Drinking beer is more pleasurable than pouring it. Yet, the art of pouring beer brings out the aroma of beer, and adds to the taste. As with any art, there is preparation before the main event.
Select the proper glassware for the type of beer you are tasting.
The glassware must be clean. This sounds a bit snooty, but the beer will not form the correct head without a clean glass. All soap residue must be removed from the glass. Most beer aficionados recommend hand-washing the glass with baking soda instead of soap and rinse with cold water.
Some beers form large heads when poured. To avoid this, wet the insides of the glass. The following is pouring the beer from a bottle and not draft.
The Art of the Pour
General pouring of beer is to tilt the beer glass at a 45 angle. Hold the bottle above the glass and pour down the side. After the beer is one-half filled, straighten the angle to 90 and finish filling. The head of the beer should be between one and two fingers.
The following is specific to the beer.
Ales – Pour as mentioned in the general pouring of beer. In order to bring out the beer’s hops flavor, it should be tilted at 45 angle until it is 3/4 full and then straightened. You want a small head of about a finger when finished pouring.
Wheat Beers – The head on a wheat beer develops quickly because of the carbonation. Therefore, you need to pour slowly and gently. This would be an ideal time to wet the inside of the glass. In Bavaria, wheat beer that has been bottle conditioned, a huge head is preferred. Also, wheat beer also has a yeast residue. This should also be poured into the glass.
Stout Beers – These beers should be poured in two stages. If the head grows too quickly, stop pouring for a few seconds. The two stage pouring will make the head denser and creamer. This solid head brings out the stout’s rich flavors.
Pilsner Beer – The carbonation of the pilsner will grow from the “beads” (small bubbles) that come from the carbonation. Like soft ice-cream, the head rises above the rim. The color is golden when poured correctly.
Pouring correctly does not come automatically. It takes practice to perfect. The results of the pour bring out the best in beer. You will have a richer beer drinking experience because the flavor will be perfect, the aroma superb, and the appearance will have good color and head.