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  10. Beer Glass or Stein? German Beer Glasses for Different Types of Beer
Beer Glass or Stein? German Beer Glasses for Different Types of Beer

Beer Glass or Stein? German Beer Glasses for Different Types of Beer

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One thing you may notice about Germans, is that they can be rather particular about what sort of glass their beer is served in. This is not just snobbery… there really are special Beer Glasses for different types of Beer. Certain shapes will accentuate the flavors of different types of beer. (Sort of like wine).   And why can’t you just use a Stein? And, is a Beer Stein always a beer stein? Contrary to stereotypes in movies, not all Germans drink from hefty Beer Steins! In fact my dad drank mostly from a Pils glass.

Let me clarify ….

Beer Glasses History

beer glasses history

Up until the 1600’s, beer was just served in clay or stoneware mugs. The shape of the drinking container was practical, and thick clay mugs would hold up to drunk patrons in any bar. By the 1700’s many Steins had lids to keep out bugs (and maybe plague germs). And then along came Bier Deckel… but that’s another story.

Beer was for consuming, not for connoisseurs. Beer was liquid refreshment in a time when water wasn’t safe to drink. It wasn’t about the shape, it was about practicality. Still, to set themselves apart, wealthier people began to purchase tankards or mugs made from pewter and silver. Then in the 1700s, German glassblowers started creating glassware specifically for beer. These commissions were generally made by the wealthy for special events.

Different shapes and styles of beer glasses came from the breweries, as a way of distinguishing themselves… sort of early advertising. Later, like wine glasses, certain shapes were determined to compliment specific types of beer.

Does the shape of the glass make that much of a difference to the enjoyment of Beer? That’s up for you to decide. Meanwhile, here is a brief description of the most common Beer Glasses, Stein and Mugs that you will find in Germany.



Beer Glasses for Different Types of Beer

beer glass history

beer glasses for different types of beerGerman Pilsner Glasses-

German Pilsner glasses are specially designed to serve light (not diet) beers, but especially Pilsners. They are tall, slender and taper to a wider opening. The Pils glass typically holds less volume, only 12 ounces, but nothing is stopping you from pouring a second glass…. The slender shape allows the drinker to appreciate the color and bubbles of the beer, while the wide mouth helps maintain the head, and allows for an appreciation of the beer’s aroma.

Note- Don’t mistake a Pils glass for a Weizen! They are similar, but a Pilsner glass tapers without a curve, and the Weizen glass is larger and curves.

Libbey Stockholm Pilsner Beer Glasses, Set of 4Libbey Stockholm Pilsner Beer Glasses, Set of 4Libbey Stockholm Pilsner Beer Glasses, Set of 4Style Setter Abigail Pilsner Glasses, Set of 4Style Setter Abigail Pilsner Glasses, Set of 4Style Setter Abigail Pilsner Glasses, Set of 4

 

What is a Pokal Glass-

This is the kind of glass my dad drank from at home… so I have a soft spot for this shape.

The Pokal Glass is basically a Pilsner Glass, with one distinct difference… it has a stem and a foot. The bottom bulbs a little, the sides are fairly straight, and the mouth is a bit smaller. This glass is for the visual enjoyment of the beer… the smaller opening makes it a drinker’s glass rather than an aroma glass.

Circleware Bier Footed Beer/Drinking Glasses, Set of 4, 20 oz., ClearCircleware Bier Footed Beer/Drinking Glasses, Set of 4, 20 oz., ClearCircleware Bier Footed Beer/Drinking Glasses, Set of 4, 20 oz., ClearPilsner Beer Glasses Set of 6 - English Pub Beer Glass for Drinking Craft, Belgian, German British Beer - Half Pint 12.8oz, Elegant, Crystal & StemmedBeer Glasses Set of 6 – English Pub Beer Glass for Drinking Craft, Belgian, German British Beer – Half Pint 12.8oz, Elegant, Crystal & StemmedPilsner Beer Glasses Set of 6 - English Pub Beer Glass for Drinking Craft, Belgian, German British Beer - Half Pint 12.8oz, Elegant, Crystal & Stemmed

