The Proper Way To Pour A Beer Is All About The Angle

An ice-cold beer on a sweltering day can be one of the greatest things in the world ... if it's poured right. But there's a right way and a wrong way to transfer beer from a bottle into a glass. The right way will produce optimal taste and, yes, appearance. The wrong way will adversely affect both, not to mention, it could possibly give you a stomach ache. The culprit is carbon dioxide (CO2), something that every bottle of beer is equipped with.

Without CO2, beer wouldn't taste or smell right, nor would a glass of beer have that iconic foam top that tells you it's beer you're drinking. Some people deliberately pour their beer slowly on the side of the glass so that little to no foam rests on the top. Perhaps they're trying to fit all the beer into the glass in one shot, preventing overfill. But according to master cicerones (the beer world's equivalent of master sommeliers), this is totally wrong. 

The foam head on the top is what you want — it's a sign that the CO2, something essential to enjoying a beer to its fullest, has been released.

The simple method for the perfect pour

You've learned that pouring your beer low and slow won't release the CO2. But dumping the bottle into the glass too quickly will leave you with an enormous foam head, making you wonder where all the beer went. The happy medium begins with you tilting your glass at just the right angle. With your glass tilted at 45-degrees, begin pouring your beer in the glass so that the stream is aimed at about the middle of the side of the tilted glass. Make sure the bottle isn't resting on the rim of the glass.

Once you've poured about half the bottle out, straighten out the glass so that it's upright while the rest of the beer pours in. Here is where you'll see most of the foam head forming. This is a sign that the CO2 is being released. 

Once the bottle is empty, you should have that perfect layer of foam on top. It should be just enough so that when you take that first drink, the foam covers your top lip but the beer flows right into your mouth. You should be able to take in the aroma and all those nuanced flavors of beer that you love.

The pour affects your gut

What do CO2 and foam heads and 45-degree angles have to do with drinking your beer, anyway? It all goes back to that aforementioned stomachache possibility. 

When CO2 is released in a beer glass, it creates that foam fans love so much. (It expands, so to speak.) Master cicerone Max Bakker explained to Thrillist that when you pour a beer slowly to avoid the foam, you also keep the CO2 from releasing. It has to release somewhere — and that somewhere is your stomach. When you drink a beer full of CO2 and then take a bite of food, the carbon dioxide in your gut will release upon coming into contact with the food and expand. This is where that dreaded beer bloat often comes from, making you uncomfortable and causing you to loosen your belt.

Even if you don't eat any food with your beer, that CO2 has to be released at some point. You'll be much more comfortable if you pour your beer just right.