Pouring the perfect beer is the key to bringing out the best in
both the body and taste of your favourite brew. Too much or too
little head can drastically affect both its flavour and your
drinking experience - too little, and the beer is 'sloshy', too
much and you not only end up with a mouthful of foam, but often an
overpowering flavour of hops. With the right pouring techniques,
you can enjoy the perfect beer every time.
The first step is to make sure you have a clean glass, free of
oils, dirt or any residue of any previous drinks. Essentially, you
don't want anything to contaminate the fresh beer, which can affect
the way the foam behaves. The type of glass is also important.
Ideally, the glass should be large enough to hold the contents of a
standard beer, be a nice, full shape, and curve a little inwards at
the top, to trap the aroma of the beer.
Hold the glass at a 45° angle and slowly begin to pour the beer,
aiming for the centre of the bottom of the glass. When you have
poured around half of the beer, bring the glass up to a 90° angle
and pour the rest.
If you like more of a packed head, begin by sloshing a bit of
the beer into the bottom of the glass first, then hold at a 45°
angle and pour half of the beer first. Rest the beer for a moment
before pouring the rest at a 90° angle.
If you have too little foam, quickly pour a little beer into the
glass at a 90° angle. If you have too much, let it rest until it is
at the ideal level.
The pouring of beer varies greatly from one region to the next,
and from one beer type to another. For example, German lagers are
high in proteins, producing a much larger head than English ales.
By law, German beer glasses must have a 'fill line' which sits a
lot lower than the rim of the glass, allowing more space for the
foam head. In England, wide rimmed pint glasses are popular and
produce very little head, making them perfect for English ales, but
less than ideal for a German lager. Australian beers are often
served at a very cold temperature of 2-3 degrees Celsius, and
ideally have a head of 3-5mm.