How to Pour a Beer


You’ve tracked down a coveted bottle of your favorite craft beer. But what’s the best way to enjoy it at home? We asked Anders Kindall, buyer and certified beer server at Pangaea Bier Cafe, to demonstrate how to pour a proper beer.

The vessel
“The perfect pour always starts with the perfect glass,” explains Kindall, who is in the process of earning his cicerone certification. Serious bars serve beer in glassware specific to the style of the brew. Because it’s impractical to store a wide variety of glassware at home, however, Kindall suggests two glasses that will cover most situations: a nonic pint glass, the type typically used in an English pub, for most Pilsners, lagers, IPAs and red, brown or amber ales; and a tulip glass or snifter, which is appropriate for dark ales, stouts, lambics and quads. Whatever you do, “never use a shaker pint glass; they’re not for serving beer,” insists Kindall.

The prep
Starting with a “beer-clean” glass that’s free of residue of any kind is essential, says Kindall. Impurities can cause bubbles to cling to the inside of the glass, “which can affect the flavor and aroma of the beer.” That’s why Kindall always gives the glass a quick rinse before a pour. Also, “the whole frosted-glass thing is verboten,” he explains. “The condensation on a frosty glass will water down the beer and dilute the flavor.”

The technique
Whether you’re pouring from a tap or from a bottle, place the glass at a 45-degree angle and allow the beer to cascade down the side of the glass, slowly tipping it upright as you go. “If the carbonation is lively and it starts foaming right away, just let it sit” before continuing with the pour, advises Kindall. “If you pour beer right into foam, it just makes more foam.” A im for a head of foam that’s about as wide as your index finger. Because a vigorous pour can result in a flat beer, patience is key. “Behind the bar, I stress patience with all the bartenders,” says Kindall. “We want to give customers the perfect pour, and it takes time to do that. “

The final word
Kindall, a self-professed beer fanatic but certainly no snob, believes there’s a beer for every occasion, adding that it’s permissible to bypass the pour altogether. “If you’re coming home and want to enjoy a beer, it’s perfectly acceptable to just drink it out of the can.” Drinking from the can is akin to eating from a paper plate—it’s not fancy, but it gets the job done. But for an elevated experience, a proper pour is in order. “So much time and effort and love have been put into this beer. Why wouldn’t you want to enjoy it that way?”