The beer flute is one of those glasses that kind of exists in between other styles. We’ll also use the word “flute” or “fluted” to describe certain categories of other glass.
By design these glasses are tall, very narrow, stemmed and hold smaller volumes of beer. Some are cone shaped, some are tulip shaped, some are just straight edged like a stange.
With their tall and delicate stature you can’t help but turn up your nose a bit while drinking from them.
Benefits of a Beer Flute or Fluted Glass
In a lot of ways the flute matches the stange in both form and function. Like the stange, the tall narrow body helps showcase the beer’s sparkling carbonation. It’s narrow mouth also helps with head retention and concentrating volatiles right upfront and into your nose.
This is similar in many ways to what’s going on with the narrower versions of the pilsner glass as well. What we dubbed the “European Pilsner” can also be called a “fluted pilsner” first, because it looks like a flute, but also because it shares some of these benefits.
What Beer Goes in a Beer Flute?
Generally speaking a beer flute will work for any light colored, crisp beer with lots of bright, sparkling carbonation. If the bottle has a cork that might serve as a clue.
For specific styles, I really only reach for a flute glass when I’m drinking a lambic. Outside of that I’m typically happier using a pilsner glass, stange or chalice.
Where Can I get a Flute Glass?
For unbranded glassware you’re best bet is just to pickup some champagne glasses. These are easily available at most Target, Walmart and Home Goods locations. For fancier flutes you’ll want to look for lambic glasses or “fruit beer” glasses.
If your local beer bar serves lambics just ask if they turn their glasses over regularly. These glasses are often decorated with a gold rim and brewery artwork that can wear down over time. Restaurants and bars will sometimes throw faded glasses out or offer them up to regular customers as they replace them. Amazon also has Lindeman’s lambic glasses for $15- $20 each.
Like the tulip glass, the pilsner glass comes in a variety of different shapes. A basic pilsner glass typically has a narrow base with sides that flare outward. Some versions of this glass look like an elongated tulip pint. Others are more cone shaped. Some are also very similar to a wheat beer glass.
A stemmed version of the pilsner glass is also known as a European pilsner. European pilsner glasses typically have a short stubby stem which blends seamlessly with the glasses tapered walls. They can resemble stretched out versions of tulip pints, willi bechers or fluted glasses.
You may also see taller stemmed pokal glasses referred to as pilsner or lager glasses. I’ve included several pictures below for comparison.
Pilsner glasses can be 12 to 16 ounces depending on the style. Bigger glasses exist but tend to overlap into the Wheat Beer Glass category.
Benefits of The Pilsner Glass
With it’s tall narrow body the pilsner glass behaves a lot like the stange. It’s shape showcases a beer’s clarity while it’s top narrows the surface area helping with head retention. Because pilsners are crisp and bright beers this helps with delivering some of the beer’s more delicate aromas.
What Beer Goes in a Pilsner Glass?
As the name implies, this glass is ideal for beers of the pilsner style. This includes most pale lagers.
Because the glass is so similar to the stange and fluted glassware it can also be used for for kölsch-style beers or even lambics. I also sometimes use my pilsner glasses for 12 ounce bottles of wheat beer.
The basic idea is that you’re looking for beers that share characteristics with the pilsner style. That includes beers with clear pale colored bodies, medium to sparkling bright carbonation, and a crisp bubbly head.
Libbey also offers what they call a “Midtown” Pilsner in the same price range. These glasses are more like a narrow version of a wheat beer glass.
The quintessential pilsner is probably Pilsner Urquell. They offer a couple different types of branded glassware including a stemmed pokal glass and a tulip-flute style pilsner glass. Both of these also make great additions to your beer glass collection.