These are some field notes on the stange glass are I prepare for my Advanced Cicerone exam.
What is a Stange Glass?
The answer to this question is pretty easy, a stange glass is the traditional serving-ware of a Kölsch. Stange glasses exist throughout Germany but they are substantially more common in the Western region of Germany. And of course they are most common in Cologne, the home of the Kölsch.
But let’s pose a more difficult question: Why is a stange glass?
This tall, thin, perfectly cylindrical glass can be traced back to Cologne, where they are served out of a kranz tray like the one below. A traditional stange only holds about 6oz of beer so a person could easily drink several stange-fuls out of a kranz.
The light carbonation of the kölsch style benefits from the smaller serving size. It is unlikely that the beer will be completely warm and flat by the time you finish 6oz. In a busy bar, it is also unlikely that your server will want to refill your 6oz glass every few minutes. Today, there are larger 12-13oz stange glasses so bartenders don’t need to constantly top you off.
Similar other tall, thin glasses, like a Weizen vase or a pilsner glass, a stange is helpful for head retention and shows off the brilliant clarity of the Kölsch.
You can have your own set of tiny German glasses like this one, but Germans don’t typically use stange glasses at home. They’re for serving small, cold beers out at the bar.