How to Pour the Perfect Beer Every Time

Wine is wonderful and cocktails are cool. When it comes down to choosing a favorite beverage, though, we’re all beer lovers at heart. Something about the bubbles and drinkability make it appealing in ways other alcoholic drinks can’t match. A few beers while watching football? Sure. A few old fashioneds while watching football? You’ll be hammered or asleep by the second quarter.

With so many craft brews available in bottles or cans, you don’t even have to leave the comfort of your home to enjoy something spectacular. Before you invite all your friends over to try your new favorite, it’s time for a lesson in pouring a beer. Yes, pouring. With the days of college and house parties behind you, serving straight out of the bottle doesn’t cut it anymore.

So grab some of your favorite selections, purchase a few pint glasses, and study up. You’ll be pouring like a master bartender in no time.

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Before you even start letting the beer flow, tilt your glass so it’s pointed at a 65-degree angle. Keeping it pointed straight up and down aggravates the beverage too much, leaving you with mostly foam and very little drinkable beer. It may even bubble over the top, which means you’ll be on clean-up duty.

Perhaps more important than the angle of the glass is the cleanliness. Guys with dishwashers will likely be set while those who wash by hand need to make sure every glass gets a thorough scrub down after each use. Serving out of something dingy isn’t very appealing and any accumulated grime or grease will interfere with achieving a foamy head. But we’ll get to that in a little bit.

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Once you start pouring, aim to keep the flow toward the middle of the side of the glass. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but this method allows the liquid to gently stream to the bottom without creating too much foam from the get-go. As for the position of the bottle, you want it to hover about an inch or so above the lip of your glass. Once again, this all has to do with minimizing the amount of foam formed at the beginning of the pour. Be patient in this initial phase because you’ll be rewarded with a beautiful glass at the end. We promise.


Once you’re about halfway to the finish line, you get to be a little more aggressive. Start bringing the glass back up so it’s perpendicular to the floor and raise the bottle several inches higher. While we’ve been working to minimize the foamy head up to this point, bubbles are now the goal.

Time for a quick science lesson on beer foam, known as the head. Beer is unique because it retains the layer of foam while other carbonated beverages, think soda or sparkling wine, can’t hold on to the extra bubbles for more than a few seconds. A lot of this has to do with protein, either from wheat or barley, which forms a skin around the gas bubbles. A compound found in the hops strengthens this structure even more, leaving you with a frothy top to your glass.

Now for the why. Many guys claim to not like foam on top of their drinks, but it’s good for two reasons. The first is purely aesthetics. A beer with a nice head just looks better than one without. The second, and more important reason, is that the head produces more aroma than the beer alone. Since smell is one of the most important components of taste, better aroma equals better flavor.

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So now you’ve learned everything you need to know about pouring the a perfect brew every time. You can take this lesson to a more advanced level with different glasses designed for particular beer styles if you really want to wow your friends. But that’s a lesson for another day.

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