Pouring the perfect beer is definitely an art. Pouring beer correctly is more than just controlling how much head forms, it is part of the overall beer tasting experience. Being a fan of craft beer, we hope that you already know it is best to drink from a glass. If not, check out our post on choosing the correct glass for your craft beer to see why it is so important to not only drink from a glass, but to choose the proper one.
Let’s take a look at an example of a perfect pour. This applies to pouring from a glass, can, or draught.
The Perfect Pour
Note: If pouring from a draft tap, allow the first ~1/2 oz. to flow from the tap before moving the glass into the flow. This will clear the stale, less cool beer from the tap itself and allow the beer in the line to flow.
At the half-way point bring the glass at a 90° angle and continue to pour in the middle of the glass. This will give you the perfect foam head. Don’t forget that having a head on a beer is a good thing. The head releases beer’s aromatics and adds to the overall presentation. You may also want to gradually add distance between the bottle/can/tap and the glass as you pour, to also inspire a good head. An ideal head should be 1″ to 1-1/2″.
Note: Bottled conditioned beers can have a considerable amount of yeast in the bottle. With these, you may want to watch them closely as you pour … if you don’t like yeast in your poured beer. However, this is the highlight of some beers and is actually wanted. Just note that the inclusion of yeast will change the clearness as well as the taste of your poured beer.
Picking the proper glass for the beer, and pouring it correctly help to make sure you get the most out of the craft beer you paid good money buying or making.
You should note that even doing all these steps perfectly will not guarantee a perfect pour every time. You need to make sure to pay attention to the temperature of the beer, temperature of the glass (NOT FROSTED!), and the age of the beer. If you are pouring from a draft line, you even have to add in the CO2 pressure, as well as line length and time the keg has been sitting unmoved. All these have an effect on the poured beer.