Beer Glassware • Craft Beer Restaurant Reference Library


For the casual- or fine-dining restaurant the selection of craft beer glassware is important, but need not be difficult. Craft beer glassware simply requires some of the same consideration that you give to your wine glassware.

Just as restaurants commonly keep two or more distinct types of wine glasses, you will likewise may want to use at least a couple distinct types of beer glasses (plus possibly use one wine or snifter glass type you likely already have). As a rule of thumb, craft beer glassware should generally match the elegance of your wine glassware.

The basic styles

  1. 14 to 16 ounce all-purpose glass. Can be used equally well with lager/pilsner, standard ales (pale, blonde, golden, amber, red), stouts, bitter, porter and wheat beer. Best for normal-strength beers. An elegant footed or short-stemmed glass works great here, but so does a classic pilsner glass. Look for a style that has a bit of a curved-in top, which helps with beer appreciation. A 14-oz. glass will just hold a whole 12-oz. bottle and give a one-finger head space. The 15- or 16-oz. version gives additional head space for more effervescent beers. Footed/stemmed glassware also adds the convenience of compatibility with hanging racks. Select clear glass, never colored, frosted, or tinted.

  2. 12 to 14 ounce footed beer tulip or snifter for aromatic beers. Used for more fragrant, richly aromatic beers, like big-hopped double IPAs, saison, dark sour beers, thick and rich baltic porters and imperial stouts, abbey beers, doppelbocks, barrel-aged beers, smoked beers and barley wine. Makes a beautiful presentation. A tulip glass is at its best when served no more than half to two-thirds full. A 13-oz tulip comfortably holds a 6- to 9-oz. pour, providing ample head and vapor space. It’s shape allows the drinker to warm the beer with the hand to bring out the aromas and flavors of a beer that might be served a bit too cold. A good glass for offering with a large bottle that is shared among two or more customers.  A similar-sized white wine glass can also be used in a pinch in place of the beer tulip.

  3. 10 ounce glass for strong beers and for sharing bottles of beer. A footed beer glass, a chunky facet-sided glass, or a classy flat-bottomed crystal tumbler is nice to use with bottles of craft beer that are shared among two or more customers at a table. It’s also a great look for serving a wide variety of craft beers in smaller portions. Will easily hold a 6 to 8 oz. serving. Could also use a small beer tulip or snifter for your stronger (10 to 14% alcohol-by-volume) beers.

  4. 8 to 10 ounce Champagne flute or white wine glass for specialties. Can be effectively used for fruit Lambics, Gueuze, Eisbock, wild ales, Saison, Berliner Weisse, and any festive specialty beer you feel deserves it.

Optional but nice

  1. 19 or 20 ounce all purpose glass. This is a must if you want to serve proper US pints or 500 ml portions. A pint of liquid beer needs around 3 ounces or more of extra head space to expand in. Be careful never to offer pints in a 14 or 16 ounce glass, as this has become quite verboten in the craft beer community. While many restaurants still choose to serve pint portions, Craft Beer Restaurant favors smaller 12 ounce portions as the standard for restaurant service.

  2. 12 ounce goblet or chalice. Traditional for Belgian abbey-style beers, dubbel, tripel and all Trappist beers.

  3. 20 ounce or larger Wheat beer glass. These are thin and tall, often with a large bell at the top. Designed to collect the thick frothy head created by pouring a well-made Hefeweizen.

There are certainly many, many options, and no one style or set of beer glassware is the proper one. When considering the purchase of craft beer glassware for your restaurant, consider the following guidelines.

Characteristics of a good beer glass

Clear glass so the beer’s color shows through. Craft beers range in color from light gold to amber to copper to brown to almost black. Some craft beers are crystal clear, others are opaque, while still others are cloudy. A clear glass allows all the color variations to be seen and appreciated.

Somewhat bowl shaped, with room for the aromas to collect. When first poured the released effervescence delivers all beer’s fragrance up to the nose. But once the beer is half consumed, a bit of a bowl shaped glass will help collect the vapors and allow the beer to be better appreciated.

