Like wine there are varying glasses each suited to the particular beer.  Regardless of the glass always 1) make sure the glass is clean; 2) take a moment to smell the beer.  You will notice various flavors as you drink thereby enhancing your experience.  The basic choices are:

PINT – basically you can drink most anything out of this, but i would avoid the higher alcohol as 12oz. of those can keep you in your chair for awhile. Traditionally used for the darker beers such as bocks, stouts, porters.

PILSNER – obviously for a “pilsner”, also for the lighter to amber lagers with low alcohol content.

GOBLET – usually used for the higher ABV such as IPA, strong pale ales or abbey ales. you drink a beer out of one of these people will think you really know what you’re doing, even if you don’t. 😉

TULIP-SHAPED – many wheat beers are served in this type.


The many variations to the brewing process account for the broad spectrum of different beer “styles”. Again, too many to list but here are the basic categories:

PALE ALE – Generally tends to have higher hop levels and somewhat of a bitter aftertaste, but obviously in varying degrees. ABV ranges from 4% to 5%. The strong pale ales can range from 5% to 12%:

    Amber Ale, Biere de Garde, English Bitter, Golden Ale, Irish Red Ale  also fall under the PALE  ALE category, although I have found the
    Ambers and Reds to be just a bit sweeter.
    STRONG PALE ALES – Also, referred to as Abbey Ales
  • Dubbels (ABV 6% to 7%) – rich malt aroma, dark with malt & fruity flavors and low hops;
  • Tripels (ABV 7% to 9.5%) – pale gold to deep gold in color, a distinct malt aroma.  Crisp and moderately fruity;
  • Quadrupels (ABV over 10%) – basically a dubbel only with more alcohol.

The terms were thought to indicate the strength of the beer (XXXX, or quad, being the strongest beer).  And they are.  Drink out of a goblet, not a pint glass.  Plus, it keeps the ingestion of alcohol to a smaller amount.  Sip and share.  Now if you keep refilling I can’t help you with that.


INDIA PALE ALE – (also available are double & triple) – I believe this is its own separate category. You’ll know immediately if you like this style or not. Expect a lot of hops. ABV can range from 4% to 7%. Doubles are above 7.5%; Triples, just keep adding. 
BROWN ALE – These are some of my favorite. Deep amber or brown. Can range from sweet, moderate bitterness, and malty but hoppy. ABV around 4.5%

WHEAT – ABV around 4.5%

  • unfiltered – Low hop bitterness and relatively high carbonation . (I personally find them very bitter.) Cloudy in appearance and sometimes almost “breadlike” in taste. Many German wheat beers are unfiltered.
  • filtered – In the filtration process yeast and wheat proteins are removed so there is little haze.  Taste therefore only slightly hoppy, somewhat fruity, and very refreshing.  Many Belgian wheat beers are filtered which I prefer.

LAGERS – these are divided into the following categories:

  • Pilseners – Very light, clear in color from pale to golden yellow; a distinct and prominent hop aroma and flavor. Czech pilsners tend to have a lighter flavor, German a more bitter taste, whereas Dutch have a slight sweeter taste. ABV ranges from 4% up to 9%.
  • Amber lagers – Reddish brown or copper colored beer with medium body and slight malt sweetness. Hop bitterness should be clean and crisp. ABV ranges from 4.5% to 5.7%.
  • Strong lagers – The color of these lagers may range from pale yellow to deep amber, and dark. Examples are Octoberfest, Marzen, Bocks(see below). ABV of around 5.8%.
  • Dark lagers – May be Dunkels, Schwarzbiers, Baltic Porters. Dunkel is the German word meaning “dark”, and dunkel beers typically range in color from amber to dark reddish brown. They are characterized by their smooth malty flavor.  ABV ranges from 4.5% to 6%, Dunkels are weaker than Doppelbocks.

BOCKS are almost their own category –

  • Traditional – light copper to brown in color with reddish highlights. Large, creamy, persistent off-white head, and moderate carbonation. ABV ranges from 6.3% to 7.2%.
  • Maibock – Pale version of a traditional bock. Clear lager, deep gold to light amber in color, with a large, creamy, persistent white head, and moderate carbonation. Typically less malty than a traditional bock, and may be drier, and more bitter, but still with a relatively low hop flavor, with a mild spicy quality from the hops or alcohol content. ABV ranges from 6.3% to 7.4%.
  • Doppelbock/Doublebock – Bavarian specialty beer first brewed by monks. Deep gold to dark brown; very strong malty aromas. Flavor is rich and most are fairly sweet with little or no hops. ABV ranges from 6% to over 10%.
  • Eisbock – Deep copper to dark brown in color, often with ruby highlights. It has a clean, lager character with no hop flavor; a rich, sweet malty flavor, balanced by a significant alcohol presence. ABV ranges from 9% to 43%!!! {Check out Schorschbrau(German) & Brewdog Brewery (Scottish) links}______________________________________________________________________________________

PORTER/STOUT – I am passionate about these. The term stout was initially used to indicate a stronger porter than other porters issued by an individual brewery. Dark in color; brewed with dark malts, creamy, thick. Included in this category are:

 Baltic Porter, Irish Stout, Milk Stout, Chocolate Stout, Coffee Stout, Oatmeal Stout, Imperial Stout..  ABV ranges from 7% to 8%. Only slight amounts are added in the brewing process to affect the outcome (e.g. creamy, hearty, thick, etc.) Don’t expect flavors such as the chocolate, coffee, oatmeal, or milk to really stand out. On most occasions these types of ingredients are undetectable, but you will catch the faint aromas.