beer glass or stein

HefeWeizen Beer Glass… aka Weizen Beer Glass

hefeweizen beer glassThe Weizen Beer glass is used for wheat beers with strong carbonation, such as Hefeweizen, Dunkelweiss and Weizenbock. These aromatic and flavorful beers require a thin walled glass that shows off the color, but it also needs space at the top to show off the beautiful foamy head. Therefore, a Weizen glass is tall, generally holding .5L, kind of skinny, but gets wider at the top. There is a tapered bit at the bottom to trap any yeast left from the brewing process (you homebrewers know what I’m talking about.) The main difference between it and a Pils glas is the size, and the curvature.

BTW… despite what you might see in advertising, don’t stick a lemon or orange wedge on the rim of the Weizen glass. The citric acid will destroy the foam head, and since a weizen beer already has a “fruity” aroma, the added wedge would only interfere. Although, some say that the American Hefeweizens are less fruity, so maybe adding a lemon slice is a good idea.

Paulaner Weissbier Wheat Beer 22 Ounce Glass | Set of 2 GlassesPaulaner Weissbier Wheat Beer 22 Ounce Glass | Set of 2 GlassesPaulaner Weissbier Wheat Beer 22 Ounce Glass | Set of 2 GlassesSpiegelau Classics Hefeweizen Beer Glasses - (Clear Crystal, Set of 4)Spiegelau Classics Hefeweizen Beer Glasses – (Clear Crystal, Set of 4)Spiegelau Classics Hefeweizen Beer Glasses - (Clear Crystal, Set of 4)German Beer Glass Sampler 2-Piece SetGerman Beer Glass Sampler 2-Piece SetGerman Beer Glass Sampler 2-Piece SetWheat Beer Glass 16oz with NucleatedWheat Beer Glass 16oz with NucleatedWheat Beer Glass 16oz with Nucleated

What is a Stange Beer Glass?

what is a stange beer glassThe Stange (“stick” or “pole”) beer glass is a simple glass shaped like a cylinder. It looks like a regular old glass. Typically this is a smaller glass, holding around 6.5 ounces.

The Stange is used for more delicate beers, such as Kölsch or Alt beers. The size and shape are said to concentrate the flavors within the beer and amplify the malt and hop flavors. And you finish the beer before it goes warm or flat.

Stange Kolsch German Beer Glass - 200ml - Set of 4 GlassesStange Kolsch German Beer Glass – 200ml – Set of 4 GlassesStange Kolsch German Beer Glass - 200ml - Set of 4 GlassesGaffel Kolsch - set of 12 - German Beer Gold Rim Glasses 0.4 LiterStange - NEWGaffel Kolsch – set of 12 – German Beer Gold Rim Glasses 0.4 LiterStange – NEWGaffel Kolsch - set of 12 - German Beer Gold Rim Glasses 0.4 LiterStange - NEW

 

 

What is a Willi Becher
willi becher

The Willi Becher is astandard beer glass in Germany. It’s a thick bottomed glass that tapers a bit in the middle, and generally holds 500 ml. The name comes from its designer, Willy Steinmeier, who in 1954 convinced Ruhrglass AG to produce this everyday beer glass. Today, over 10 million of these glasses are produced each year. The Willy Becher is used to serve German Lagers, German lagers, Schwarzbier, Marzen, Oktoberfestbier, Rauchbier, Pils or Pilsener, Maibock, Helles and Helles Bock.

Arc International Luminarc Willi Becher Tumbler, 16-Ounce, Set of 12Arc International Luminarc Willi Becher Tumbler, 16-Ounce, Set of 12Bormioli Rocco Willi Becher Beer Glass - 16.5 ozBormioli Rocco Willi Becher Beer Glass – 16.5 oz

What is an Altbier Glass?

