How to Pour Beer

Have you ever wondered how to achieve that classic, crisp glass of beer with just the right amount of foam on top? It’s actually pretty easy! Read on to learn the steps that expert beer servers use to craft the perfect pint.


[Edit]Choose the right glass for the beer.

  1. Go for a specialty glass to enhance the drinking experience. While there’s nothing wrong with enjoying beer in a classic pint glass, specialty glasses change how a beer tastes or feels. For example, choose an Artois Chalice to keep your beer cooler and maintain the foam head longer than a standard glass. If you’re more interested in enhancing the beer’s aroma, reach for a tulip glass. This type of glass concentrates the scent of the beer in its narrow neck.[1]
    Pour Beer Step 1 Version 4.jpg
    • Some breweries produce glasses specifically designed for their beers. For instance, Sam Adams has its own Boston Lager glass that’s engineered to keep your brew cool and prevent flatness.

[Edit]Start with a “beer-clean” glass.

  1. The beer will taste, smell, and look better if your glass is clean. Any beer connoisseur will tell you that beer tastes better out of a glass. Plus, with proper pouring, you’ll get a nice, aromatic head of foam.[2] But you won’t get the same effect if you use a glass that’s dirty, oily, or covered in soap residue. Before you pour, wash your beer glass thoroughly with dish soap and a clean sponge or cloth. Rinse it carefully and let it air-dry upside down on a drying rack.[3]
    Pour Beer Step 2 Version 4.jpg
    • Don’t let the glass dry on a cloth or towel, since this can leave lint on the rim.
    • For the best results, give the glass a quick rinse with chilled, filtered water to cool the glass and remove any residual soap or sanitizer right before you pour.
    • The glass should be free of any odors or obvious signs of dirt or grease.

[Edit]Inspect a beer bottle first before pouring.

  1. Check for damage to the bottle or signs of spoilage. If you notice chips in the glass, white flakes floating in the beer, or a ring of gunk around the inner neck of the bottle, don’t serve the beer. If it looks okay, check the cap to make sure you know how to take it off—that is, can you twist it off, or will you need a bottle opener? Additionally, check to see if the bottle has yeast in it (it will look like a layer of sediment at the bottom of the bottle).[4]

    • A little bit of yeast adds richness to the beer’s flavor. Gently roll or swirl the bottle before you pour to loosen up the yeast so some of it goes into the glass.[5]
    • If you’re not a big yeast fan, try to retain some in the bottom of the bottle when you pour.
    • Some bottles have a cork top instead of a cap. To remove a cork, loosen the wire holding it in place and pull the cork out by hand, aiming away from your own face or anyone else’s.

[Edit]Grip the tap marker at the base if you’re pouring draft beer.

  1. A firm, low grip gives you greater control over the flow. Open the tap completely in one quick, smooth motion. This will give you get a nice, full stream.[6]
    Pour Beer Step 4 Version 4.jpg
    • If you only open the tap partway, the beer will come out foamy, and you’ll end up with more bubbles than beer.

[Edit]Hold the glass at a 45° angle to start.

  1. This helps you control how much foam you get. Tilt the glass under the tap or beer bottle so that the stream flows down the side. This will make the pour a little gentler and keep you from getting a whole glass full of froth.[7]

    • The goal isn’t to prevent foam from forming altogether. In fact, it’s better to release some foam during the pour, since this will keep the beer from frothing up in your stomach and making you bloated![8]
    • A nice head of froth will also release more of that delicious, hoppy aroma.

[Edit]Don’t let the tap or edge of the bottle touch the glass.

  1. This will prevent contamination. It also guarantees a stronger stream—plus, it’s just good form! If you’re using a tap, hold the glass low enough that the tap doesn’t touch any part of the glass, the beer, or the foam. Try to position the glass about below the tap.[9]
    Pour Beer Step 6 Version 4.jpg
    • Likewise, if you’re pouring from a bottle or can, hold the container at least above the rim of the glass while you pour.

[Edit]Pour vigorously enough to release some CO2.

  1. A timid trickle will prevent foam and trap gas. Right from the start of the pour, let out a nice, full stream.[10] Pour from a little way above the glass to get more force.

    • If you’re pouring from a bottle or can, tip it over enough so that the beer pours out relatively quickly. This will create a stronger stream.
    • Don’t pour so vigorously that the beer splashes out of the glass, however.

[Edit]Tilt the glass upright when you’re ready to make foam.

  1. Shift the glass to pour into the middle instead of down the side. Depending on how much foam you want, you can do this earlier or later in the process. For example, for a relatively small head of foam, tilt the glass when it’s about 2/3 of the way full.[11]

    • If you want more foam, straighten the glass earlier (e.g., when it’s about 1/3 to 1/2 full).

[Edit]Stop pouring when the foam hits the top of the glass.

  1. To prevent waste, don’t let the foam overflow. Watch the froth carefully as you pour and stop just before it reaches the lip of the glass.[12] If you’re pouring draft beer, close the tap with a quick, fluid movement to prevent overflow.[13]

    • If you want to fit a little more beer into the glass, let the foam settle for a few minutes. Then, top off the glass.[14]
    • Enjoy the taste and aroma of a perfect, frothy glass of beer!


  • Some beers are foamier than others. For example, German wheat beers and pilsners are extra frothy. To keep your beer from being overwhelmed with bubbles, keep the glass almost horizontal and hold the neck of the bottle inside the glass for most of the pour (just be careful not to touch the glass or the beer).[15]
  • Drinking beer from a glass, instead of straight from a bottle or other container, helps you experience the aroma and taste of the beer more fully. You’ll also have an easier time appreciating other aspects of the beer, like its color, clarity, and texture.[16]

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