My favourite beer glass

Mark Dredge goes out to find out people's favourite beer glass


I’ve got too many beer glasses. I don’t want to count them – I’d rather not know how many there are – but they take up two shelves, plus there’s a box in the bottom of my wardrobe and others on top of a bookcase. And despite this, I barely use any of them, drinking most beer out of just a few glasses. 

Whenever I look on social media, I see photos of many different glasses and it made me curious: What glasses do you use most often? What’s your favourite beer glass? So I put those questions to followers on Twitter and Instagram.

The most common glass mentioned was a stemmed glass, like a tulip, goblet, snifter or a Teku. The latter was named by many as a favourite for how it can work for every beer style, how its big bowl shape and tapered top allow beer to be swirled to enhance the aroma, the stem means you don’t hold the glass and warm the beer up, and a lot like how good it looks and feels to drink from. 

Squatter tulip glasses were preferred by some, liking a lower and heavier glass, though not everyone likes a stem, so stemless versions, like the Harmony or Allegra glass (or just a wine glass), were among the most commented glass shapes.

The Craft Master glass was talked about often. Some hate it but more love it. It’s like a Teku up top and with a thick base, and people enjoy how it looks cool and is fun to drink from. One of the reasons for not liking it was the challenge of washing it up, and practicality was mentioned often. Some like stone mugs for keeping the beer cold. Some choose smaller tulip glasses as it makes them drink slower. And using a glass that was difficult to knock over – whether by cats, kids or clumsiness – was a surprisingly common reasoning. 

One small trend at the moment is for bespoke beer glasses to be printed. Print Owt will ‘print owt’ you like on a glass, most often a TV character (The Simpsons are particularly popular). For them, Tekus, Tubos and Harmony glasses are the most frequently purchased, with the Tubo being squat, wide at the top, the right size for a 440ml can, and a good glass for most hoppy and lager styles.

After the stemmed glasses, a Willi Becher, the classic German lager glass, was most popular. No one felt the need to describe why it worked, but people like it ergonomically and aesthetically, especially for lagers and many British ales. As for other British ales, the handled mug was something that many enjoy to drink from at home. Like the Willi Becher, it has a familiarity (plus a practicality of holding a handle), and that brings a comfort and pleasure which has an important impact on our drinking experience and goes beyond the sensory side.

Certain glasses come with positive personal associations, and no matter the beer in the glass we enjoy drinking from it because of how it makes us feel and how they let us recall good memories. People talked of how glasses remind them of travels, of a family member or friends, or nostalgic beer experiences, plus using the same glass for many years also has its own comfort and pleasure.

Branded glasses also often came with those positive associations, and a lot of people sent images of Belgian glasses. As well as liking the glass or the brand, there’s a particular pleasure in pouring the proper beer into the correctly branded glass, especially if it’s a favourite beer or brewery. 

That matching of brand to glass also links to beer styles, and where some beers work in almost all glasses (and some glasses are great for most beers), certain styles just seem to taste better in the correct glass, with Weissbier the best example (and where no other style really works in a Weissbier glass). 

One thing was consistent: most people, whether they own just three glasses or 300, have a few favourites, often distinguishing them as a glass for tasting new or interesting beers, a glass for drinking regular beers, with a few special or personal glasses for certain beers. That’s exactly how I approach it.

The glasses I drink from most often are simple: a German Willi Becher for lager or British ale, and some stemless wine glasses, one big and small, which are good all-rounders for all styles. I use other glasses less frequently: a cut glass mug for alcohol-free beer; sometimes I drink lager from a stone mug to remind me of Germany; I use a Czech Tübinger mug when I know I want to drink quickly. There are also glasses I don’t like: the Cervoise stemmed glass; dimpled half pints (or anything pointlessly small); or any glass that’s completely covered in branding. 

I was sent images off all sorts of wonderful glassware and the one thing which resonated the most was how we feel about certain glasses, how they are uniquely important to us, for whatever reasons, and how that glass can enhance our experience with the beer.

What’s your favourite glass?

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