Altbier is a traditional Dusseldorfer Beer. The name literally translates to “old Beer”, but the Alt actually refers to the Latin word “altus” which means high… describing the height that the yeast rises during fermentation.

Whatever the reason for the name, the beer tends to be fruity, smooth and mellow because of longer conditioning. To truly appreciate the nuances, you want a smaller Altbier Glass. This cylinder shaped glass holds only 0.2 to 0.3 liters.

 

5 Kloster Brunswiek Wellem Hensen Remmert Altbier German Beer Glasses5 Kloster Brunswiek Wellem Hensen Remmert Altbier German Beer Glasses5 Kloster Brunswiek Wellem Hensen Remmert Altbier German Beer Glasses4 Hannen Urfels Doctoren Diebels Altbier German Beer Glasses4 Hannen Urfels Doctoren Diebels Altbier German Beer Glasses4 Hannen Urfels Doctoren Diebels Altbier German Beer Glasses

 

Berliner Weisse Glass

berliner weisse
Green and red cocktail with straw in the restaurant, soft focus

A Berliner Weisse is a cloudy, sour beer from Northern Germany. It’s made with barley and wheat malt, and fermented at low temperatures to keep it light colored. To counter the sour taste, Berliner Weisse is often served with Raspberry or Woodruff (Waldmeister) Syrup in more of a bowl shaped glass.

 

 

 

2 Schultheiss Berliner Weisse Millenium 2000 Berlin Weizen German Beer Glasses2 Schultheiss Berliner Weisse Millenium 2000 Berlin Weizen German Beer Glasses2 Schultheiss Berliner Weisse Millenium 2000 Berlin Weizen German Beer GlassesKindl Berlin Berliner Weisse Champagne-style Weizen German Beer GlassKindl Berlin Berliner Weisse Champagne-style Weizen German Beer GlassKindl Berlin Berliner Weisse Champagne-style Weizen German Beer Glass

 


 

Beer Glass or Beer Stein?

Beer Steins are more common in Southern Germany, where the walls of the Stein/Krug keep the beer cooler. In Northern Germany, beer is poured in smaller portions.

Beer Stein or Krug?

This is where things get a little tricky, and the differences become more subtle. In the US we tend to use the words mug and stein somewhat interchangeably. But, like so much of the German language, there are precise words for the various types of beer drinking vessels with handles.

The word STEIN refers to Steingut, the clay material that beer mugs were commonly made from. However, you wouldn’t use the word Stein in Germany when referring to a mug (Stein is a stone), instead you would say Steinkrug. Also, the word Bierstein is not a Stein for beer, it’s actually beer stone or beer scale, the calcified residue left behind after the brewing process.

So, what do we call those things?

beer krug

What is a Beer Krug?

What is a beer krugThe Krug is a large thick glass mug with dimples that holds .5 to 1 L of German lager. Because the glass it thick, and the dimples distort, you don’t get a chance to appreciate the color of your beer much, but the large opening means that you can enjoy the aroma and flavor of your beer very well.

The handle makes it easy to hold (especially after you’ve had a few), and keeps your hand from warming the beer while you are holding it.

These sturdy mugs are strong enough to hold up to the most enthusiastic toasts!

1 Liter HB1 Liter HB1 Liter HBPaulaner Dimpled Isar Beer Mug - 1 Liter Mass KrugPaulaner Dimpled Isar Beer Mug – 1 Liter Mass KrugPaulaner Dimpled Isar Beer Mug - 1 Liter Mass KrugDimple Stein Beer Mug - 20 OZ (4 Pack)Dimple Stein Beer Mug – 20 OZ (4 Pack)Dimple Stein Beer Mug - 20 OZ (4 Pack)

What is a Humpen?

what is a humpen
Humpen and Maß

A Humpen is also known as a Bierkrug, Steinkrug, Bierseidel, Henkel (Berlin), Halben (Northern Germany) and Walzenkrug. This beer mug holds .5L of beer in a heavy cylindrical shaped mug. This type of  mug, often confused with a Stein, has been in use since the 1600s. Usually they are made from Stoneware, but you will also find versions made from glass, silver or tin. Often they are imprinted with the logo from the brewery or drinking establishment.

