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How to Pour a Beer

How to Pour a Beer

Many a man have poured countless brews through the centuries. Not so many have realized that there is a specific and proper way on how to pour beer. When done right, pouring a beer can take on an art-like quality to it, as it becomes part of the overall tasting experience. We suggest that you drink your beer out of a glass. This way you’ll be able to get the craft brewing experience at home.

A few types of beer glasses  

man pouring craft beet
There are a whole lot of beer glasses to choose from that will make drinking and enjoying your beer that much more special. Go through enough of these and you might be putting those beer goggles on next – let’s drink responsibly for now…   Most guys are familiar with the classic pint glass, also known as a Becker, Nonic or Tumbler. This glass is cylindrical with a slight taper and wide mouth. The two standard sizes are 16 and 20 ounce. The larger version is used to either account for more beer or accommodate larger crowning heads (the foam on top). This is a mainstay and favorite for beer drinkers as it’s easy to drink out of and easy to pour. Next you’ve got a Pilsner glass or Pokal. This is usually a 12 ounce glass that’s both tall and slender. It helps capture a pour of a Pils while maintaining the head. The mug or stein is a fine classic for vikings and dwarves alike. It’s heavy, sturdy and has a strong handle on the side. Mugs come in a variety of shapes and sizes. They hold a lot more beer inside them and can be heaved around with joy, spilling and clinking until your heart's are content! Another favorite is the Tulip Glass. It’s of course shaped like a tulip, where the glass forms a lip that leads down to a bulbous shaped body. Ales of all kinds are served in the tulip. Now that you know about a few glasses, let’s check out the standard way to pour a beer.

Steps to on how to pour a beer properly

man pouring beer in glass
Time for that perfect pint. You’re going to want to make sure that you use a clean glass. A dirty glass containing oils and residuals from other drinks will decrease the output of flavor.  
  1. First tilt your glass to a 45° angle.
  2. Pour the beer and let it cascade down the slope of the glass while you aim for the middle. Don’t go too slow or you’ll end up without a head.
  3. At the midway point tilt the glass upwards to a 90° angle and continue the pour. You’ll cap off with a perfect head.
  4. Once this is finished you should have a head between 1" to 1-1/2" depending on the pour.
The same principle for pouring a beer into a glass applies whether or not you’re source pour is from a bottle, can or tap. The same is true for the type of glass you use as well. There are some slight variations when pouring India Pale Ales or Belgians. They’ll be a bit foamier than a stout or porter. Make sure not to overdo it if you pour too quickly or at the wrong angle. If there’s no head, then that means you didn’t pour quick enough or make the 45° to 90° tilt switch fast enough.

Example of pouring a specific beer  

Here’s a good example of a specific pour in a tulip glass. The Valkyrie, a German Style Amber, is a great beer. First you’ll apply the 45° midway tilt pour followed by the cascading drip until you flip for a 90°  finisher!
man with beard pouring beer in glass
Since this is an ale and is inside a tulip glass, it allows the aromas to blossom and fully come out which is important for IPAs, ales and Belgian styles. A nice rinse down the side once its completely vertical will give it a nice head without the Co2 overflowing and coming out of the beer.
Bearded bartender mixing drinks at the bar

Bonus: How to Pour a Guinness

Millions of Guinness are poured everyday around the globe. Flowing from Dublin, Ireland these brews are iconic. This beer was created by Arthur Guinness, who was born on September 28, 1725. Arthur had a dream to bring something new to Ireland. He went to the owner of the St. James Gate Brewery with a 100 pound down payment and negotiated a 45 pound per month for rent. In what’s now a famous deal, Arthur managed to get the owner to extend the terms on a 9,000 year basis. To this day Gunness is still brewed at St. James Gate.   At the time of Arthur Guinness, spirits like whiskey and gin were the most popular in Ireland. Arthur’s vision would make Guinness a novel and mainstay drink for hundreds of years to come. He was one of the first to brew a beer with roasted barley which gives the beer its well-known dark color. Here’s how to start with your guinness pour.
  1. Take a clean Guinness glass, which is made specifically for this beer.
  2. Hold the glass at the standard 45°, but this time pour until you hit the harp logo on the glass. In a regular glass this would be about three fourths the way to the top.
  3. Slowly tilt the glass until it's in an upright position until passing the harp logo and reaching the top.
  4. Let the Guinness settle as the nitrogen bubbles flow down the glass and the beer settles to become its famous black color.
  5. After the beer has settled for about a minute, go ahead and top it off from the tap or bottle until there is a bubble of liquid right above the rim.

Now there’s nothing left to do but enjoy your beers! Go ahead, pour a beer, and let’s raise our glasses together! You now should be able to pour a variety of beers the proper way.