A Brief History:
Beer is the world's oldest and most popular alcoholic beverage, and as such, needs to be enjoyed properly. With an extensive list of activities associated with beer, such as playing cards, darts, beer pong, quarters and other games; attending beer festivals; or just drinking it; it's no wonder that beer outsells wine four to one!
That said, pouring beer is an art, and a huge part of the overall tasting experience. Here we'll demonstrates the most common pouring technique for most beers.
Remember, "Practice makes Perfect".
(You can always just drink the beer straight from the bottle/can/hose/bong/etc.)
!!! ALWAYS DRINK RESPONSIBLY !!!
This Instructable will demonstrate the art of pouring beer.
Step 1: Prepare to Partake
Enjoying a beer at its best involves 3 key components; the Beer, the Glass and the Pour.
1) Cold Beer (This is very delicious)
2) A Clean Glass (This is very important)
3) A Bottle Opener (Thanks acaz93)
Drinking Buddy (This is a good person)
NOTE: I used Paint.NET for most of my illustrations.
Step 2: Pregame
Make sure the glass is completely clean. Why am i reiterating? Because dust, grime and oils can interfere with the flavor of a beer, and can also disrupt carbonation and the production of a good head. Always pour your beer into a clean glass.
Hold the glass under the bottle (or tap) and tilt at approximately a 45 degree angle.
Step 3: The Pour, Part I
Pour the beer down the side of the glass, targeting the middle of the slope of the glass at about the halfway point. Be careful not to pour too quickly; let the beer flow nice and steady.
Step 4: The Pour, Part II
When the glass is half full (or empty) bring the glass vertical again at a 90 degree angle (img2) and continue to pour the directly into your beer in the center of the glass. This will produce the perfect amount of foam head.
Perfect Head? Read on...
Step 5: Get Head
Head on a beer is a good thing. A beer with no head is like a human with no head, only worse. Why, you ask? I'll tell you. It's because many beers require the head in order to release aromatic and flavorful character, plus it adds to the overall presentation.
Getting Good Head
Gradually add distance between the bottle (or tap) and the glass as you pour, to inspire a good head. An ideal head should be somewhere between a fingers-width and 1.5 inches tall.
See STEP 8 for TAP POURING
These guidelines are very general. Optimal head size depends on the type of beer.
See STEP 7 for more info
Step 6: Drink Up!
Sip. Chug. Drink. Guzzle. Swig. Imbibe.
The important thing is to enjoy your beer.
Rinse, Dry, Repeat
Now that you've had your beer, go practice pouring until you get it right (or drunk. whichever comes first).
Step 7: Variety, the Spice of Life
Variety, Variations and Tips
Here is a list of variations in pouring for different types of beer.
ALE. Follow the general rules pretty closely, but pour a little longer along the side of the glass while tilting it. The goal should be a head that measures about a finger-width. Too much head means that you lose some of the ale's characteristic bitter or hoppy flavors.
STOUT. A stout deserves a thick head. If you go to a bar and order a Guinness on tap, you'll notice the bartender slowly fill your beer glass halfway and then let the beer settle a bit before finishing the pour. Imitate this method when pouring your own stouts. After you've very gradually poured half of the beer, pause to let the beer settle, and then continue with the rest.
Reverend Dan says:
Stout should be poured at 45 degrees down the glass until 2/3 of the way full then left to settle. Then fill up by pouring in the middle at a much slower rate (TAP: by pushing the Tap back a little).Then when just near the top put in a shamrock which you draw out with the pour. Move the glass not the bottle/can/tap.
PILSNER. Many suggest that you just pour straight down into a glass (without tilting) in order to achieve that healthy pilsner head, which characteristically extends over the lip of the glass.
HEFEWEIZEN. A hefeweizen's head can sneak up on you and cause quite a surprise. Its strong foaming potential means that you should pour extra gently along the side of the glass. Don't straighten the glass halfway through your pour. If any straightening is necessary for head, do it at the very end. As a general rule, include yeasty sediment at the bottom of the bottle (more on that below).
With hefeweizen or other beers where sediment should be mixed in, try slowly rotating the bottle end over end a couple of times before opening. This will distribute the sediment evenly and you won't need to swirl the bottle before pouring the last bit. It also means that with larger bottles you can pour two glasses with the sediment distributed evenly between them. Surprisingly, agitating the bottle gently in this way doesn't seem to cause the beer to froth as you might expect.
If you look at the bottom of some beers, you'll see yeasty sediment that has settled to the bottom of your bottle. In some cases, you should leave this sediment out of your glass, pouring gently so as not to agitate it.
Bottle-conditioned beers are famous for the sediment at the bottom. Some people don't mind drinking it, but many feel that this yeasty sediment should be kept out of the beer in order to allow more delicate flavors to come forth.
But for other beers (such as hefeweizen and unfiltered Belgian whites), this sedimentary component can hold some pretty important flavor for the beer. In these cases, you should actually adjust your pour to include as much sediment as possible. Pour almost all of the bottle's contents gently, leaving only a couple ounces in the bottle. Then swirl the contents of the bottle in a circular motion, tilting the bottle slightly, to loosen all of the sediment and blend it with the remaining frothy liquid. Then pour these flavorful last ounces into your glass and enjoy!
For the novice beer pourer, try wetting the glass first. Swirl some water around in the glass then pour it out. The water smooths the inside of the glass covering and filling any imperfections. It is these imperfections which create nucleation sites for the bubbles to form. You still need a little care when pouring, but can be much more cack handed with this method.
Step 8: Pouring From a Tap (aka Draft or Draught)
Tap pouring is pretty much the same as pouring from a bottle.
1) Hold the glass at a 45 degree angle.
2) Pull the Tap (handle) all the way down and keep the spout as near to the glass as possible.
3) As it the glass fills up, straighten the glass (to a 90 degree angle).
4) When done pouring, flip the Tap back swiftly.
If you get too much head at the beginning, tilt the glass even more to increase the surface area. If that doesn't work, put the spout into the beer to prevent further frothing. This is of course not great technique, so wipe the spout after you're done.
If you need more head, shake the glass to froth it up as you pour or flip the Tap back up and pull it towards you just a bit to put more gas into the beer so you're just pouring head essentially.