The Definitive Guide to Beer Steins and Mugs: What to Choose and How to Use

Picture this – you sit down at your favourite bar after a long day at work. The sizzling summer heat is unforgiving, the sun beating down relentlessly on your skin. You are eager for a pint of your favourite ale to quench your thirst. Then, the waitress comes in with your order and you can’t help but notice the pint glass she’s carrying.

It’s short, stout and has a dimpled surface. You observe the dew forming on the outside of the glass, and the tiny bubbles rising to the top of your drink. The first sip is refreshing, and the glass itself feels good in your hand. Yes, the beer is good but the presentation inside classic beer mugs is what takes the experience to the next level.

The History of Beer Drinking Glasses

The classic pint glass has been around for centuries, and its origins can be traced back to 1st century Rome. At that time, glasses were made from pewter and were used to serve beer at public taverns. These early vessels were heavy and cumbersome.

In the Nordic countries, during the Middle Ages, drinking horns were commonly used as mugs. These horns were made from the horns of cattle, and were often elaborately decorated. Beer drinking was a social activity, and the horns were often passed around from person to person.

The first glass mugs appeared in Germany in the 14th century. Their popularity quickly spread throughout Europe, and by the 16th century, glass mugs were commonly used in taverns and inns. The design of these early mugs was simple, with a cylindrical shape and a handle attached to the side.

Today, beer mugs are a common sight at casual backyard barbecues as well as formal get-togethers. Some people might say that the type of glass doesn’t matter, as long as there’s beer in it. But for those of us who appreciate the presentation of a good brew, the glass matters just as much as the beverage itself.

Why Does the Shape Matter?

Shape of Glasses for Beer

The shape of a beer mug is not just for aesthetics – it plays an important role in the taste and smell of your beer. The way the liquor is presented in the glass, as well as the size and shape of the opening, all affect the way you experience your beer.

Think about it this way, would you rather drink beer from a pint glass or a plastic cup? Sure, plastic cups are more convenient, and most of us have probably done it at some point. But there’s something about drinking beer from a glass that just feels more, well, beer-like.

What Are the Different Types of Beer Glasses?

Given the long history of beer steins, it’s no surprise that there are many different types to choose from. When selecting the perfect mug for your beer, you should pay attention to the shape, material and capacity.

Dimpled Mug

Dimpled Mug

The dimpled mug is a classic design that has been around for centuries. These mugs are made from glass or ceramic, and have a series of small indentations on the surface. The dimples make it easier for you to grip the mug, and also help keep your drink cold.

Most of them have a capacity of 500 ml, which is the perfect size for a pint of beer. The thick walls of the mug prevent your beer from warming up easily, providing the right amount of insulation against the heat.

Pilsner Glass

Pilsner Glass

These glasses are tall and slender, with a tapered shape that enhances the carbonation of your beer. Their elegant design is perfect for special occasions, and the elongated shape makes them easy to hold.

Pilsner mugs typically have a capacity of 330 ml, which is the perfect size for a small beer. The narrow opening of the glass makes it easy to drink from, and also helps to keep your beer from going flat.

Tall Glass

The tall glass is similar to the pilsner glass, but with straight sides and a slightly wider opening. This particular shape is designed to showcase the colour and carbonation of your beverage.

Tall glasses are typically used for lighter beers, with a capacity of 300 ml. The wider opening allows you to smell the beer, and the straight sides make them more convenient to hold.

Flute Glass

Flute Glass for Beer

Next up is the flute glass, which closely resembles modern-day champagne flutes. These glasses have a long stem and a long, thin body. They’re designed to show off the carbonation and bubbles of your beer, and the narrow opening helps to keep the drink from going flat.

Flute glasses typically have a capacity of 200 ml, which is more than enough for a small beer. The stemmed design makes them appear more delicate, but their sturdy build ensures that they’re durable enough for everyday use.


The goblet is a large, deep glass with a wide bowl and a stem. These steins are typically used for heavier beers, and their design helps to enhance the flavour of your drink.

Most goblets have a capacity of 500 ml, though some of them can hold up to 1 litre. The deep bowl and wide opening present the beer in a way that allows you to appreciate its aroma. And the stem helps to keep your hand from warming the liquid.


Last but not least, we have the stange. The name is German for “rod”, which refers to the long, thin shape of these glasses. They have a tall and slim body with straight sides, which is designed to showcase the carbonation of your beer.

Stanges typically have a capacity of 330 ml, though some of them can hold up to 500 ml. Despite their slender shape, these steins give you a good grip thanks to their somewhat flared rim.