Beer Drinkers Guide to Pouring Beer

Amongst beer drinkers, the simple act of pouring beer into a glass is surrounded with much controversy and there are as many differing opinions as there are bartenders. Whether pouring the perfect beer is an art or a science depends who you talk to. Here is one straight forward approach which is possibly closer to an art than scientific.

Start with glasses that are clean, have been previously rinsed in plain water and free of dust and cotton or paper particles. Those particles can be introduced during drying so it is much better to air dry the glass. Oils and dirt can interfere with the way the head forms and subtly alter flavors.

Hold the glass at a 45 degree angle, then pour slowly, aiming for the middle of the side of the glass. When the glass is half full, tip the glass upright and continue to pour into the middle. The result should be about an inch to an inch and a half of foam head.

As straightforward as this approach of beer pouring may seem, adjustments need to be made for speciality beers.

Pouring Ale Beer

Gentle pouring down the side of the tilted glass helps keep the foam head down to moderate height. Steepen the angle or pour from a higher distance for a thicker foam.

Too much creaminess erases the delightful zing of a bitter. Too much agitation will cause hop oils to move from the body of the beer into the head.

How to Pour Stouts

Stouts are darker, thicker ales with full bodied flavor, lots of hops and great mouth feel . Pouring slowly will allow the best size head to develop.

Pour, pause and pour some more. Creating a denser, creamier head will bring out the dark flavor of a stout. Once poured, a good stout should be left to stand for a short period to allow it to settle. The poured glass may then need a small top up.

Pilsner Beer

Pilsner lagers are light and golden colored. Work with them and not against them, by encouraging a healthy head. A vigorous pour should result in the foam curling just above the rim.

This maximizes the light, hoppy aroma and releases dissolved carbon dioxide to produce good carbonation. Pilsners should be foamy and bubbly, not flat.

Weizenbier or Wheat Beer

Yeasty and full flavored, with high carbonation, Weizenbier does best with a gentle pour. The name comes from the yeast used, not the malt grain. Barley is used for almost all beer.

For those who want the maximum this beer offers, pour some of the settled yeast out of the bottle into the glass. To accomplish that, leave a small layer of liquid in the bottle and swirl, then pour.

One technique commonly employed in Belgium entails wetting the glass prior to pouring, in order to control the head. Others deride this as diluting the flavor with additional moisture. See, nothing about pouring escapes controversy!

Bottle conditioned beers may have a substantial amount of yeast left at the end of the brewing process. For those who prefer their beer a little less like bread, pour carefully or filter. However, for those who want to get their vitamin supplements from beer, add the yeast filled sediment to taste and enjoy your B-complex the old-fashioned way.

Finally, beware of the widget containing bottle. Widgets are nitrogen capsules that float near the cap, releasing nitrogen through a small hole when the bottle is opened. Introduction of nitrogen at the last moment is a cheap trick and should be avoided if at all possible.