As with Belgian beers, German beers tend to have their own particular type of glass, and the glasses are designed to heighten the appreciation of the beer. Hefeweizen, Kristallweizen and Dunkles Hefeweizens are served in glasses that are tall and graceful, with a narrow base widening toward the top before narrowing slightly again. There is often a spiralling effect rising from the bottom of the glass. Kölsch is usually served in a simple, tall, straight, cylindrical 200ml glass ("Kölsch-Stange"). Altbier is usually served in a straight, cylindrical 200ml glass, (or "Becher") shorter and broader than a Kölsch glass. Berliner Weisse tends to come in a rounded goblet with a stem like a champagne saucer, which is quite appropriate, as it is often known as the champagne of beer. It is also sometimes served in a stout, straight-edged tumbler. Berliners sometimes drink it through a straw, but beer connoisseurs tend to frown on this, as it prevents a full appreciation of the aroma of the beer. Pils is often served in a "Pokal" -- akin to an elegant, elongated champagne flute.
Some bars serve beer in chilled or frosted glasses. It's generally better to avoid this, as excessively chilled beers lose their flavour.
A Krug is an earthenware or stoneware beer mug with a handle. The litre version is called a Mass Krug. A glass version of the Mass Krug is called a Seidel -- this is the one you see in Munich beer gardens. Some people tend to call both the Mass Krug and the Seidel "steins". In fact, a Stein, or "Steinzeugkrug" is a stoneware beer mug with a hinged, thumb-tabbed pewter lid. It is widely believed that the lid was introduced as a hygiene measure after bubonic plague, or "black death", killed about a third of Europe's population in the fourteenth century. Some areas made lids on beer mugs compulsory after plagues of flies caused understandable concern about hygiene in the sixteenth century. Decorative steins, often with ornate relief decorations, became a symbol of status and can be quite collectable. However, some of the steins you'll find are modern corporate marketing gimmicks and have no connection to German beer whatsoever, including some that are produced by industrial lager giants like Anheuser-Busch and Coors. I'm not a fan of steins, as I think you can't appreciate the appearance of a beer if you drink it from an opaque vessel but there are many other websites dedicated to beer steins and stein collecting (see, for example, www.steincollectors.org).
I haven't found many good sources of glasses and steins in the UK, so I've also included external sources.
Alexander Wines on the corner of Providence Street and Berkeley Road South [map] in Earlsdon, Coventry CV5 6EE. Tel: 024 7667 3474 ("shop hours only please") Impressive range of Belgian beer glasses and some German ones too. They can deliver throughout UK. No online orders.
Army & Navy, 101 Victoria Street, London SW1E 6QX. Tel: (020) 7834 1234 [map] Sells both Maisel's Weisse and Erdinger glasses and Spaten one litre Seidels.
The Pitfield Beer Shop sells Schneider and Erdinger Weisse glasses plus a quite stunning range of beers from Germany, Belgium and elsewhere and its own excellent organic microbrewery.
Euro-Beer (www.euro-beer.co.uk)Specialises in Belgian Beers, but also has a range of approx. 26 German beers including koelsch, hefeweizens, kristallweizens, pilsners and altbiers. Also stocks a small range of glasses and a range of British and world beers. Includes online ordering.
www.collectable-gifts.com British site supplying decorative steins with online ordering.
Yodler.com German site offering mail order glasses from Schönram (Schoenram) and Weininger breweries only. Online ordering and international shipping.
First Original Bavarian Shop on Internet Int. German site with a wide range of porcelain and glass steins (mass krugs) from Bavaria. Includes online ordering and international shipping.
Beerculture.com Swiss site with a good range of mail order beers, glasses and mass krugs with online ordering -- but they don't take UK orders.
John's Grocery Inc., 401 E. Market St., Iowa City, IA 52245. T: 319.337.2183 F: 319.339.4904 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: http://www.johnsgrocery.com. Stocks a great range of German beers of all styles and glassware, including mass krugs & glass boots. Includes online ordering (delivery to USA and Canada) and guides to matching food & beer and tasting & evaluating beer. Ernest Crvich says: "I've found a few things I haven't seen elsewhere, and they have good, friendly customer service".
BeerGlasshopper.com BeerGlasshopper.com, Inc. 111 Whitt Rd., Leicester, NC 28748, USA. A range of branded beer glasses of various types, including mass krugs and steins, and they will ship to the UK.
Merchant du Vin Specialist beer importers with online ordering of glasses, and information about beer history, tasting and matching beer to food. They list distributors of German beers in each state, but not individual outlets.
Steins.com German Bier Steins Online. A huge range of steins and mass krugs (glass beer mugs). Online ordering, but at the moment (Nov '01) they don't ship outside the USA.
Pubglasses.com Sister site to Steins.com, with a wide and well chosen range of Weissbier glasses, Pilsner glasses, goblets, glass boots, Belgian and British beer glasses and other drinking paraphernalia. Online ordering, but at the moment (Nov '01) they don't ship outside the USA. Email: email@example.com
Straub's Beer Steins and Glassware US site with a great range of glasses, glass boots, mass krugs and steins. They do ship to the UK (and elsewhere) and have online ordering.
SteinCenter.com: www.steincenter.com. US site stocking a range of steins including vintage Mettlach steins, with online ordering and international shipping.
World Brewery Glasses Collection US site stocking German Weizen Beer Glasses and Löwenbräu, Fürstenberg and Veltins Pilsner Glasses with online ordering and international shipping.
Beergear.com US site stocking glasses and steins, individual and wholesale, with online ordering and international shipping.
The Pub Shoppe (Philadelphia) Sells all sorts of pub stuff including glasses. Online ordering.
Deutsches Haus German shop in Minnesota, USA, with a range of steins. Online ordering. They also ship to the UK.
GermanMart: www.germanmart.com. US site selling steins with online ordering.
Steincollectors.org: www.steincollectors.org. US site dedicated to collecting steins, with pages for individual buyers and sellers.
Stein Collectors: steincollectors.com. If you would like a Coca Cola, Anheuser-Busch Budweiser, Elvis Jukebox Stein or Harley-Davidson stein, you'll probably like this site, but I haven't seen anything genuinely German there. I don't know if they do international orders.
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Last updated: 30th August 2004
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