The internet is full of people arguing about beer—the taste of beer, the business of beer, whether one should wait on hours-long lines to procure cans of beer. It’s never-ending and exhausting, and so, on this day, we’re setting our sights much, much lower, on the not at all hot topic of beer glasses. Here, then, are 12 popular styles of glasses ranked from the very worst to the very best.
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The Shaker Pint
You know the one. Tepid, headless beers are sloppily poured into them at shitty bars by clueless bartenders all over the country. They're fine as souvenirs, or for drinking water from—or, of course, for shaking cocktails, which is what they're actually intended for—but they make for a truly terrible way to serve beer. They're bad for head retention, the aromas escape outward and upward rather than toward your nose and mouth, and they're just so thick around the edges they make it impossible to taste the beer. You can do better than this. You are better than this.
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Typically used to serve big, hearty Belgian beers like quads and dubbels and all those beers that you never drink because you're too busy drinking whatever big juicy IPA everyone's talking about this week. Should you own one of these? Maybe, sure, for that rare occasion when you open one of those Westy 12s everyone bought a few years ago when they showed up stateside. Do you need one? No.
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The Hefeweizen Glass
Alright, so I'm ranking this a little low because of personal preference—I'm not a huge fan of wheat beers, so I don't have a whole lot of use for this type of glass. But that said, they do a hell of a job maintaining the massive, creamy head of foam that makes the hefeweizen so beautiful to look at. One of my other gripes with this glass? They're so tall I have to, like, wedge them into my kitchen cabinets.
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I'm in favor of having a few good, sturdy mugs in your collection, if only to drink a ton of Oktoberfests from for a two-week period every year. Remember, though: you don't want to be one of those dudes who drinks from frozen mugs because... well, for a million reasons, first and foremost being that your beer never needs to be quite that cold.
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Those Stupid Champagne Flute-Looking Things
There was a brief moment where this style of glass seemed to be emerging as the go-to for lots of fancy-pants breweries in the Northeast, from Threes Brewing in Brooklyn to Tired Hands in Ardmore, PA. You'll generally see them with sours and farmhouse ales, but I an't think of any good reason why, other than that they make you look like the kind of person who's drinking sours and farmhouse ales.
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Like the aforementioned hefe glass, the pilsner glass is actually sorta great, but totally impractical. It puts on full display the steady stream of bubbles from the pilsner's ample carbonation. But again, it's enormous, it's a bitch to clean, and t's impossible to store. It also feels a bit decadent for the humble style it's meant to hold.
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The Nonic Pint
The Nonic pint is a far more elegant version of the dopey shaker pint. It's more comfortable in the hand, and features a big, wide mouth-opening that, for me, makes it a great vessel for the 16oz cans of IPA everyone's making these days. They encourage a big head, and they make drinking an even greater joy than it already is.
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The Once Ubiquitous "Belgian" Tulip
These things are all over the place, especially on the march pages of breweries big and small. They're basically a cross between a snifter and a traditional tulip, and they're suitable for most types of beers. Their bottoms are annoyingly thick, and they don't leave a lot of room for your hands, but when you factor in availability, cost, and user experience, they're tough to beat.
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Even more so than the snifter, this one's bound to get you some eye-rolls. But in this case? Fuck 'em. The teku is sexy as hell, with its sharp lines and overall intimidating looks. It functions the same way as a tulip, with a mouth-opening that curves distinctly outward, boosting aromas. The lower portion of the glass is super wide, so it's almost snifter like in its ability to accommodate swirling. The only drawbacks to the teku are that a) they're extremely fragile, and b) they're crazy expensive.