If you've gone out to a brewpub or into the home of a beer aficionado lately, you have probably noticed that there are a whole bunch of different beer glass styles in heavy rotation these days. Each type of glass corresponds to a particular brewing tradition and is meant to bring out the particular qualities associated with that beer style. That's not to say that you can't serve beers in the "wrong" glass, only that serving them in their intended glassware will give you a better idea of which characteristics the brewers were aiming to bring out in the beer. Here's a quick list of some of the more common styles:
- Imperial pint glass: There are two main differences between the imperial pint glass and the American pint glass. The first is that the imperial pint glass has a curved shape, wider at the top than at the bottom, and the second is that it holds 20 ounces of beer instead of 16. This comes as a pleasant surprise to many Americans ordering a pint abroad. The imperial pint glass is most often used for Irish stouts, English ales, cream ales and porters.
- Snifter: The spiritual opposite of the imperial pint glass, the snifter is small and delicate, with a wide bowl, stem and tapered mouth. It is used primarily in serving strong ales and other beverages with a lot of flavor to bring out, like sour ales, fruity lambics and barleywines.
- Beer mug: Germany's answer to the imperial pint glass, a beer mug is essentially the famous stein without the lid. According to Beeradvocate, "The best part of using a mug is that you can clink them together with more confidence than other types of glassware." These are best used for solid, drinkable beers, like lagers, blonde ales and pilsners. A stainless steel beer stein would be perfect for the Oktoberfest celebration.