The 5 must-have beer glasses
December 11th, 2022
Written by: Dominique Labre, creator and lead member of the Ottawa’s Homebrew Society
If there’s something I know about myself, it is that I always had a glassware obsession. My love for a cool vessel to drink out of predates my years of homebrewing. I always had many variations of juice glasses, wine glasses, shots, coffee mugs, and espresso cups. There was a time when I could not drive by a Value Village or an antique store without having a quick look at their glassware section.
Thankfully, I always manage to control my urge to buy the massive 3-litre Steins, the obscure branding of a brewery or a sports team I’ve never seen before, or the slightly newer Stella Artois chalice to replace the faded and chipped one I had at home. I always had way too many cups on hand, as if I was about to open a café or a bistro! After years of having too many glasses and mugs, I decided to slim down the herd.
A purge occurred, and at the same time, I fell in love with the process of brewing beer. That’s when I decided to renew my love for glassware but also be more selective as to what I keep in the cupboard. I wanted to expand my knowledge of the different shapes, sizes, and origins of glass. It took me a while, but now I have fewer types of beer glassware, but I swear by these 5 styles:
The basic glass of beer you will find anywhere. From the dive bar downtown to the slickest gastropub in the nice part of town. With its thicker wall and bottom, it often has a bit more weight to it and that gives it a nice sturdy feel in hand. It is good for most styles, which makes it a great general glass to use at home or in bars. It’s an inexpensive glass to produce and therefore it will be what you’ll see in breweries and bars with their brand proudly painted on.
- Nearly cylindrical with a mild outer taper
- 16 to 20 oz
- Widely available
- Sturdy and can take to survive an enthusiastic, Cheers!
The Teku/Bier Sommelier
In recent years, TEKU has become the most recognizable glass in the beer world. A vessel that displays wine glass characters. The elegant base with a tall delicate stem leads to a wide cup where the liquid it contains can be visually observed and the aroma rises to a conical chimney-shaped upper rim.
It quickly became my go-to glass for all styles on a fancier dinner. It enhanced the experience of having a nice stout to the hoppier IPA.
- Fine, delicate glass
- Fancy look
- 14 oz
- Fragile, but not to be underestimated when they are from a reputable source. (Beware of TEKU imitations)
With a short stem and a nice, beautiful bowl. This type of glassware has a tulip shape with a rim that pushes out to capture the head and helps create this separation between the foamy top and the round body where the colour of the beer is what we focus on. That shape is incredible in hand, it captures all volatiles all the while allowing the head to form.
- Great feel in the hand
- Multi-Style appropriate (IPA, Bock, Sours, Belgian, Lambic)
- Enhance all beers, in flavours and in appearance.
A majestic work of art. This type ranges from heavy-duty thick glass (Leffe) to a thinner one (Stella Artois). With a stem of different lengths, they always move up to a very dramatic cup. The thinner ones will often have gold or silver rim and the heavy ones will feel like a massive and heavy drinking container that belongs in the hands of a king! The wide mouth is designed to highlight all the aromas being shot out of the glass. With such a massive look, they are made to enhance the look of the beer, by scoring the bottom of the glass creates a never-ending flow of bubbles and improves head retention.
Often used to serve European styles such as Belgians Dark/Strong ales, Dubbel/Tripel/Quads.
- Allows huge sips and whiffs of the beer aromas
- Great tactile experience to use such a heavy glass
Sometimes you just don’t want the full volume to consume. And no one likes a glass-half-full situation… So, get a sample-size glass!
In 4 oz. size, these are great, they also come in all shapes and styles: mini-pint, mini-barrels, mini-steins, mini-tulips, and mini-goblets. The list goes on and on.
What I love about my selection of sample-size glasses, is the ability to serve my guests a beer flight (4 sample sizes of 4 different beers) and share my most recent homebrews or local craft beers of the week.
- Small easy-to-store and serve
- Allows beer flights at home and small sip portions.
- Cute, fun, and collectible from your local favourite brewery
Of course, I could go on about the many more “Must Have” but I truly believe that with these few types you would be covered to serve all the best beers at home to your guests and always impress!
What I find important is the tactile aspect of selecting my glass. If the cup feels good in your hand or you like how it holds the beer, make the beer colour “Pop”. Then it’s the cup for you. For me it’s the TEKU, it always makes me happy to show how nice my homebrews look in a TEKU.
With its beautiful look, it elevates my beer nice and high above the rest of everyone else’s glass as if it’s a pedestal for nothing but the greatest of drinks. BEER!
The Ottawa’s Homebrew Society is a local club focused on connecting homebrewers of all levels of expertise, assisting them in improving their brewing skills and to introduce new beer lovers to the amazing hobby of homebrewing.