The Beer Glass

To some people the term “beer glass” simply means any vessel big enough to hold a bottle of beer. However, as most beer lovers know, beer can be a very sophisticated and complex drink. The proper shaped glass can make quite a considerable difference to the look, aroma, taste and overall enjoyment of the beverage.

Regardless of which glass you are using, the most essential factor is to ensure the glass is “beer clean”.  Grease (lipstick or fingerprints), soap or milk residue will cause the carbonation to dissipate quickly and the beer will lose its head prematurely.  As some dishwashers tend to leave behind a soapy residue, it is best to hand wash your glasses using a mild detergent, rinse well and leave to air dry.

So which glass do you use?

Willy_glass.jpgWilly Beer Glass
The most common glass used for beer in South African restaurants and pubs.  It holds 340ml and has a wide enough rim to allow the head to spread slightly and release its aroma’s.  Cheap and easy to stack. 
Fine for commercial lagers and better than drinking from a can or bottle. 

Nonic.pngEnglish Pint Glass (or Nonic)
Anyone that has been to a pub in the UK will be familiar with these. It holds a respectable 20 oz (about  570ml). The bulge assists with preventing the glasses from sticking together when stacking as well as slipping out of your hand.

Recommended Styles: Amber Ale,  Bitter, Dry Stout, English Pale Ale, English, Strong Ale, Golden Ale/Blond Ale, Irish Ale,  Mild Ale, Pale Lager, Porter, Premium Bitter/ESB, Scottish Ale, Stout, Sweet, Stout, Traditional Ale

Pilsner_glass.jpgPilsner Glass
A pilsner glass is tall, with a shape that evenly tapers from a wider mouth to a narrower base with no curves. The thin glass provides a stage to show off the colour, clarity and effervescence, while the wide mouth allows for the formation of nice a foamy head.

Recommeded Styles: Intended really for only for the style after which it is named, but as they are such elegant glasses, you can use them to serve most light beers.

You might wander what these are doing in our collection of beer glasses as they are traditionally used for Brandy or Cognac, but the shape of a snifter allows the drinker to swirl and agitate the volatiles, producing an intense aroma. 

Recommended Styles:  Ideal for the highly aromatic beers, such as Belgian ales, wheat wines, triples, stouts and lambics.


Another great glass to use for aromatic beers is the tulip glass. Not only does the shape help trap the aroma, but also aids in maintaining large heads, creating a visual and olfactory sensation. The body is bulbous, but the top flares out to form a lip which helps head retention. The Duvel glass is a good example.  

Recommended Syles: Scottish ales, barleywines, Belgian ales and other aromatic beers

Goblet.jpgChalice or Goblet

Chalices and goblets are large, stemmed, bowl-shaped glasses adequate for serving heavy Belgian ales, German bocks, and other big sipping beers. The distinction between goblet and chalice is typically in the glass thickness. Goblets tend to be more delicate and thin, while the chalice is heavy and thick walled. Some chalices are even scored on the bottom which creates a CO2 nucleation point creating a stream of bubbles for maintaining a nice head.


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