The thistle glass is a variation of the tulip glass designed specifically to look like a thistle. The glass is relatively tall, often holding between 15 and 20 ounces making it slightly larger than your average tulip. It features a long stem, pronounced bowl (or bulb), and is topped with flaring sides.
The design is specifically meant to resemble Scotland’s national floral emblem which provides a pretty direct clue towards its usage.
Benefits of a Thistle Glass
Like the tulip glass, the thistle glass has both formal and functional benefits. It’s pronounced bowl and flaring sides show off a beer’s rich color. The flared sides aid in head retention giving the beer something of a floral appearance – as if blooming in the glass.
These features also help with head retention (just like in the tulip glass) while the taller flared sides trap aromas in a space which delivers them easily to your nose and palate.
What Beer Goes with a Thistle Glass?
As mentioned, the thistle glass is designed to represent the Scottish thistle. That points us towards almost any beer listed as a Scotch Ale or Wee Heavy.
Scotch Ales are stronger, dark ales which tend to be on the the sweet side so you could also experiment a bit with Dark Ales or Quads if you wanted to change things up a bit.
Of course you could always just use a tulip glass in any of these cases.
Where Can I Buy a Thistle Glass?
These glasses will be a bit tricky to find. I’m not familiar with any brewery’s that brand or package the style in the US (please let me know if you find one) and I’ve yet to see it turn up in any sampler packs.
Amazon has a 21oz “Super Thistle” for about $13 but given it’s rather niche roll in your arsenal it’s not something you really need to charge out and get. We’ll keep this space updated if we see or learn more.