How to Know Which Beer Glass to Use for Your Party

Serving beer, but not really sure how to know which beer glass to use for your party? We show you how to serve beer properly and make a good impression.

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Why Serve Beer in a Glass

Drinking beer from a glass increases your enjoyment. It reveals its color, increases its aroma and taste and creates a head. For more details, see 3 Reasons to Drink Beer from a Glass.

Which Beer Glass to Use When Serving Beer

Which Beer Glass to Use When Serving Beer

Do you know which beer glass to use when they ask for their beer?

  • The shape of the beer glass is determined by the color of the beer.
  • Drinkability is a factor: sipping strong, malty beers versus gulps of light, refreshing beer.

Download the FREE pdf: Here’s to Beer the Beer Style Guide to know which glass to serve by beer color and taste. Includes food pairing ideas, too.

5 Basic Beer Glass Types

5 main category of beer glasses

Beer Mugs & Steins

Beer mugs are seen as the traditional way to serve beer, so they set a mood for the drinker.

types of beer mugs

According to the Webstaurant Store, traditional, medium alcohol-level ales and lagers that are not as filling as heavy stouts or Belgian beers are served in a beer mug. A simple, open, and cylindrical mug can be used because there’s no need to retain understated smells and flavors. The focus is on a large capacity with a large opening for gulping.

Serving beer at Oktoberfest? It’s usually served in a liter sized beer mug* or a dimple stein*.

Here are the ales, lagers and beer to serve in mugs:

  • American/English Brown Ale
  • English India Pale Ale (IPA)
  • English Pale Ale
  • American/English Porter
  • American/English Stout
  • Euro Dark Lager
  • Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)
  • Herbed/Spiced Beer
  • Irish Dry Stout
  • Irish Red Ale
  • Milk/Sweet Stout
  • Oatmeal Stout
  • American Amber Ale/Lager
  • American Barleywine
  • American Black Ale
  • American Blonde Ale
  • American Dark Wheat Ale
  • American Double / Imperial Stout
  • American Pale Wheat Ale
  • Black & Tan
  • California Common / Steam Beer
  • Pumpkin Ale
  • Cream Ale
  • Berliner Weissbier

Pint Glasses

A pint glass is also called a mixer or shaker glass because it is also used to mix cocktails.

kind of pint beer glasses

The pint glass* is the most common beer glass because it does double duty serving other beverages as well.

The beers served in a pint glass have a small to medium head so they can be served in a glass that doesn’t promote carbination. The focus is on a large capacity with a large opening for gulping.

Serving green beer for St Patrick’s Day? It’s usually served in a shaker pint*.

Here are the ales, lagers and beer to serve in pint glasses:

  • English Brown Ale
  • English Dark Mild Ale
  • American/English India Pale Ale (IPA)
  • English Pale Ale
  • English Pale Mild Ale
  • English Strong Ale
  • Euro Dark Lager
  • Irish Red Ale
  • Low Alcohol Beer
  • Lighter-end Stout
  • Lighter-end Porter
  • Old Ale
  • American Amber/Red Ale
  • American Black Ale
  • American Blonde Ale
  • American Brown Ale
  • American Dark Wheat Ale
  • American Pale Ale (APA)
  • American Pale Wheat Ale
  • American Strong Ale
  • Black & Tan
  • California Common/Steam Beer
  • Cream Ale
  • Pumpkin Ale American Adjunct Lager

Pilsner Glasses

Sparkling colors that highlight bubbles rising from the bottom to the top look great in a long, slender pilsner glass. 

pilsner glasses

Beer served in a pilsner glass* include low to medium alcohol-level pilsners, ales, and lagers that are light, low on hop flavor, and refreshing. Heads on these beers are deep, airy and foamy. The tapered glass focuses on a smooth, easy drinkability.

