If you enjoy raising a glass of your favorite beer, then you may just enjoy it that little bit more when your beer is in the right glass or mug. There are distinct types of beers, ales, pilsners, lagers and stouts available and the type of glass that you drink these from will make a difference to the aroma and the taste that you will experience.If you tend to pour your beer into the nearest shaker, then you might feel a little overwhelmed by all the types of beer glasses available. In this article, we guide you through some of the main types of beer glasses and mugs and review a range of these to help you in choosing the best beer mugs for your favorite types of beer.
Whether you fancy yourself as an extra in a Viking film, or just want to drink your beer from something a little different, then the extra-large AleHorn horn cup is our best pick of the beer mugs.
The ARC International Luminarc pub beer glasses are our budget pick as the traditional all-purpose and ever-popular shaker glasses.
Table of Contents
- Quick Comparison: Top 10 Best Beer Mugs
- 1. Extra-Large AleHorn Horn Cup
- 2. ARC International Luminarc Pub Beer Glasses
- 3. Libbey Craft Brews Assorted Beer Glasses
- 4. Libbey Heidelberg Glass Beer Mugs
- 5. Arc International Luminarc Guinness Gravity Glass
- 6. Samuel Adams Perfect Pint Glass
- 7. Libbey Craft Brews Wheat Beer Glasses
- 8. Snowfox Set of Two Insulated Stainless Steel Beer Glasses
- 9. Hofbrauhause Munchen (HB) 1 Liter Stein
- 10. Schott Zwiesel Tritan Crystal Beer Glass
- Things to Consider Before Buying a Beer Mug
Quick Comparison: Top 10 Best Beer Mugs
1. Extra-Large AleHorn Horn Cup
The extra-large AleHorn horn cup has a one piece horn handle and holds around 20 oz. Handcrafted from livestock trade byproduct horns, this horn cup is sealed with acrylic and coated in a thin layer of protective enamel. The interior is coated with a safe and non-toxic food safe lacquer.
As a natural product, this horn is for cold drinks only and needs keeping from temperature extremes. Neither is it dishwasher safe. Each cup is unique, with some variation in its size, shape and coloring. Most horns have a natural curve and it may take you some time to get used to drinking out of a curved cup. If some leakage does occur from the horn with time, you can repair it with (finger)nail hardener.The horn cup will need a few washes in warm soapy water on arrival and if you always wash it and dry it straight after use it will reduce the chance of a ‘natural odor’ from appearing. It comes with a lifetime guarantee.
2. ARC International Luminarc Pub Beer Glasses
The ARC International Luminarc pub beer glasses (set of 10) are soda ash glass that is free from lead. Made in the US, each glass holds one pint/16 oz. As the glass may be more fragile than similar glasses, you will need to handle carefully and although they are dishwasher safe, again, some care will be necessary when using the dishwasher to reduce the risk of chips or cracks.
3. Libbey Craft Brews Assorted Beer Glasses
The Libbey Craft Brews assorted beer glasses (set of 6) includes a glass for six main types of beer designed to bring out its flavor. The lead-free glass set features a 20 oz English pub glass, a 14.75 oz stout/porter glass, a 23 oz wheat beer glass, a 20 oz craft pub glass, a 15.25 oz pilsner glass and a 16.6 oz Belgian ale glass.Although this set could make an ideal gift as well as an addition to your cupboard, unfortunately it does not come in a gift box, its packaging is just brown cardboard.
4. Libbey Heidelberg Glass Beer Mugs
Designed as a classic German beer mug, the Libbey Heidelberg glass beer mugs (set of 4) have a 16 oz capacity. These are heavier duty handled glasses that can be stored in the freezer and should keep beer cold for longer, although some users say these do not keep beer cold for as long as they were expecting. The lead-free glass is faceted on the exterior.These are dishwasher safe, although they have a recessed base which means you will need to manually dry them once they have been through the dishwasher.
