How Do You Serve a Beer Glass?



On a hot day, a nice glass of beer sounds just about the perfect thing you need. You can go ahead, grab yourself a bottle, drink it straight from there and call it a day But, if you want to enjoy it at its best, then there are a few things that you should note and do. There are different kinds of beer with different types of complexities. The brand or price may determine the quality of the beer but the way it is served also has some effect on its taste, smell and overall enjoyability. Keep reading if you want to take your craft beer to the next level. 

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Serving A Beer Glass

There are three factors to consider when serving beer: the temperature, the way it is poured and the glassware. Different types of beer also differ in these three, and if done correctly, your beer will enhance greatly. 

Temperature

The common understanding is that as long as beer is cold, then it should taste great. What people may not notice is that when beer is not at the right temperature, the flavors and aromas may decline or not released and they will just blame it on the beer’s brand or quality. Temperature is important as it is tricky. You don’t want to serve the beer too cold or too warm, depending on the type that is, as this has effects on the beer’s taste and texture. 


It is understandable if beer is served very cold especially if you need to beat the heat and quench your thirst. While cold beer helps in enhancing desirable qualities of the beer, it can also prevent the other great and important qualities to be released. The good part of serving beer cold is that the bitterness, carbonation and dryness are released which contributes to the mouthfeel. The bad part is that the aromatic compounds in volatile vapors. When the beer is too cold, the aroma stays in the bubbles instead of being released from it. 


Because they are not released, they will remain in the beer and will eventually change the flavor and aroma. After all, the smell plays a huge role on how we perceive taste, so if there is nothing to smell, the beer will just be tasteless and thin. Also, beer that is too cold will appear cloudy rather than clear so you can’t really see the color clearly.  

On the other hand, when the beer is too warm, it does highlight some of the flavors and aroma of the beer but when it reaches room temperature, carbonation is decreased as well as bitterness, resulting in a flat-tasting beer.


If you know your beer, then knowing what temperature they will be served should be easy. You can benefit from knowing the optimum serving temperature of your different beer types. Generally speaking, all beers are served in temperatures ranging from 38 - 55 degrees Fahrenheit. 

  • Dark and strong beers are better served warm - 44-55 degrees Fahrenheit (6-12 degrees Celsius)
  • Light-colored and light-bodied beers should be served cold -  40-44 degrees Fahrenheit or (4-6 degrees Celsius)

Sometimes, beer is served colder than their optimal temperatures to compensate for the eventual warming of the glass from the drinker’s hand. 

Pouring


Beer may be served from the tap or from its bottle or can. When beer is from a bottle, it is important that the bottle is not shaken before opening as it can negatively affect the quality of the beer. The carbon dioxide inside a still and undisturbed container remains stable and is practically dissolved so if it remains not agitated when opened, thus the reaction will be gentle because it allows the carbon dioxide to be released consistently from its dissolved tiny pockets. A well-functioning bottle opener should be used to prevent the bottle from chipping or cracking and getting into the beer. 


There is a standard way to pour a beer that is said to be the best way. It helps in highlighting the beer’s good qualities in terms of flavor and aroma, getting the carbon dioxide to turn into bubbles, and ultimately creating a beautiful head or foam in a process called nucleation which is controlling the rate of bubble formation.


To do this, quickly give your glass a rinse of cold water first.


Then, go ahead and open the bottle.  Start by holding the beer glass at a 45-degree angle and slowly pour the beer. The mouth of the bottle should be near the rim of the glass, letting the beer touch the inner surface of the glass. This helps in not activating the bubbles too much. As the glass becomes half full, slowly transition at a 90-degree angle or upright position and accelerate the pour at the center while slightly lifting the bottle. This introduces oxygen to the beer, creating bubbles and stabilizing molecules that are responsible for making the head.


The same process applies to beer in a can. 


However, in pouring beer from a tap, the only hand that will be moving is the one holding the glass. Still, rinse the glass first and hold it at a 45-degree angle about one inch below the faucet. If it’s too close, the beer touches the faucet, causing yeast buildup that can badly affect the beer. Then, open the tap all the way and once the glass is half full, straighten it and lower the glass a bit. Turn off the tap fast, the glass should leave about 1 - 1.5 inches of space for the head to form. 


Glassware

Head retention is a sign of a good beer. Not only it adds aesthetics but also gives a long-lasting aroma thus affecting the beer’s taste. You can’t get a glance of the head when the beer is in a can or a bottle, can you? That is why it is better off in a glass. 


