Many breweries, in Italy and the world, have produced customized beer glasses - an effective marketing and branding tool, especially when used in pubs and bars when their beers are served.
However, choosing the right glass for a beer is not just a whim or a matter of aesthetics. It is actually very important: glasses are to beer as tires are to race cars. A key choice to fully express all the organoleptic features of a beer that is ready to be served.
Before getting to learn how to serve a beer, it is therefore necessary to choose the right glass. The rest will just follow. Depending on its shape, width of the mouth and curves, it will emphasize or annihilate aromas and tastes, the flowing of the beer into the mouth and - if properly washed - the head will develop correctly.
A beer glass must be chosen based on the beer style and not its macro-family, the geographical origin or type of fermentation, as each type of beer requires a specific glass. Belgian Ales are very different from North American or English Ales, and even within these families there are very different beers. The same is true for Central European Lagers.
Universal glasses exist too and are intended for all types of beer, with no distinction. TeKu, created by Teo Musso's lively mind in cooperation with Lorenzo “Kuaska” Dabove and manufactured by Rastal, is one of these: it is a technical, beer tasting glass, perfect to analyze the range of aromas and perceive each single scent at best. It is also an elegant glass, which can be used in a pub as well as a restaurant. TeKu is also the first glass specifically designed to be used with all craft beers. Today, it is often copied or accompanied by other glasses which supposedly have the same function.
Each beer requires its glass and a good publican (someone who manages/owns a pub and does it with great passion) knows how to choose it according to a few simple rules. In the Anglo-American world, we find glasses that are better suited to the beers brewed in the UK and North America.
The American Pint (also known as Shaker) is a 47 cl beer glass, usually used for beers characterized by North American hops (American India Pale Ales, Double IPAs, Black IPAs, etc.). It goes equally well with several British beers, such as Bitter, Golden and Pale Ales.
The 56 cl Imperial Pint or Nonic is typically found on the English market and has the classic bulge on top, which helps stacking the glasses and provides better grip when standing up and drinking. It is the alternative glass for Bitter, Mild, Brown Ales and most other English beers.
The Balloon, or Cognac or Brandy glass, is perfect for "meditation” beers, such as Barley Wines and Russian Imperial Stouts, which have a high alcohol content and whose scents, generated by oxidation, are emphasized by the narrow top.
Belgian beers are usually served in glasses with different curves:
The Tulip ensures the development of a good head and emphasizes the aromas of yeasts and hops that are typically found in Belgian Ales (such as Blonde, Tripel, Pale Ales, Saison).
The Cup is suited to Dubbel and Quadrupel beers, characterized by roasted malts and a medium-high alcohol content. This is the glass used by Trappist monks to serve the beers they brew in their monasteries.
The Tumbler, similar to the typical glasses found on the tables of simple inns, has a thick and strong bottom and is used for spontaneously fermented beers: Lambic and Gueuze (a mix of Lambic of different vintages). In its shorter and wider version, it is the classic glass for top-fermented beers made with non-malted wheat, called Wit or Blanche.
For Central European beers, usually Lagers, other glasses are more suitable.
The Chalice is the best glass for Pils and Helles beers. It helps the development of a persistent head and fully releases the herbaceous scents of German hops and the barley malt called Pils, key ingredients of these beers.
The Weizenbecker is the typical glass for beers with a high content of wheat barley, called Weizen; it is not suitable for Lagers and other types of beer. It perfectly contains the head and supports the fruity scents typical of the yeasts used for these beers.
The 50 cl German mug, or Seidel, is a rather thick beer glass, which is very effective in keeping the right temperature. The handle also prevents warming up the beer while drinking it. Some ceramic versions also exist and are still widely used in biergartens. It is suited for most beer brewed in Germany and the Czech Republic, like Märzen and Keller beers.
The Altglass, a niche glass with the shape of a tall and narrow cylinder, is used for the typical beers of Düsseldorf, called Alt, and for those brewed in nearby Cologne, called Kölsch.