There’s nothing wrong with drinking beer directly from a bottle or can, but for the 360-degree sensory experience, you’ll want to pour your beer into a glass, letting your eyes drink up the tint and carbonation before you take that first sip.
The right glass matters, too. Sure, you can dump that IPA into a Mason jar with a cracked lip, but a glass’s shape and raw materials can take a great beer and make it transcendent. A great glass will accentuate a beer’s aromatics and help the head stick around, creating a beer that looks as good as it tastes.
From IPAs to stouts to pilsners and Belgian beers, here are the best beer glasses for any situation.
Bormioli Rocco Bodega Collection 12-Piece Glassware Set
Chip-resistant tempered glass
Not ideal for higher-ABV beers
When searching for glasses for Chicago’s forthcoming Ørkenoy, a design-focused brewpub and community hub, cofounder Jonny Ifergan sought glassware that was "incredibly distinct and different from the traditional beer glass." That’s when he stumbled upon the Bormioli Rocco Bodega Glass.
The set of 12 merges function and form, built from chip-resistant tempered glass, boasting a thick base, and offering crystalline clarity to showcase a golden pilsner, fruit-infused sour ale, or hazy IPA. “It’s understated and simple, and the proportions of its wide mouth and extremely easy feel when held in your hand really won us over," says Ifergan. "Sure, you can call it a tumbler, but tumblers deserve way more credit than they are given in the beer industry.”
Price at time of publish: $55
Material: Glass | Number of Pieces: 12 | Dimensions: 3.54 x 3.54 x 3.54 inches | Capacity: 12 ounces | Dishwasher-Safe: Yes
Libbey Craft Brews Assorted Beer Glasses
A glass for every type of beer
Replacement glasses available
You will need two sets for a couple
If you’re looking to build your collection of beer glassware and want a solid starter series of glasses, it’s tough to top this set of six from Libbey on both quality and cost. “It’s a nice collection from a reputable manufacturer that covers just about any beer style,” says Beer Writer Kevin Kain of Casket Beer.
Founded in 1818, the glassware firm’s set of value-priced beer glasses includes style-specific glasses for wheat beer, pilsners, Belgian ales, stouts, and more, each shape calibrated to bring out the best in every beer. Better still, breaking a glass doesn’t mean breaking the bank. You can buy replacement glasses for a fair price.
Price at time of publish: $35
Material: Glass | Number of Pieces: 6 | Capacity: 14.75, 15.75, 16.6, 20, and 23 ounces | Dishwasher-Safe: Yes
Best for IPAs
CB2 Marta Coolers
Versatile enough for cocktails
Wide opening and thin glass
America’s favorite kind of craft beer is the India Pale Ale, a liquid vehicle for delivering big fragrances and flavors. You’ll want a few great glasses (or six, as are included in this set) to flaunt the latest and greatest IPA. “These Marta Coolers from CB2 are crafted in the style of Spanish tumblers,” says sommelier Rebecca Flynn, most recently of Eleven Madison Park, a Michelin-starred restaurant in New York City.
“While they were likely intended for a large gin and tonic on a hot day, fill them up with your favorite hazy (or filtered) IPA. The thin glass and contemporary construction will show off your favorite brew, and the wide opening will allow for any excess ABV to blow off while you inhale the aromatics."
Price at time of publish: $21 for set of 6
Material: Glass | Number of Pieces: 6 | Dimensions: 3.5 x 4.75 inches | Capacity: 16 ounces | Dishwasher-Safe: Yes
Best for Stouts
Spiegelau Barrel-Aged Glasses
Specifically designed for barrel-aged beers
Comes in a set of four
Specific to one style of beer
Wayne Wambles is a wizard with wood. The brewmaster at Cigar City Brewing, in Tampa, Florida, makes some of the country’s most exciting barrel-aged beers, including versions of his legendary Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout that’s seasoned with chile peppers, cacao nibs, and cinnamon. Fittingly, he helped develop the Spiegelau Barrel-Aged glass set of four, specifically designed to boost the nuances of a wood-seasoned beer (think big stouts, barley wines, and barrel-aged brews).
“This glass has a wide enough mouth to allow for barrel aromatics to reach your nose without over-concentration of spirit or wood character,” Wambles says. “It allows you to focus on the beer as a whole without being overwhelmed by barrel character.”
Price at time of publish: $42
Material: Glass | Number of Pieces: 4 | Dimensions: 3.5 x 3.5 x 6.9 inches | Capacity: 17.7 ounces | Dishwasher-Safe: Yes
Best for Sour Ales
Riedel Performance Champagne Glass
Highlights carbonation and acidity
Lends well to Champagne
Not traditional beer glasses
The acidic charms of sour beers excel at the dinner table, setting the stage for the feast to come. “Refreshingly tart and highly carbonated goses and Berliner weisses are great to get a meal started and cleanse the palate,” sommelier Flynn says.
“I love to consider these types of beers as aperitifs and serve them in a Champagne glass," she says. "Riedel makes an incredible glass for bubbly that is more in line with white wine glasses than the traditional flutes. The larger bowl and tapered top accentuate flavors and highlight acidity."
