Beer stein

Beer stein

Beer stein is the English term for a Steinkrug, a traditionally German beer drinking mug similar to a tankard. Beer steins can be made of pewter, silver, wood, porcelain, earthenware, stoneware or glass. Beer steins can have an open top or a hinged lid and levered thumblift.

In German speaking countries, it is usually known a "Humpen" or "Steinkrug", if it is stoneware or earthenware. It is known as a "Maßkrug" or "Glaskrug" if it is made of glass. The Maßkrug, or "Maß" for short, is the large glass mug with a handle usually seen at Oktoberfest filled with beer. The local Munich term is "Keferloher", as the original Oktoberfest clay mugs were made with clay from Keferloh, in Grasbrunn near Munich.


The English term "beer stein", derives from German "Bier" (beer) "Steinkrug" (stone crock) meaning Stoneware mug or crock, which was shortened by English speakers to "Stein" and combined with "Bier" to approximate the English "Beer mug".

In German, the word "Bierstein" means "beerstone" or "beer scale", a hard film created by the combination of calcium oxalate, protein, and sugar that is formed when the same brewing vessel is used repeatedly without cleaning.

The generic term is Maßkrug, literally meaning "measure crock", whereby the modern measure is one litre of beer. In former days the Maß was 1.069 litre. A line on the mug denotes the filling level.

The overly decorated, more fragile, earthenware beer stein is mostly a tourist novelty and is rarely used for drinking. Special cases are the collector's Steins with classic Bavarian motifs like Neuschwanstein, the Munich Glockenspiel or the Oktoberfest poster. Notable exceptions are the Munich Oktoberfest and Bavarian beer gardens where 1-litre "Maßkrüge" are the normal type of glass.

The Lid

Since steins are often used in the open in beer gardens or at beer fests, the lid is useful for keeping the beer clean from bugs, wasps, or leaves falling from the trees. Originally the design was conceived as a sanitary measure. During the summers of the late 1400s, central Europe was repeatedly overwhelmed with swarms of flies. This soon led to the practice of covering food and beverage containers with a lid. [ [ Beer Stein Article – “A Brief History of Beer Steins” ] ] By adding a hinged lid with a thumb lift on the lid within reach of the mug handle, it was possible to keep a beverage covered and yet open it with the same hand by which it was held.

See Also



External links

* [ Glass Beer Steins] , a U.K. Online shop selling 1 litre glass beer steins as found at Oktoberfest in Munich.
* [ A Brief History of Beer Steins] , an article from a collector's website, taken from "The Beer Stein Book: a 400 Year History" (ISBN 1-889591-00-9)


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