German Stoneware Beer Mug 0.5 Liter By RastalGerman Stoneware Beer Mug 0.5 Liter By RastalHofbrauhaus Munich Stoneware German Beer Mug with Lion Crest and HB Munchen, 0.5 Liter | Hofbrouhaus Munich German Beer SteinHofbrauhaus Munich Stoneware German Beer Mug with Lion Crest and HB Munchen, 0.5 Liter | Hofbrouhaus Munich German Beer Stein

What is a Beer Stein

(Deckelkrug, Bierkrug or Seidel)

what is a beer steinThe traditional Beer mug with a lid, what we call a Beer Stein, is a Deckelkrug or Seidel. It could also be referred to simply as a Bierkrug. The pewter lids were introduced in the 16th century when laws were passed requiring that all food and drink containers have lids to help prevent the spread of the plague. The lids for these mugs have a simple hinge which makes them easy to open with your thumb.

These special mugs were designed to commemorate events, and have been collected since the 1800s! Deckelkrugs are made from Glass, Porcelain, stoneware, pewter and even wood. These decorative beer mugs are generally regarded as ornamental souvenirs. As beautiful as they are… it can be a pest to drink out of them, so many people prefer straightforward beer glasses or Humpen.

Beer Stein Engraved Germany Coats of Arms Cobalt Blue Lidded Beer Mug by E.H.G. | 1.1 LiterBeer Stein Engraved Germany Coats of Arms Cobalt Blue Lidded Beer Mug by E.H.G. | 1.1 LiterBeer Stein Engraved Germany Coats of Arms Cobalt Blue Lidded Beer Mug by E.H.G. | 1.1 LiterBeer Stein German Schnitzelbank Song Lidded Beer Mug by E.H.G | .9 LiterBeer Stein German Schnitzelbank Song Lidded Beer Mug by E.H.G | .9 LiterBeer Stein German Schnitzelbank Song Lidded Beer Mug by E.H.G | .9 LiterBeer Stein German Bayern Coat of Arms Engraved Lidded Beer Mug by E.H.G | .75 LiterBeer Stein German Bayern Coat of Arms Engraved Lidded Beer Mug by E.H.G | .75 LiterBeer Stein German Bayern Coat of Arms Engraved Lidded Beer Mug by E.H.G | .75 Liter

 

What is a Beer Mass or Maß?

A Mass or Maß is actually a unit of volume, and in this case, the volume is exactly 1 liter, the amount of beer this heavy duty beer mug holds. Generally they are made of Stein, and are designed for serious drinking!

Paulaner Dimpled Isar Beer Mug - 1 Liter Mass KrugPaulaner Dimpled Isar Beer Mug – 1 Liter Mass KrugPaulaner Dimpled Isar Beer Mug - 1 Liter Mass KrugLily's Home Heavy Duty Oktoberfest Style Dimpled Glass Beer Stein, Great for Restaurants, Beer Gardens and Parties, Ideal Father's Day Gift, Mass Krug Size (1 Liter Capacity, Single Stein)Lily’s Home Heavy Duty Oktoberfest Style Dimpled Glass Beer Stein, Great for Restaurants, Beer Gardens and Parties, Ideal Father’s Day Gift, Mass Krug Size (1 Liter Capacity, Single Stein)Lily's Home Heavy Duty Oktoberfest Style Dimpled Glass Beer Stein, Great for Restaurants, Beer Gardens and Parties, Ideal Father's Day Gift, Mass Krug Size (1 Liter Capacity, Single Stein)

 

German Beer Boot History

(Bierstiefel )

german beer boot historyOver a century ago, according to legend, a general promised his troops that he would drink beer from his boot if they won a battle. But after they did, good sense prevailed, and the general saved his boot leather (and avoided the unpleasant flavor of feet in his beer) by asking a local glassmaker to create a boot shaped beer glass. Soldiers have been celebrating victory with a beer boot ever since.

