Until the nineteenth century beer drinkers imbibed from pewter, pottery or even leather tankards called Jacks or Boots. Glass was incredibly expensive and breakable and beer was dark and either opaque or cloudy. Industrialization during the 19th century drove the cost of glass down increasing the use of glass drinking vessels. Glassware allows the enjoyment of the beer's appearance and it can also enhance beer's aromas and flavor. The amount of aroma, flavor, alcohol content, and carbonation all play a role in the kind of glass that best fits a style of beer.
The Libbey Craft Brew 6 glass Sampler is a good, low cost ($24.95) option for beer glasses. It includes one each: classic Pilsner glass, English pub glass, Belgian ale, craft pub glass, porter/stout glass and a weizen glass. This equips the beer afficionado with a selection of glasses that cover most styles of beer.
British ales are less carbonated than German, Belgian or North American beers and produce a less active foam cap. The glass's wide mouth makes it easy to drink from. British beer is served warmer so the glasses are often thicker so the drinker's hand does not warm the beer. The bulge in the center keeps the beer from slipping out of the drinker's hand. The glasses come in two sizes - 20 ounce to hold a British pint and 16 ounce to hold a 12 ounce American bottle. While these glasses are designed for just about anything served in an English pub (Bitters, Brown Ales, Dark Mild Ales, English IPAs, Pale Ales, Pale Mild Ales, Porters, Stouts, ESBs and Winter Warmers) they will also work for their American counterparts and can be used for just about anything in a pinch. The Libbey 16 ounce English Pub Glass is perfect for 12 ounce American bottles and 33 cl (11.2 ounce) European bottles.
Tulip Pint Glass
The Tulip Pint glass (not to be confused with the Belgian Tulip) is as versitile as the Nonic Pint and like the Nonic Pint, it has a bulge in the middle to keep the glass from sliding through the hand. The 19.5 ounce Luminarc Glass is perfect for the 14.9 ounce Guinness Draught cans with the nitro capsule inside.
Libbey markets this as a craft beer glass. In German it is called a Becher and is used for pale lagers, Märzens, bocks and Dunkels. It also works perfectly well for American craft beers. At 20 ounces it is big enough to hold a healthy head.