We're far more interested in what's inside our beer glassware than its design, but that hasn't stopped us from filling up our cabinets with all manner of serving vessels for our favorite libations. In many cases, glassware has developed in tandem with beer styles and drinking particular beers gains an added dimension when you drink the right beer out of the right glass. Though some glass designs have developed only to achieve a certain visual aesthetic there's usually more to the story. Most glassware features specific traits that highlight the unique characteristics of the beer style they were meant to hold.
Twenty-five miles to the north of Cologne in the city of Dusseldorf the traditional beer style is altbier. Altbier or "old beer" predates the more modern lager style beers. The beers are malty, copper-colored quaffers with a crisp bitter finish. In keeping with its brisk and straightforward appeal, altbier is served in a becher. Like the stange, the becher is a straight sided glass that holds just over six and a half ounces of beer, but there's less theatricality in the presentation that the squat glasses provide. At Dusseldorf brewpubs where alt is the only beer on offer waiters drop fresh bechers off at tables and keep a tally by marking the tablecloth with pencil hashmarks.
What it's best for: Traditional Altbier presentation. You can approximate the effect with any number of squat glass tumblers and Ninkasi's Sleigh'r when it's in season.
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