We’ve all been there. You pour yourself a refreshing pint of beer only to find that it’s either lost its carbonation, it’s got too big a head, it doesn’t have that satisfying bitterness, or simply that it just isn’t as good as when you order the same pint at your local. But, before you settle on the conclusion that draught beer in a pub is ‘just better’, have you looked at the way you’re pouring that can or bottle?
Whether it’s a lager or ale, the way you pour your beer greatly impacts the way it looks and tastes. We’d go as far to say it’s an art form, and with a few quick pointers, you can pour a great pint every single time and get the most from that brew no matter if it’s a bottled, canned, or draught beer. Here’s how it’s done:
Step 1 - Pick a glass
Of course, you can pick any pint glass you like, but we always think that a beer is best served in the glass it was intended for. Luckily, you’ll find plenty of pint glasses to show off that expertly poured pint in style in our pint glass collection.
Step 2 - Make sure your beer is at the right drinking temperature
Different kinds of lager and ale are brewed using entirely different brewing processes, so it makes sense that they’re served differently too. For example, a pale ale is often best served at a fridge-like 6-8°C for maximum refreshment, but if you serve a more traditional ale at that temperature, it can start to lose some of its flavour characteristics.
Whatever kind of beer you’re drinking, it’s worth remembering the optimal temperature for drinking, whether you’re pouring a beer for a mate or to enjoy yourself. Ales like IPAs and amber ales showcase their complex array of hops and malts between 10 and 12°C. And if you’re a fan of wheat beer, these are great between 5 and 7°C, but there are a couple of rules on how best to keep them stored for maximum flavour.
Ultimately though, the temperature you serve your beer all comes down to personal preference, so go with whatever suits your taste. There’s no reason you can’t drink an ale like Old Speckled Hen straight from the fridge if refreshment is what you’re after!
Step 3 - Get tilting and pouring
The most important thing to remember when pouring that pint is the tilt. Too little and your beer will have too much of a head, too much and your beer will have virtually no head.
For the vast majority of beers, the magic angle to create the perfect liquid to foam ratio is 45 ° - exactly diagonal. Tilt the glass diagonally and pour your bottle or can so that the beer hits the middle of the pint glass on the side. Once you get about halfway, slowly tilt the glass vertically and pour the remaining beer into the centre of the glass. That helps give the beer a head, which should be around 2-3 cm. A beer with a perfect head not only looks Instagrammable, but it also preserves the taste and keeps your beer fresher for longer.
Some beers like pilsners, helles and golden ales have more carbon dioxide than most. With these types of beer, straightening the glass too soon can still create too much foam. So, the best way to pour these is to keep the glass tilted for almost the entire pour, then tilt the glass vertically right at the end to create a head.
Step 4 - Let it settle
If it’s a stout or porter you’re drinking that contains a widget to preserve the beer’s head, like Belhaven Black, patience is a virtue. After you’ve finished pouring your pint, wait at least two minutes for the surge to settle until your beer turns back to the dark colour it’s famous for. This happens because the gas mix in some stouts uses nitrogen, allowing for smaller bubbles to create a smooth flow experience Now enjoy that first sip!
Bonus - Wheat beer
Wheat beer may look like a lager and be brewed in a similar way to ales (top-fermented), but the best way to serve a pint of wheat beer is a little different to both lager and ale.
Firstly, the best way to store wheat beer in the fridge, whether bottled or canned, is upright. That’s so the yeast can settle at the bottom. Remember 5-7°C is the sweet spot. When you’re ready to serve it, swirl the bottle or can lightly so that the yeast mixes into the beer, then pour like a lager. This method means you get the most flavour and beer stays fresh for longer. Give it a try…Those are a few easy tips to master the skill of pouring consistently great pints of beer. Don’t forget, we have an incredible beer collection available for you to enjoy at home right here at Greene King. Discover a new favourite lager or ale, pair it with the right glass to match and practice the pour. You’ll be a pro in no time!