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Last updated on 6/07/2017

How to Pour the Perfect Pint of Beer

When it comes to the world of beer, knowing how to pour specific brews is essential to serving your guests the perfect pint. Whether you are pouring pilsners, stouts, IPAs, or Belgians, proper technique will maximize flavor, aroma, and mouthfeel while also producing the appropriate amount of head and releasing carbonation. Teaching your bartenders to properly pour a beer is crucial to the success of any bar, restaurant, brewery, or taphouse, especially as craft beer becomes more and more popular around the country. This step-by-step video and guide will show you how to pour beer from a regular tap, nitro tap, or bottle.

Step-by-Step Instructions

How to Pour a Draft Beer

Draft beers are typically brewed with high levels of added carbon dioxide. During the brewing process, the keg is filled with CO2 to push beer through the tap and maintain carbonation when served. As a result, draft beers feature large bubbles and thin head. Carbon dioxide amounts in draft beers must be carefully monitored in order to keep the brew from becoming flat or overly foamy. Examples of draft beers are IPAs, lagers, and wheat beers.

  • 1.

    Begin by rinsing your glass to remove any remaining detergents or residues. Doing so also helps with head retention.

  • 2.

    Hold your glass at a 45 degree angle and begin pouring. Pour until the glass is around half full.

  • 3.

    Hold the glass at a 90 degree angle (upright) and finish your pour.

  • 4.

    Stop pouring right before the beer level reaches the top of the glass to leave room for around a half an inch of head.

  • 5.

    Allow the beer to settle and the head to foam up.

How to Pour a Nitro Beer

Nitro beers draw their name from the incorporation of nitrogen during the brewing process. Unlike their draft counterparts, nitros contain around 70 percent nitrogen and 30 percent carbon dioxide. Because nitrogen is insoluble in liquid, the head and mouthfeel of nitro beers is rich, thick, and creamy. The addition of nitrogen also creates smaller bubbles, which render the carbonic bite and “hoppy” taste characteristic of draft beers relatively nonexistent. Stouts and porters are generally brewed with added nitrogen.

  • 1.

    Begin by rinsing your glass to remove any remaining detergents or residues. Doing so also helps with head retention.

  • 2.

    Place your glass directly below the tap. Do not hold the glass in your hand as you would a regular draft or bottled beer.

  • 3.

    Fill your glass around two thirds of the way. Then, stop for a few seconds and allow the beer to settle.

  • 4.

    The beer will begin to cascade, which refers to the small bubbles that move from the top of the glass to the bottom. Fill your glass the rest of the way.

  • 5.

    Stop pouring right before the beer level reaches the top of the glass to leave room for head.

How to Pour a Bottled Beer

Bottled beer is often pasteurized before bottling, giving it a shelf life of around 3 months, which is longer than a draft beer. Interestingly, beer bottled in a brown bottle (rather than a green or clear one) keeps longer due to its protection from oxidizing sunlight. High-alcohol or barleywine beers typically taste better when bottled. Additionally, drinking bottled beer keeps you safe from the bacteria that can infect tap lines and mar flavors.

  • 1.

    Begin by rinsing your glass to remove any remaining detergents or residues. Doing so also helps with head retention.

  • 2.

    Open your bottle of beer. Hold your glass at a 45 degree angle and begin pouring your beer very slowly. Pouring too quickly will produce too much head.

  • 3.

    When your glass is around half full, slowly shift the glass from a 45 degree angle to a 90 degree angle and finish pouring.

  • 4.

    Allow beer to settle and the head to foam up.

Related Resources

Beer Glass Buying Guide

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Whether you're offering customers the region's most popular craft brews or appealing to the masses with nationally-recognized macrobrews, properly maintaining your commercial beer tap system is vital to getting the most out of your investment. Understanding and maintaining a few key aspects of your beer tap system can go a long way toward preventing some of the common problems associated with serving draft beer. This allows customers to enjoy the product as the brewmaster intended and allows you to enjoy maximum profits!  Temperature According to Anheuser-Busch , 90% of all draught problems are temperature related, so the importance of maintaining proper temperatures can't be overstated. If your beer is stored too cold, it could go fla

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