Price at time of publish: $79
Material: Crystal | Number of Pieces: 2 | Dimensions: 3.5 x 3.5 x 9.63 inches | Capacity: 12.6 ounces | Dishwasher-Safe: Yes
Best for Belgian Beers
Spiegelau Beer Tulip Glass Set
Great for tastings
Shows off foam
Sommelier Rebecca Flynn favors these bulbous glasses (available in a set of four) for Belgian and Belgian-inspired brews, such as farmhouse ales like the saison beer, or maybe monk-made dubbels and tripels. The beers shine best when poured into a glass, where you can admire their majestic poofs of perfumed foam.
“The large bowl captures a beer’s aromatic esters, and the tulip showcases a rich, fluffy head,” she says. “I used these glasses at Eleven Madison Park for our beer and cheese pairings—they look great full or with just a few ounces in them.”
Price at time of publish: $36
Material: Glass | Number of Pieces: 4 | Dimensions: 3.56 x 3.56 x 6.1 inches | Capacity: 15.5 ounces | Dishwasher-Safe: Yes
Best Gift for Beer Lovers
Spiegelau IPA Glass Set
Plenty of room to decant an IPA
Sold in smaller sets of two
Not dishwasher safe
Tough to clean
There’s drinking. And then there’s thinking while drinking. If you’re looking to treat a more advanced beer lover who likes to analyze the liquid, follow the lead of Cigar City’s Wambles and pour your beers into a Spiegelau IPA glass (sold in a set of two).
“The shape of the mouth of the glass concentrates aroma, making it the perfect glassware for critical evaluation,” Wambles says of the dishwasher-safe glassware, developed in collaboration with Sierra Nevada and Dogfish Head. The glass’s ridges help aerate the beer, while the bowed shape magnifies the distinct fragrances.
P.S. The glasses are also grand for, you guessed it, drinking IPAs. The thin-walled glassware holds 19 ounces, giving you plenty of room to decant a canned pint of IPA and create a crown of lustrous foam.
Price at time of publish: $30
Material: Glass | Number of Pieces: 2 | Dimensions: 3.3 x 3.3 x 7.3 inches | Capacity: 19 ounces | Dishwasher-Safe: Yes
“To ensure that your glass is 'beer clean,' use a lanolin-free dish soap and air dry your glasses on a rack versus using a towel. You will know if you have a beer-clean glass by the looks of your pour.” — Max Bakker, Master Cicerone, Anheuser-Busch
If you're looking for one set of glasses that are chip-resistant, stylish, and suitable for a variety of beer types, the Bormioli Rocco Bodega Glassware Set is your best bet. For a set that covers just about every shape of beer glass you could ever need, go for the Libbey Craft Brews Assorted Beer Glasses.
What To Look For in Beer Glasses
“If you have a favorite beer brand, I recommend having the glass or style of glass that the brewery pours your favorite beer in around the home,” Bakker says. “Other essential glasses to have at home to elevate your beer experiences include stemmed chalice/tulip glasses and a few proper imperial nonic-style pint glasses.”
Most bars serve a pint in a standard, 20-ounce glass, but notice the variety of sizing on this list. Depending on the alcohol percentage and the style of a beer, you will want to serve each beer in a corresponding glass. Consider what beers you prefer sipping and pick a glass size accordingly.
“Beer glasses are kind of like house plants—sometimes they are hard to keep alive,” Bakker says. “I recommend looking for glasses that you will be able to clean and maintain. Stemmed glasses and glasses with intricate artwork on them are nice, but always require hand washing versus ease of the dishwasher. Thinner, lighter glasses require a softer touch when cleaning, drying, and storing.” If you’re not one to want to wash and polish a glass after a late night of sipping, consider a dishwasher-safe option.
Why does beer taste better in a glass?
“Beer glasses are designed to promote the visual aesthetics of beer (foam, color, and clarity) and to enhance the beer’s flavor (aroma, taste, mouthfeel, and aftertaste),” Bakker says. “While there are many different types of beer glasses to choose from, a glassware’s cleanliness will make a bigger difference in your enjoyment than the type of glass used.”
How many ounces are in a beer glass?
“I recommend an 8- to 10-ounce, stemmed, chalice-type tulip glass for high-ABV beer,” Bakker says. “Like spirits, beer with a high ABV is best consumed in smaller portions and in glassware designed to capture and maximize the aroma of the product.” For standard-proof beers, a regular, larger glass is completely serviceable.
Can you freeze beer glasses?
Freezing your glasses is a dangerous game. Yes, your glasses will be icy cold, but the glasses will also pick up the scents of things in your freezer, meaning your IPA may have subtle notes of frozen pizza. Unless you have a beer fridge with shelves set aside for glasses, consider just chilling your beer.
How do I pour a beer?
“Give your glass a rinse with some clean cool water before pouring,” Bakker says. “Tilt your glass at a 45-degree angle and pour until about two-thirds full. Then, pour straight down the middle with force to develop the perfect collar of foam. You should see a nice collar of foam composed of small, tight bubbles, and there should be no bubbles adhering to the sides of the glass.”
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
This article was written by Joshua M. Bernstein, a journalist specializing in beer, spirits, food, and travel. Bernstein is also the author of five books: "Brewed Awakening," "The Complete Beer Course," "Complete IPA," "Homebrew World," and "Drink Better Beer."
This article was updated by Kate Dingwall, who has spent more than six years writing about wine and spirits and the last decade as a working sommelier. Her work appears in a variety of national outlets, both print and digital. She’s the niece of an award-winning Belgian brewer and is always kind enough to help test his new brews. For this roundup, she interviewed master cicerone Max Bakker of Anheuser-Busch.