How To Properly Pour a Beer
Pouring a beer properly is a point of pride, whether you do so professionally as a beer server or recreationally as a beer enthusiast. No fan of quality beer hasn’t taken a moment to gaze and appreciate a perfectly poured beer before taking in its aroma and flavor. Of course, beer doesn’t need to be poured perfectly to deliver the desired results. But pouring a beer properly leads to a much more enjoyable experience.
The goal with pouring a beer properly is to produce an attractive, good looking final product. Today, beer drinking is all about the experience and a properly poured pint can amplify said experience. A proper pour in a beer clean glass will produce an adequate head that will produce flavors and aromas that give you a more well-rounded take on your beer. These characteristics can be muddled if a glass is dirty or if beer is poured improperly.
The general rule of thumb, whether pouring your beer from a bottle, can, or draft system, is to start by pouring beer down the side of the glass to start, then down the middle to finish.
And, do not pour into a frosted glass or mug. The intense cold can destroy the flavor and aroma of your beer.
- Hold your glass at a 45° angle
- Pour beer so it hits the midpoint of the glass
- Bring glass to upright 90° angle as you reach the midway point of your pour
- Complete your pour with a 1/2″ to 1 1/2″ of head with your bottle also at a 90° angle
When pouring from a tap:
- Grab the base of the tap handle, not the end. Pulling the end can cause undue stress on the faucet and lead to damage over time
- Open the faucet all the way
- Do not touch faucet to your glass
- Do not allow faucet to touch beer or foam
- Do not overflow foam into the drain
- Follow Steps 1-4 above
When pouring from a bottle:
- For any filtered beers, follow Steps 1-4 above
- For bottle conditioned beers, manage the yeast that’s in the bottle.
- Be sure bottle has been resting for a period of time, allowing yeast to settle at the bottom.
- When you see yeast reach the neck of the bottle, slow down your pour so yeast doesn’t enter the beer. It won’t harm you, but it will alter the beer’s flavor.
When pouring from a can:
- Follow Steps 1-4 above.
- You can choose to pour vigorously with the can turned completely upside down while holding your glass at a 45° angle. This will force any sediment that may be resting at the bottom of the can (depending on the style) out.
- Proceed with caution. Pouring vigorously can lead to spillage if you’re not careful.
If your pour results in too much foam:
- You did not hold your glass at the proper angle to start. Holding it upright from the beginning of the pour will lead to excess foam.
- Too much foam may have nothing to do with your technique. Be sure you are not dealing with too much warmth in your beer or a C02 pressure issue (if pouring from a tap).
This video from Gear Patrol is a great demonstration of a great pour, including tips for pouring nitro beers, as well as bottle-conditioned hefeweizens where you want to incorporate the yeast in the bottle.