Should you drink beer in a straight glass or tankard?

Should you drink beer in a straight glass or tankard?

A hotly debated topic amongst beer drinkers is the type of glass that they drink from, a tankard or a straight glass. Here, we’ll discuss the difference between the two glass types.

Thickness and weight

The glass of a traditionally handled tankard tends to be thicker than a straight glass. Some people don’t like the feel of thick glass against their lips. A thin glass breaks more easily, but a tankard is also likely to break if dropped onto a hard floor.

A straight glass weighs less than a tankard. Some drinkers think that a tankard is too heavy, while others can comfortably hold one.

Handle or no handle

The obvious difference between a straight glass and a tankard is that the latter has a handle. From the late 1920s, pubs served beer from traditional dimpled tankards with a handle. By the early 2000s, these had virtually disappeared from pubs and were replaced by straight glasses. Though some beer drinkers preferred straight glasses, pubs didn’t introduce them because of drinkers’ tastes – straight glasses are easier to stack in dishwashers, and they cost less than tankards.

Tankards have not disappeared, however, and a few pubs still sell beer in them. Many also prefer to grip the handle of a tankard. They also make great personalised presents when engraved with a message.


Real ale lovers like the taste and appearance of beer made in the traditional manner with hops, yeast and grains. Such people often say that the tankard is a more traditional way to drink real ale. This, however, depends on which period of history is being referred to. Pre-1920s, straight glasses were common – it was only in the 1920s that the dimpled tankard became popular. The nonic glass with the wider top was introduced in the 1960s, and this is now known as a straight glass.

Does the beer taste better?

Some beer experts claim that the shape of the glass affects how the beer tastes. This is similar to some wine lovers, who have different shaped glasses for white and red wines. Whether a straight glass or tankard makes a difference to the taste of beer is subjective, as there is no credible scientific evidence to prove it one way or another.

Engraved beer glasses

Which glass you prefer to drink from is down to personal choice – there is no right or wrong beer glass. If you have a beer drinking friend and you know the type of glass they prefer, an engraved beer glass makes an ideal gift.

Engraved glasses are great personalised presents for special occasions, to mark achievements or to simply gift if you’re feeling generous. A straight glass or tankard can be personalised when engraved with a message and the person’s name, and an image can be added too. For a luxury gift, a crystal glass beer tankard in a presentation box lined with a silk-like material could be gifted.

If you’re gifted an engraved glass of your own, simply fill it with beer and shout “cheers!”

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