There are a variety of different-shaped beer glasses for drinking various brews: shaker pints; English tulip pints; snifters; tapered pilsner glasses; and, of course, the liter steins of Oktoberfest.
But if you’ve brought home a nice, complex brew that you want to savor, you don’t need to spring for a fancy glass to do so; you probably already have a perfect drinking vessel in your cupboard: a wine glass.
Unlike a shaker pint (another cupboard classic) that warms up in your hand and causes beer to lose its aroma quickly, wine glasses have a few features that make them great for drinking beer.
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1. The Stem
A glass with a stem ensures that your hand doesn’t warm up your beer too fast, which can cause aroma and flavor compounds to disperse more quickly.
2. The Tapered Lip
The slight taper of the wine glass toward the opening forces aroma up into your thirsty maw, concentrating the flavor in each sip.
3. The Bowl Shape
Not only does the bowl shape of a wine glass trap aroma, it also lets you give that beer a lil’ swirl, Napa Valley winery–style, which releases more flavor and aroma. Betcha can’t do that in a full pint glass!
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4. The Thin Rim
The thin glass rim allows beer to pour smoothly into your mouth, while a thicker-rimmed beer glass can cause it to slosh a bit as it pours out.
However, we will note that while you might want to enjoy, say, a complex Flemish red with notes of dried cherry and vermouth in a wine glass, a hop-bomb IPA might be a little too aggressive. Unless you’re into that.