5. Arc International Luminarc Guinness Gravity Glass
The 20 oz Arc International Luminarc Guinness gravity glass (set of 4) are Guinness merchandise and will take a 14.0 oz can of Guinness with its head, or even two bottles of Guinness. Made in the US, these glasses are decorated with an embossed Guinness harp on one side and on the other, the word Guinness and the harp. The harp is a representation of the ‘O’Neill or ‘Brian Boru’ harp that resides in Trinity College, Dublin.These glasses are narrower at the bottom which can make it awkward when handwashing. If you do put them in the dishwasher you may find that the lettering will start to wear away, although they are dishwasher safe. These glasses may have a visible seam on both sides and they may come in a plain box rather than a branded box. Luminarc products undergo rigorous testing to ensure safety, quality and purity.
6. Samuel Adams Perfect Pint Glass
The Samuel Adams Perfect Pint glass (set of 4) is official Samuel Adams merchandise. These are tulip-style glasses with a 16 oz capacity and the Sam Adams logo on them. They have a nucleation point etched into their inner bases, which helps release carbonation from the bottom of the glass. Each glass in this set is wrapped individually.These glasses are thinner glass and although dishwasher safe, they may be at more risk of damage when put through the dishwasher.
7. Libbey Craft Brews Wheat Beer Glasses
The Libbey Craft Brews wheat beer glasses (set of 6) are 23 oz glasses made in the US. The larger size and shape enhance the flavor of wheat beer and light ales, and; as taller and heavier glasses, they stand around 8⅞″ tall. Although wheat beer tends serve best around 40°F to 45°F, some do prefer to freeze glasses before drinking wheat beer, which means the set of six allows you to always a keep a couple on ice.
8. Snowfox Set of Two Insulated Stainless Steel Beer Glasses
The Snowfox set of two insulated stainless steel beer glasses (olive gray) are double-walled and vacuum insulated to keep beer colder for longer. Snowfox only allows beer to warm within a few degrees, unlike a typical beer glass which can increase the temperature of beer around a °F per minute. It has a 16 oz capacity and a thin rim for easier drinking. These are also ideal for hot drinks.As it is 304 grade stainless steel it is durable, which makes it ideal for outdoor use. The colored glasses are not dishwasher-safe, so will need hand washing.
9. Hofbrauhause Munchen (HB) 1 Liter Stein
The Hofbrauhause Munchen (HB) 1 liter stein is a dimpled mug/glass with a handle. Made in Germany, this is official HB merchandise which features the blue ‘HB’ logo on it. Some owners have been disappointed in the quality of the logo as it may begin to fade quite quickly, particularly if you wash in the dishwasher.This is a very heavy mug, weighing just under 3lb and it holds a generous 33.8 oz.
10. Schott Zwiesel Tritan Crystal Beer Glass
The Schott Zwiesel Tritan crystal beer glass (set of 6) is shaped for German-styled beer. With a 22 oz capacity, these German-made set is safe for cleaning in the dishwasher.Tritan crystal glass can resist breakage and chipping with its added titanium and zirconium oxide and is made using environmentally sensitive technology. It is also free from lead. Although these may be more robust than other crystal glass, you will still need to handle carefully to reduce the risk of breakage.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Beer Mug
The Structure of the Beer Mug
When we drink beer out of the bottle, its narrow neck stops us from appreciating the aroma which needs to come through the nose, whereas the structure of a beer glass allows us to appreciate the aroma and offers a few other benefits.
Beer glasses or mugs that have a bulb shape near the top allow more head or foam to be captured and let aromas concentrate under the nose. Glasses that are fully bowl shaped or convex usually have a stem and these glasses can be held in the hand to warm the beer, and, like a glass with a bulb near the top, they also help to concentrate aromas.
A glass that is concave is usually taller and will help concentrate the foam. It may have a flared rim which helps move beer to the front of the tongue when drinking.
Some glasses have a nucleation point in their bases. These are simply etchings in the glass that the gas (carbonation) in the beer can able to fasten on to and then form bubbles as it rises from the base. This acts to ‘refresh’ your beer and keep it fizzier rather than flatter.
