought to be deadly, from taking a sip. Allgäuer Büble would be an ideal brew to drink from a traditional German Mug.
The Straightforward Stange
The Stange, derived from the German word for ‘stick’, is a tall, straight, slender cylinder best used for drinking more delicate beers such as Sion Kölsch. The Stange is also relatively small, which helps keep the whole beer tasting fresh. This type of glass amplifies the malt and hops nuances, as the shape allows for a tighter concentration of the volatiles emerging through the foam.
The Reclusive Snifter
This type of glass is somewhat hard to find. Don’t let that stop you from trying it out, though! Usually associated with brandies and cognacs, the Snifter allows you to swirl your beer and stir up the volatiles that bring out the full essence of the brew. Perfectly suited for flavorful Craft beers like Braufactum.