Glassware is an important but often neglected part of drinking good beer.
Some beers do fine straight from the can or bottle - domestics, simpler craft beers. But some beers demand to be decanted, and you do yourself and the beer a disservice by sucking it from a narrow-mouthed container.
Taste is closely linked to smell. The more you can smell, the fuller the taste. So drinking straight from the bottle or can only dulls the taste.
This will be a familiar concept to drinkers of wine and spirits. Brandy, for example, is served in a brandy snifter for good reason. The shape of the glass encourages the drinker to essentially shove his nose close to the booze, resulting in keener smell and taste.
For most beer - pale ales, IPAs, reds, etc. - pint glasses are fine. But some beers, such as Belgian styles and stouts, benefit hugely from being poured in a globe glass.
Some months ago, Soggy Coaster purchased a New Belgium globe glass at Lady Falconburgh's. I've been amazed at the depths of taste I can now detect from the smell curling into my nose as the beer trickles toward my throat (God, this is making me thirsty). It's a huge difference.
Twice this summer, Soggy Coaster has seen people drinking True Blonde Dubbel straight from the bomber bottle. This is of course an abomination, and I'll try to explain why.
Despite its name, Ska's dubbel has little in common with the True Blonde Ale from the same brewery. True Blonde is fine from the bottle or can, but the dubbel is actually a rather excellent interpretation of a strong Belgian ale, made with Belgian yeast and candy sugar. Pour it into a globe. Help the flavor open up. Don't drink it from the bottle. It's not Old Milwaukee, and you're not at a frat party anymore.
This isn't about snobbery or looking cool. It's about getting the most enjoyment from your beers. Decant, and set your beer free.