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Serving beer – The basics

Beer_July8_AIn past articles we have talked about the different types of beer available in Thailand, the different between Ales and Lagers, and even looked at how beer is made. The next thing we should talk about it how to properly enjoy beer. Sure, you could just drink it and will likely enjoy it, but there are things you can do to get more out of beer, and begin to appreciate it more. One of the best ways to get more out of beer is to learn how to serve it properly.

You may have heard wine snobs drone on and on about how a wine from a certain region is supposed to be served a certain way, and in a certain glass. Well, the truth is, beer is kind of like that as well. While the way you serve wine varies depending on the type of grape and possibly the location it is from, serving beer is based more on the type of beer.

When it comes to properly serving beer, most people will focus on four things:

  1. The container it is consumed in
  2. Properly pouring the beer
  3. Using the proper glassware
  4. Serving it at the right temperature

This week we will look at the first two parts of serving beer, part three will focus on the glassware, and serving temperature. Before we dive in however, you may be wondering, “Why should I be worried about serving beer properly?”

Many beer snobs will scoff at this question, saying simply that it’s supposed to be that way. But I believe there are a number of reasons why you should try to enjoy and serve beer properly. The first is that, believe it or not, the taste and smell of beer will change, often for the better, when you serve it correctly.

For us at Wishbeer, the reason we try to enjoy the beer properly is that we see beer as an investment here in Thailand – it isn’t cheap, and I want to get the most out of my investment. Therefore, may as well do it right!

We aren’t saying that you have to follow every step and serve beer accordingly, but taking a few extra steps will likely increase the enjoyment you get from drinking great beer! So, let’s take a look at what makes up the proper way to serve beer.

1. The container it is in
You can drink beer in a number of containers: Cans, bottles, glass, mason jar, boots (just kidding, you probably shouldn’t drink beer from a boot, unless it’s made of glass!). In many countries in the world, it’s not uncommon to see people drinking directly from the bottle or can. In truth, it doesn’t matter if you drink your beer in a can, bottle or glass. If you enjoy drinking from the bottle, then by all means, keep drinking from the bottle!

But, pouring the beer into a glass is considered to be the proper way to serve it. The main reason for this is because the glass will actually help improve the taste of beer, largely because glasses have larger surface areas which act to enhance the aroma of beer. Why aroma? Well, smell actually makes up a large part of our taste. If something smells good, chances are, it will taste good as well. That way, if you can better smell your beer, you will be better able to truly taste it.

The other reason you pour beer into a glass is to look at it! We are visual creatures, and can usually enjoy something more if we can see, taste and smell it. When a beer looks better, chances are, it will taste better to us as well. Think of drinking Chang from the can: It likely tastes ok, but pour it into a glass, and it usually tastes a lot better. It’s the same beer, but because we can see and smell it, the taste is also slightly better.

2. Properly pouring your beer
When it comes to pouring your beer, there are a number of ways to do so, we will cover the standard method that covers close to every style of beer. Here’s how you can do so:

  1. Take a clean beer glass, make sure there are no oils, or leftover residue from previous beer in the glass as this could change the flavor.
  2. Hold you glass at a 45 degree angle and pour the beer into the middle of the glass. The beer should be hitting the opposite side of the glass about half of the way up.
  3. As the beer in the glass reaches where you are pouring (should be about ½ the bottle), tilt the glass to 90 degrees (straight up and down) and pour the beer into the middle of the liquid. This should give you about two fingers of head when you have finished pouring.

The reason you want this foam head is because it helps enhance the beer’s aroma. If you pour too fast and end up with a big head, that’s ok. Just put the glass down on the table for a few seconds and let the head settle a bit, then continue pouring.

If you have a unfiltered wheat, or bottle conditioned beer be sure to stop with about a third of the beer left in the bottle. Then take the beer, and swirl it around 3-4 times and pour it into the glass. This will ensure that the yeast in the bottle is broken up and will be distributed evenly into the glass. Of course, if you don’t want the yeast, don’t swirl the beer, just pour it slowly until you notice the beer coming out of the bottle change color. Once it does, stop and most of the yeast will remain in the bottle.

Do you have a favorite way to serve beer? Let us know below! And be sure to check in next week for the second half of this article!

Wish of the week
Lion Stout
Tired of Guinness? Looking for something with a little more roar? This is the beer to try! At first sip, you will be very surprised to learn that a beer this good comes from Sri Lanka, a country historically not known for its beer. It’s dark, smooth, and offers some amazing chocolate flavors that will have you literally purring with happiness. Or, maybe drunkenness when you realize that “just one” has turned into six.

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