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.
The Shaker Glass
Walk into just about any bar in the United States and ask for a draught beer and they'll hand you a pint in this thick walled glass. Nearly every brewery in the country slaps their logo on these glasses and it's a shame because the shaker glass is the absolute worst option for drinking beer with the possible exception of having it served directly into your cupped hands. The straight sided glass is designed to easily seal against a companion metal shaker glass enabling the bartender to shake up cocktail. Used in this manner the shaker glass provides for a bit of theatricality. When a shaker holds beer it's pretty much charmless and the straight walls do no favors to the beer's aroma.
Why is it so popular? It protects the bottom line of pub owners - these glasses aren't completely indestructable, but they're close and they're stackable to allow for easy service.
What it's best for: Mixing drinks. Lagers and most English and American ales won't suffer too much in a shaker glass, but we draw the line at beers like barleywines and strong Belgian ales which have complex aromas and higher strength. If you find yourself in a similar situation ask for a tulip glass and if you get a blank stare ask for a wine glass.
Credit: Jack Andersen / Getty Images