If you've ever been to a bar that focuses on craft beer, you've seen a variety of glassware for the various ales, lagers, Pilsners, Hefeweizens, and IPAs poured from bottles or on tap. These vessels are often the traditional shape of the beer glass in the region where a particular style of brew was born: imperial pints for the government-regulated measures of British pubs, long and lean Hefeweizen glasses for wheaty German beers, and tulips from Belgium, where abbey ales have long flourished. And while beer experts say it's not imperative to have the perfect glass for your beer, it does promote your enjoyment of the brew. "Beer should be put into a glass for two reasons," says Charlie Bamforth, professor of Malting and Brewing Sciences at the University of California, Davis. "One is, if you drink the beer straight out of the bottle or a can, you don't get the full appreciation of flavor because most of the flavor of beer is detected through the nose. By dangling your nostrils in the beer—in the headspace above the beer—you actually get a full appreciation of the aroma. The second reason you want to pour it in a glass is so that you can admire the foam, and the appearance of the product."
This 20-ounce glass, sometimes called a "nonic," is a staple of British pubs. The bulbous curve near the top of the glass helps to prevent chipping. The traditional way to fill an imperial pint glass is with English ales
Long and lean, the Pilsner glass can range in size from 200 ml to 500 ml, and is perfect for lighter Czech lagers and American lagers. (A Pilsner is a style of lager distinguished by its straw hue, higher carbonation, and crisp finish.)
Similar in shape to the Pilsner glass, these German-born vessels accommodate the larger heads produced by wheat beers. The glasses have thinner walls and most are sized to about a half-liter.
The shape of the tulip glass is designed for amplifying the aromas of Belgian-style abbey ales and IPAs.
Dogfish Head and Sierra Nevada teamed up with a German glassmaker, Spiegelau, to create this 19-ounce, bulbous beer glass specifically for hoppy IPAs
The workhorse of the American bar scene, the standard pint glass holds 16 ounces, with thick walls to guard against breakage. Fill it with a brown ale or a lager.