In recent years, the Beer Boot has become a drinking challenge or game. Remember, if it is your turn to drink, always point the tip of the boot up until that air bubble gets big, then rotate… otherwise you could end up with a face full of beer.

Click the link to learn more about Beer Boots, and find Personalized Beer Boots HERE

Oktoberfest Style Glass Beer Boot / Das Boot - Octoberfest Glass Beer Mug - 2 LiterOktoberfest Style Glass Beer Boot / Das Boot – Octoberfest Glass Beer Mug – 2 LiterDomestic Corner - Das Boot - 1 Liter Large Beer Boot - Holds Over 2 Beers!Domestic Corner – Das Boot – 1 Liter Large Beer Boot – Holds Over 2 Beers!

There Won’t Be a Quiz….

Does the shape of the glass matter to the enjoyment of your beer? I suspect that flavor nuances may be different, much like when you enjoy wine out of the correct glass. On the other hand… a group of friends, music and laughter may be enough to enjoy your beer any way you get it.

However, if you love a good German Beer, and you want to enjoy it to the fullest, maybe serving it in just the right Glass, Krug or Deckelkrug will make it absolutely perfect.

Small-Group Munich City and Oktoberfest Tour Including Reserved Oktoberfest Tent Table – $140.17

Join this 7-hour tour and learn about the history of Munich and the Oktoberfest before enjoying a wonderful afternoon with a guaranteed seat in oneof the major beer tents at the Munich Oktoberfest.

 

beer glasses for different types of beer



Comment(17)

  1. I love the articles that German Girl in America publishes . My German forefathers came to America in the early 1800s. I love to learn things about Germany and the German people. German girl in America is helping me to learn things German. Thank You

  2. Nicely informative and hopefully will be read by many. I live in Portland, Oregon, and am delighted to see that our brewpubs are becoming increasingly more sophisticated about serving their various beers in appropriate vessels. It is such a shame when beer is served in plastic containers. It cheapens the experience and affects the flavor, as far as I can tell.

    1. Ugh! I hate plastic cups … for beer or wine…. It’s not that difficult to wash a glass. And while I’m not a super snob about the “right glass”, I do think it add something to the experience.
      Lots of craft breweries are starting up here in Northern California, and I’m pleased to see they are getting it right.

  3. I am German and i like my Beersteins and Glases i am glade i found you i would like to order Beersteins i leave in texas and cant find any. thank you

  4. Interesting article! Contrary to what the article states, I lived in Bavaria for three years, 1983-1986, and Weizen beer was almost always served with a slice of lemon. Prost!

      1. It was a trend back then to serve a Weißbier (Weizen) with a slice of lemon. Today you only put a slice of lemon only in a Kristallweizen (Weizen without yeast). But you hardly get Kristallweizen anyway

  5. That’s a great article! I remember going to Cologne and being served beer from a tray of what looked like tall shot glasses. Then I learned about every style of beer and every region having also a different glass to serve the beer. Fascinating.

  6. Thank you so much! I have been trying to buy a glass from a bar in Manila for the last year and could not find the name of the type of glass: Willie Bercher! This article is so organized and through! Thank you! THANK YOU!

  7. Great article. I worked and lived in Germany for a number of years and started collecting bier glasses from different local breweries. Most of my collection are pils glasses, with a number of pokals and Willi Bechers, and Krugs of all the old mainline Munich breweries. Love my glasses and drinking my bier out of them.

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