Roll up to a craft brewery or hip, beer-loving bar and you’ll likely spot a tall, fancy wine-like glass in someone’s hand. But it’s a little different than a standard wine glass—more angular, with an over-engineered vibe. That’s the TeKu glass—and it’s everywhere right now. Why? It makes your beer look fancy and feels elegant—plus, it enhances beer’s flavour.
So what’s the deal—why is the TeKu glass everywhere?
It was dreamed up by an Italian beer expert, Lorenzo “Kuaska” Dabove, and Teo Musso, the founder of Italy’s celebrated and quirky Baladin brewery. The pair wanted to find the equivalent of the ISO glass (a universal tasting glass used by expert wine tasters to evaluate any style of wine), but for beer. They teamed up with German glassmaker Rastal, and in 2006 the TeKu glass (a combo of the Italian dudes’ first names, pronounced like tay-koo) was born.
The result: a tall-stemmed glass with a fat-bottomed angular tulip shape and a lip that juts out at the top.
For years, the TeKu was a coveted rarity in Canada—you had to go to Europe to get one—but demand from North American craft breweries means that these days you can pick it up at fancy drinks stores like the Cocktail Emporium for $15. And there are now two different sizes: the original biggie size (425 ml) and a mini (330 ml).
Will my beer really taste better in a TeKu than in a pint glass?
Most definitely. I’ve compared the same beer in a TeKu and a regular pint glass and the aromas are more concentrated and complex in the former. Here’s how it works:
- The wide bottom helps boost the beer’s aroma
- The narrow middle help the bubbles stay compact and last longer (crucial because foam traps aromas and delivers them to your nose).
- The jutted or curved lip fits perfectly on the bottom of your lip encouraging you to sip, not gulp.
If you do want the TeKu in your life, please follow my one instruction: only fill the glass half to three-quarters full, max. The glass was designed for tasting-sized portions of beer—not a full pour. Leaving plenty of headspace allows volatile aromas (the ones that jump right out of the glass) to live inside the glass, waiting for your sniff.
What kind of beers are best in it?
All the beers. That’s the beauty of this glass—from a double IPA to a lightly peppery, low-alcohol grisette, they show off their full joyous self when inside this glass.
Can you drink wine from a TeKu too?
Well you can (I’ve been known to drink wine out of my crystal rocks glasses when the dishwasher is full) but you probably shouldn’t. The reason? Back to bubbles—the glass is really designed to keep carbonation in flow, and those bubbles intact for as long as possible. Wine isn’t about that at all. But cider works well—Stoney Creek Glass in Ontario sells lots of TeKu glasses to craft cideries and breweries alike, and their vice president Valeria Venegas loves mixing cocktails in hers.
If you’re looking for a glass that works for both wine and many types of beer, though, you can take a page from Toronto’s Birreria Volo. At this farmhouse- and sour beer-focused bar that also has a drool-worthy natural wine list, owner Tomas Morana doesn’t use the TeKu. Instead he uses a classic wine glass from German-maker Stölzle for everything. He doesn’t like showy glasses: “The glassware shouldn’t be something you think about when you’re drinking, it should complement the beverage so much so that you don’t even notice it,” he says. The styles of beer at Volo—farmhouse saisons, wild and sour ales—work well in a wine glass, he says, but he cautions the same glass isn’t great for other beer styles like IPAs and classic German lagers.
Can a TeKu glass go in the dishwasher?
Yes. They’re quite sturdy.
What kinds of TeKu glass are best to get?
Let’s be clear: there is only one TeKu glass, it comes in two sizes. I like the biggie because you can pour most of a short can or bottle into it and still have enough room for those aromas to groove out.
If you like branded glasses, check to see if your favourite brewery has a TeKu with their logo on it. Some of my favourites from across the country are from Port Rexton Brewing in Newfoundland, Propeller Brewing in Halifax, Cabin and Banded Peak in Calgary, Malty National in Saskatchewan and Dominion City in Ottawa.
Is this the only beer glass I’ll ever need?
You’re talking to an Advanced Cicerone® who lives and breathes beer, so my expert answer is no. Tell me what you drink the most of and I’ll tell you what glasses to add. For wheat beer fanatics, a tall hefeweizen vase is necessary to trap that head. For hopheads, I dig this IPA glass (especially because you can drink the whole damn tall can). And brilliantly clear, crushable lagers need a tall, skinny vessel like a pilsner flute or a champagne glass.
But… my Marie Kondo answer is yes. You can comfortably drink any style of beer out of this glass. Just remember, it’s a glass that’s best half full.
Crystal Luxmore is a beer sommelier—Advanced Cicerone® if you want to get technical—and co-founder of Beer Sisters.