Beer Glasses and Mugs

There are so many shapes and sizes of beer glasses and beer mugs.  Why do they even matter?  Aroma is the key factor here as the shape of the glass can greatly affect the release of the volatile molecules that create aroma. According to several studies, aroma makes up 80% of what people actually describe as flavor!


Understanding the function that each shape of beer glasses provides will help you get more aroma and taste out of your beer.  Who doesn’t want a better tasting beer? With this knowledge you’ll be able to choose the right type of glass for any beer.  You’ll also understand why your beer is being served in that peculiar shaped glass.  So let’s dive into the various shapes of beer glassware to see their function.

Goblets, Chalices, and Tulips

Photo credit: Cambridge Brewing Co.

The bowl-shape, sometimes similar to a wine glass, helps maintain the aroma and the head.  Beers that should go into these glasses are often less carbonated and have stronger flavor profiles that provide a lot of aroma.  The stem also helps to keep the body heat of the hand from affecting the beer’s temperature.


Use these types of beer glasses for the aromatic and strong flavored bocks, heavy belgian ales, lambics, and the fruitier types.

Weizen and Pilsner glasses

Photo credit: Hideyuki KAMON

The wide top of this glass type helps hold and show off the large thick head of well carbonated beers.  The width at the top also allows for the release of the beer’s aroma.


You should choose this glass for the well carbonated beers such as pilsners and wheat beers (weizens and witbiers).  They tend to have very large fluffy heads which this shape showcases very well.

Mugs, Steins, and Tankards

Beer Stein
Photo credit: Quinn Dombrowski

The handle and shape makes these very easy to use for drinking sessions.  Some are made to hold a large volume (think 1 liter) which makes them ideal for a night of beers with friends.


These are great for any sessionable, easy to drink ale or lager.

Standard Pint

Pint Glasses
Photo credit: Smabs Sputzer

The standard pint glass and its ridged brother, the nonic glass, are ideal for easy drinking and easy storage.  The ridge of the nonic glass helps with gripping and stacking the glasses.


Made as a one size fits all for beers – it is the default at many bars.