If you prefer to store your beer mugs in the freezer, then ice also acts as a nucleation point and will cause more foaming.
Why A Particular Type of Beer Needs a Particular Type of Glass
Many of us tend to reach for a shaker with a bottle of beer, but the shaker is not the most suitable for all types of beers.
A standard 16 oz glass with straight sides, the American pint or shaker is similar to the British or nonic (‘no-nick’) pint. The nonic has a 20 oz capacity and a slight bulge near the top of the glass that allows for a greater head. Both these pint glasses lose the aroma of the beer and warm up quickly as the glass can be quite thin. Both are all-purpose glasses for lower ABV (alcohol by volume) beers, ales and lagers and the nonic pint is better for stouts or darker ales.
Although available in a variety of shapes and sizes, the beer mug always has a handle. They are usually thick glass and are suitable for general American, German, English or Irish beers.
A goblet or chalice with their large round bowl and thick stem will keep the head of the beer and although the chalice does have thicker walls to keep the drink colder, both are suitable for more complex beers such as Belgian IPAs, and the glass shape also allows the beer to gently warm. The tulip glass is similar, but with a flared rim.
If you are a fan of IPA, then you may be interested in the new IPA glass recently developed between two American breweries. This IPA glass is ridged around the narrow bottom half of the glass to aerate the beer. The top half is a slender bowl that allows the aroma to stay under your nose. Some IPA glasses may have nucleation points.
A stange glass is smaller, usually holding around 6.5 oz or 12 oz, and is cylindrical. This glass can preserve carbonation and concentrate the aromas of malt and the softer hops. Lighter pilsners, rye, gose and lambic beers can be at their best in this type of glass.
As a traditional drinking vessel, a stein was always stone, and it had a lid to keep beer sanitary in the times of the Black Death. The more modern version of the stone stein is ceramicware that is often decorative rather than functional. A krug is a large thick dimpled glass with a handle that holds up to one liter of beer, but to many people outside of Germany, krugs and steins are one and the same. These tend to be popular at beer festivals and for serving up helles bocks, pilsners and other beers.
A pilsner glass is tall and slim and is slightly wider at the top and shows the clarity of lighter beers and pilsners. It helps keep the head on pilsner, blonde ales and Japanese rice lagers allowing the aroma to stay under your nose. Pilsner glasses usually hold between 12 and 14 oz.
Belgian beer or tulip glasses have a flared lip and bulbous body to keep the head and promote aroma. Beers that are sourer, or have higher gravity such as Belgian pale ales, or American IPAs are often served in these.
The weizen or hefeweizen glass is for wheat beers. With its tall body and bulbous top it traps the head and allows drinkers to fully experience the taste and aroma. As wheat beers are unfiltered, the weizen glass also acts as a yeast trap, allowing the yeast to stay at the bottom and not affect your drinking.
The Importance of a Clean Beer Mug
Clean glassware is essential for getting the most from a beer. Any residual grease or detergent in a glass can dissipate the head and disturb the aroma of the beer. A quick hint for recognizing grease or dirt is when you see clusters of bubbles sticking to the inside of the glass, or that foam does not cling to the side when you start to drink.
Brewing professionals recommend that beer mugs need washing separately from other dishes and that they need air drying to stop any lint from drying cloths from sticking.
You can also choose to rinse your glass just before you pour. Some bars will rinse a glass before they serve your beer as this not only removes any dust, but also reduces friction in the glass which means a better head.
The rim of any glass needs checking regularly for any roughness or chips and disposed of if it is damaged. If you can store fragile glassware upside down in a rack, then do, as this will help stop damage to rims.
In this article we have had a look at some bestselling beer mugs and glasses currently available, as well as considering how the shape of the glass helps concentrate the aroma of beer. We have also seen why different glasses are better suited to some types of beers than others and just how important it is to keep your beer mugs clean.Whether you fancy a pint of American ale in a nonic glass or a wheat beer in a weizen glass, then having the best beer mugs for your beer may just help make the difference between a good beer and a great beer.