Always use clean glasses. Normally, they would be cleaned beforehand when the bar closes, but they also receive a quick, fresh rinse of cold water before pouring the beer in. This is to get rid of the soap residue and any unwanted particles that have accumulated overnight. A clean glass releases carbon dioxide, meaning aromas will be enhanced and it lessens your carbonation intake. Others may also think that using frozen glasses is a great idea to give the beer an extra chill boost, but it’s actually a bad idea. The glass becomes frosty, increasing nucleation and the ice crystals will kill the aromatic compounds and cause the beer to be flat. 


There are different types of glasses for each type of beer. Learn more about them in this article. As much as the glasses make the beer look presentable, the shape also plays a huge impact on the beer overall. 

Examples

There are over a hundred styles of beer and they can’t all be covered in one article. So, to give you an overview, we are just going to feature the main types and styles of beer and the ideal way on how to serve them. 

Ale 

Known to be full-bodied and strong beers, ales differ from lagers in terms of fermentation, since the ale’s yeast ferments on top of the beer. They also have hints of spice or fruit with a hoppy aftertaste. Ale is a broad category that branches out to numerous types of brown ales or pale ales. 

  • Ideal serving temperature is 40-45 degrees Fahrenheit for pale ale and 45-54 degrees Fahrenheit for brown ale. 
  • There are different glasses depending on the type of ale but a footed one or with handles is preferred. 
  • Generally, glasses are preferred to be dry before pouring beer in. 
  • Beer can be poured without tilting the glass, just place the glass on a coaster and pour the beer directly. 
  • Must form ½ - 1 inch of head. 
  • Serve the glass of beer with the coaster where it is placed on. 

Lager 

Lagers are served colder than ales. They are the most familiar and popular type of beer, known for its refreshing finish and big head. In contrast to ales, lagers’ yeast ferments at the bottom of the beer. Most lagers are light brew, that’s why they are served at lower temperatures. But, there are also dark lagers that are surprisingly light and sweet with hints of caramel flavors. 

  • The ideal serving temperature is 40-50 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  • Dark lagers are served in tulip-shaped glasses while those that are caramel-colored are served in pint glasses.
  • Dark lagers are served in clean and dry glasses, while lighter ones should be rinsed first. 
  • Pour the beer directly into the glass placed on a coaster. For caramel-colored ones, the 45-degree tilt should be applied. 
  • There should be about 1 inch of head. 
  • Serve the beer on a coaster.

Pilsner

These are a subcategory of lagers, known as the pale lagers or the light-bodied ones. They have a light, golden color, with a bitter, crisp and dry taste with a hop flavor. They are also served at lower temperatures than other lagers. 

  • The ideal serving temperature is 30-45 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  • They are served in tall, narrow glasses that should be rinsed before pouring the beer in. 
  • Hold the glass at a 45-degree angle, then pour in the beer. Straighten the glass when it’s half full.
  • There should be about 1 - 1.5 inches of foam. 
  • Serve the beer quickly on a coaster. 

Stout 

Known for their dark color due to roasted barley. Stouts are similar to porters in terms of the hints of chocolate, coffee and caramel taste, but stouts have a more roasted and bitter flavor. They are also known for having thick and creamy heads. Interestingly, their bubbles also tend to sink rather than rise. 

  • The ideal serving temperature is 40-55 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Served in clean, either footed, mugs, or tulip pint glasses. 
  • Hold the glass at a 45-degree angle, about 1 inch below the faucet. Open it all the way and stop when it’s three quarters full. 
  • Place the glass on the table, letting it rest for about 2 minutes to allow the bubbles to create a velvety foam on top. After waiting, hold the glass upright and fill the glass until almost full. 
  •  Foams should be ½ - 1 inch. 
  • Serve the beer on a coaster. 

Wheat

If you want something light and not so bitter, then the wheat beer is for you. It is very easy to drink with spice and citrusy notes and only has a little aftertaste. They are smooth, soft, have a hazy look and characterized by their tall, fine and creamy head. 

  • The ideal serving temperature is 45-50 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Served in clean tall and narrow glasses that are rinsed with cold water before pouring. 
  • Hold the glass at a 45-degree angle and slowly pour the beer in. Once the beer fills the glass about three quarters, stop. Swirl the remaining beer in the bottle for about ten seconds to create the foam. Then, pour the remaining beer in the glass. 
  • The foam should be about 1.5 inches.
  • Serve the beer on a coaster. 

Conclusion

Beer is a beloved and time-honored beverage and it would be a shame if it’s not enjoyed to its fullest potential. A few seconds of preparing it by pouring it in a glass will not hurt and it is actually the recommended way of serving it rather than just drunk directly from the bottle or can. However, it is not just an ordinary pour, there is a correct way of doing it that helps in releasing the great qualities of the beer so it will be savored more. So, grab a bottle of beer and serve it the way it’s supposed to be served, it’s worth it. 

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