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Clear as Glass

Normally, when I drink a beer I’m more interested in the contents than the glass I’m drinking from. Up to now, at least, because meanwhile I’ve been told that the choice of glass is co-determinant for the taste of the brew. Sadly, though, I’m not precisely sure which glass I have to use for which beer.

So I looked into this a bit, and this is what I discovered:


The tulip

This glass’s name is no accident: it is indeed unmistakably tulip-shaped, gets narrower towards the top and bottom and bellies out a bit in the middle, It also has a short stem rather like a wine glass. The tulip is very thin-walled, and available in sizes of 0.2 litres, 0.3 litres and 0.5 litres, with the 0.3-litre variant the most common.

The tulip is normally used for drinking pilsner. This bottom-fermented beer, with its low carbonation, retains its tangy aromas better, thanks to the narrowing of the glass at the top.

The “Stange”

Die “Stange” is a very narrow glass, which normally holds 0.2 litres. It’s typically used for drinking Kölsch. Kölsch is top-fermented, and because it doesn’t contain carbonic acid, it should accordingly be served in a narrow glass. If the Stange were wider or opened out towards the top, the Kölsch would quickly taste flat.

The Stange is also available in an even smaller variant, the “ Stösschen”, which holds only 0.1 to 0.18 litres.

The wheat-beer glass

This is used solely for wheat beer, which is where it gets its name. It holds 0.5 litres Since wheat beer is highly carbonated, and ranks among the top-fermented (warm-fermented) beers, the glass opens outwards towards the top, which ensures that the carbon dioxide is distributed better, and the beer bubbles more attractively.

The beaker

No – I’m not talking about plastic beakers here (even though you often see them at festivals or in sports stadiums). It has to be noted that the primary factor involved here is not the taste of the beer, but more the effects of alcohol …but that’s a topic for another day). The beaker is a glass mainly used for drinking. Altbier is top-fermented as well, which is why the beaker has a wide opening.

The mug

The mug is used either as a “half” holding 0.5 litres, or as a “stein“ with a capacity of 1 litre. The mug is a cylindrical glass with a handle, and also a welcome guest at every fair and festival. Sometimes mugs are also made of stoneware. It’s a popular choice for drinking outdoors, and can be used for almost any kind of beer.

The Willi

The “Willibecher” (named after its inventor Willy Steinmeier) is, so to speak, the standard glass for any kind of beer. It is available in the 0.2-l, 0.25-l, 0.3-l, 0.4-l and 0.5-l sizes, and is noticeable for its relatively high shape, narrowing at the top and bottom, and slightly full-bellied in the middle. With the Willibecher you can hardly go wrong.


Here opinions are divided. If your aim is to savour the taste to the full, then you should never drink from the bottle. Due to the bottle’s small opening, the pressure of the outflowing liquid on your tongue is too great, you see, which impairs your perception of the taste. What’s more, you gulp the beer down too quickly. It’s the same with beer from the can. Nevertheless, in certain situations it may indeed by practical to drink from bottles or cans.

But what is a total no-no, irrespective of whether you’re a connoisseur or a layperson, is drinking wheat beer from the bottle. This simply belongs in the appropriate glass, I can confidently assert, even without extensive research and a guide to glasses 😉


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