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What is the proper way to pour a beer?

Have you been pouring your beer slowly down the side of a tilted glass? Well I hate to break it to you, but that’s not the way to do it! That is, unless you want a small head on your beer and an upset stomach. Since we want neither of those things, for you or for ourselves, we’ll break it down for you and you’ll be pouring your beer like a pro in no time!

When you pour your craft beer slowly down the side of a tilted glass, more CO2 remains dissolved in the beer. Why does that matter? Well, since the frothy foam is formed by CO2 bubbles rising to the surface of your glass, the more CO2 that remains trapped, the less of a head you’ll get on your beer. Not only does that result in a smaller head, the CO2 is also a likely culprit for stomach bloating or even aches.

Think about it, if you don’t allow your beer to release the CO2 before taking a sip, those bubbles will be released in your stomach. On top of that, if you enjoy eating while drinking your craft beer, the food will further disrupt the unreleased gas causing even more bloating and discomfort. Not the best feeling is it?!

But what causes the bubbles in the first place? Beer bubbles/fizz/carbonation is caused by the action of yeast. When the yeast eat the sugars in beer, it produces a by-product of carbon dioxide (CO2) and alcohol. Carbon dioxide is a gas that dissolves in the liquid and remains that way under pressure until you open the beer. The CO2 is further released by pouring it into a glass.

So then, the magic touch to pouring a beer properly:
Hold the glass upright and pour straight down into the glass. More gas is released, and a larger head will form. In doing so, you may also notice more aroma from your beer!

Related: What is "Head Retention" and why is it important?

Now, many Cicerones will also insist that different beer styles have different ideal pours, but generally pour an ale so that it has about half an inch of head, lagers with a larger one, and allow a wheat beer to have a big, pillowy head.

There you have it, the proper way to pour a beer. If you haven't been using this method, give it a try with your next Craft Beer Club shipment!