Larger than the amount of liquid beer poured into it. For instance, a 12-oz glass should normally not have more than 10 ounces or so of beer poured into it so you leave room for the formation of a proper head. Richly-flavored aromatic beers poured into a tulip glass benefit from even more head room to allow for both a head and some aroma collection space. Never fill a glass to the brim with liquid beer. A true pint, therefore, cannot be properly served in a 16 oz glass. Here again, in the concept of proper glass filling you will notice some similarity to wine service.

Beer clean so it forms and retains a nice head and encourages lace to collect on the side as the beer is consumed. Beer clean is not a characteristic of the glass so much as it is a characteristic of the handling of it. Beer clean is described in another article in

A beer tulip is the glass best suited to richly flavored and highly aromatic craft beers. A 17-oz. size should serve no more than 12 ounces of beer. No more than 9 ounces in a 12-ounce tulip glass.

Craft Beer Restaurant.

Non-frosted (preferably room temperature) so it doesn’t freeze out the flavors of a craft beer, which tastes better a bit warmer. Frosted glasses also tend to cause unruly foam-ups when a cellar-temperature craft beer is poured into a frozen glass.

A classy look whether that is elegant classic crystal that matches your wine glassware; or funky, clunky contemporary; or clean, crisp modern lines. Beer glassware should match the style and personality of your restaurant concept.

One glass style to avoid

Better-casual and fine-dining restaurants should avoid the sloped, flat-sided shaker-style mixing glass that is commonly used as the bar pint at corner taverns, pool halls and pubs in America. While it is inexpensive and durable, its shape is not particularly conducive to beer appreciation. The sensory experience of craft beer is better served by one of the recommended thin-walled glass styles above.

Noted craft brewer Vinnie Cilurzo of Russian River Brewing Company in Santa Rosa, California, has said, “The standard shaker pint glass that you get in most bars in America is actually one of the worst things you can use for a beer tasting.”

Beer Glass Gallery

Here are some additional all-purpose and specialty beer glass options.


Craft Beer Glassware

This Stölzle Berlin Beer glass from Anchor is the classic beer tulip that is so versatile for a variety of fragrant ales and stronger beers. This one comes in a 13.75 and 17.5 oz. sizes.

An all-purpose option, such as this stemmed Anchor
Excellency Pilsner, is a real workhorse in a 14-oz. size. The elegant shape shows off beer at its best.

A classy footed glass is a worthy container for any craft-brewed beer. This Libbey Footed Ale has the curved-in top that is preferred for tasting. The 10-oz. size is great for bottled beer sharing at the table.

A special IPA glass by Spiegelau is perfect for aromatic artisan beers like many North American India Pale Ales, Rye PAs, Imperial IPAs and others emphasizing dry hopping techniques.

Glassware being so so important, the Boston Beer Company designed this new, improved craft beer glass. It starts smaller at the bottom then flares out to a bowl shape. It also has an etched spot on the bottom to induce nucleation, or the formation of bubbles that stream to the surface. This is both enjoyable to watch, releases more aroma and adds to the beer’s head.
  1. A curved-in shape such as this 14 oz. Libbey Teardrop makes a nice all-purpose craft beer glass. About 7" tall, it provides the elegant look that is similar to wine glassware.

This Anchor Treva 14-oz. footed pilsner shows well
with any craft-brewed pilsner, lager, bock, or wheat beer. Also handles basic ales very well.

While this type glass would be equally at home filled with iced tea or cola, it's shape and short stem work for craft beer service.
The 14 oz. size just holds a full 12 oz. portion plus head room.

In a pinch, the traditional bubble-shaped brandy glass is a credible substitute for the beer tulip. Pictured is a Libbey Embassy 11.5-oz.

  1. A curved-in shape such as this 14-3/4 oz. Cardinal Treasure is a beautiful option for an all-purpose craft beer glass. It is 7" tall, and has the necessary good looks and durability required.

Wine glasses can make nice beer glasses, especially for a beer–food pairing dinner. Clear, high quality crystal shows off the great colors of craft beer.

View this “Choose the Right Glass” and other Brewers Association videos on Youtube.

Spiegelau launches a glass designed especially for serving American-style India Pale Ale.