Here are the ales, lagers and beer to serve in pilsner glasses:

  • American Adjunct Lager
  • American Amber/Red Lager
  • American Double/Imperial Pilsner
  • American Pale Lager
  • Bock
  • California Common/Steam Beer
  • Czech Pilsner
  • Doppelbock
  • Dortmunder/Export Lager
  • Euro Dark Lager
  • Euro Pale Lager
  • Euro Strong Lager
  • German Pilsner
  • Happoshu Japanese Rice Lager
  • Light Lager
  • Low Alcohol Beer
  • Vienna Lager
  • Witbier

Stemmed Beer Glasses

Glass shapes that are more slender and tall than standard goblet or snifters work best.

stemmed beer glasses

Beer served in a stemmed beer glass* include mid to high level alcohol content. Flavors have a depth and fragrance with a medium head that requires a large opening to accommodate it.

  • Brown Ale
  • American Amber Lager
  • American Lager
  • Fruit Beer
  • Porter
  • Saison
  • Lambic

Belgian beers, and other beers with complex tastes and aromas that are darker & heavier with a a thick, heavy head, need a smaller glass* shape because they are intended to be slowly sipped.

  • Belgian IPA
  • Belgian Strong Dark Ale
  • Berliner Weissbier Dubbel
  • Quadrupel (Quad)
  • Tripel
  • Russian Imperial Stout
  • Barley Wine
  • Abbey Dubbel
  • Abbey Trippel
  • Strong Golden Ale
  • Hyper-Beers

Specialty & Novelty Beer Glasses

Specialty beer glasses set the mood for the party and are great souvenirs. Yard glasses*, boots*, hopside down*, Viking horn*, dumbbell beer glass( and other novelty beer glasses are used to serve a large quantity of beer at special events so are typically giant glasses.

specialty and novelty beer glasses

Beers that don’t have excessively thick heads or overly malty/hoppy flavors are best for specialty beer glasses. Ales, lagers, and pilsners served in mugs, steins, and pint glasses are the best choice.

Guiness should be served in a Gravity Pint Glass*.

Craft beers should be served in specialty glasses* that allow the perfect balance of aroma, taste and head.

Craft beers are sometimes served in beer growlers*: ceramic, metal, or glass jugs used to transport or sample beer. Any beer can be served in a growler, but they are most often used for craft or specialty beers.

  • American Adjunct Lager
  • American Double/Imperial Pilsner
  • American/English India Pale Ale (IPA)
  • English Brown Ale
  • English Dark Mild Ale
  • English Pale Ale
  • English Pale Mild Ale
  • English Strong Ale
  • Euro Dark Lager
  • Irish Red Ale
  • Pumpkin Ale
  • Staison/Farmhouse Ale
  • Summer Love Ale

Should Beer Be Served in a Frosted Mug?

should I serve beer in frosted bottles and beer mugs

You might think that serving beer in a frosted mug would make it colder and a better tasting beer, but Culinary Lore says no.

  • the aromatics are dampened by the cold
  • can cause ice crystals on craft beer, watering it down
  • cold dampens the flavor of sweetness
  • cooler temperatures reduce sensitivities to bitter tastes
  • a beer chilled to near freezing will not taste the way it was created to taste
  • a beer that’s too warm loses its sparkle

However, if you’ve just mown the lawn and are looking forward to a cold, refreshing, thirst quenching beer – go for it.

Bars still have special fridges to frost mugs and glasses when serving a macro-lager from beer companies because they are meant to be gulped rather than sipped and tenderly tasted.

However, a micro-brewed craft beer should never be seen in a frosted mug or glass.

How to Pour Beer into a Glass

The final thing you need to know is how to pour the beer into the glass. There’s actually an art to it so the beer will have the proper head.

The Perfect Way To Pour A Beer

Hope this helps you feel more comfortable serving beer at your party!


Infographics on Beer Glasses by Central Restaurant Products

Cinemagraph of beer pouring by BigMurph25

Want more? See how to host a beer tasting party.

beer tasting party ideas

Want to see our new information & inspiration about beer?

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