How to serve a beer

Mastering the technique of how to serve a beer allows the correct formation of foam, which is necessary to protect the beer from oxidation and to prevent the excessive escape of CO 2 . This also makes it possible for the beer to maintain the correct gas concentration during consumption, respecting its sensory profile during tasting.

There is no single run, since the protocol will change depending on the characteristics of the beer, the shape of the glass or in which container the beer is kept. These are the steps to follow when serving a beer:


    Previous steps

    First, it is essential to cool the beer within the optimal temperature range for consumption. A tip is to cool the beer to the minimum recommended temperature, that is, if the correct serving temperature of a beer is between 6 ° C and 8 ° C, it is advisable to refrigerate it at 6 ° C so that during consumption it remains inside temperature range.

    Choosing the correct glass for each style of beer will allow you to better appreciate the appearance, aroma and flavor of the beer during the tasting. It is essential that the glass is completely clean and at room temperature. It is not recommended at all to freeze the dishes.

    Serve beer from a bottle or can

    First we open the container, we use a suitable opener in the case of the bottle. We take the bottle or can with the right hand and the glass with the left hand, if you are left-handed and feel more like the reverse, you can do it.

    We tilt the glass 45 ° with respect to the horizontal and bring its edge to the opening of the bottle or can, without both touching, since we could contaminate the dishes or cause some microcracks. Slowly, we pour the contents of the container into the glass, tilting the bottle or can little by little. The beer should slide down the wall of the glass so as not to form an excess of foam from the beginning.

    As a general rule, when ¾ parts of the glass have been filled, it straightens until it is completely vertical and the end of the beer continues to pour. This step will vary depending on the carbonation of the beer, since if it contains a lot of gas it will be necessary to straighten the glass later or, if on the contrary, it is a lightly carbonated beer, it will be better to straighten the glass first. It is advisable to continuously observe the inside of the container to control the formation of foam and decide when to place the glass vertically.

    Once we have the glass vertically, we can vary the distance from the container to the crockery as we need more or less foam formation. The more distance there is between them, the more foam will form. A recommended distance is about 5 cm. When pouring all the beer, we place the glass on a surface, without the need to hit its base.

    The amount of foam required is about two fingers thick, but this measurement can vary depending on the style of beer and the type of glass. In low carbonated beers, such as British Pale Ale or Mild Ale, about a finger and a half of head is sufficient, while with more carbonated beers, such as Weissbier or Belgian Tripel, two and a half fingers of head or more can be formed.

    Unfiltered beers

    Si servimos una cerveza sin filtrar que contenga sedimentos en el fondo del envase, cambian algunos pasos. El comienzo del tiraje se realiza igual que en una cerveza filtrada, pero al quedar un dedo de cerveza en el envase, dejamos de verter la cerveza.

    En el culo de la botella o lata quedará ahora restos de levadura y extractos de malta y lúpulo. En algunos casos, el sabor de estos posos son muy intensos y pueden afectar mucho al sabor y aroma de la cerveza. Si estos sabores son del agrado del consumidor, pude agitarse el envase en círculos para mezclar esos posos y verterlos sobre la cerveza ya servida. En caso de que no se quieran mezclar esos posos, pueden desecharse o tomarse aparte, para ello se servirá lo que queda en el culo de la botella o lata en un vaso de chupito separado, para poder tomar la cerveza por un lado y los posos por otro, sin que se mezclen los sabores.

    The practice of serving the lees in a separate glass is traditional in some regions with a very long brewing culture. It can be seen in some towns in Belgium, for example, where its yeasts are highly appreciated and taste good.

    German style wheat beers

    Weissbier, Weizenbock, Dunkelweizen, etc. style beers are characterized by being cloudy and highly carbonated wheat beers. In addition, it is recommended to serve them in a Weissbier glass, which is elongated and curved.

    These beers form a lot of foam from the beginning of the draft, so at the beginning it is advisable to tilt the glass 30 ° with respect to the horizontal. The straightening of the glass is done more slowly, and being totally vertical, the opening of the bottle or can stays close to the edge of the glass. As it is an unfiltered beer, a finger of beer is also left inside the container before finishing, the bottle or can is shaken in circles to mix the grounds, and in this case the grounds are always poured over the beer, already that have a characteristic flavor of this style of beer.

    Serving beer from tap

    It has been popularly said that tap beer is better, especially when it is well drawn, and it is true that the tap gives us more play and allows us to form cream instead of foam. The difference between cream and foam is that the cream has a much finer and more compact bubble, which allows the giste to be more persistent and completely prevents the escape of CO 2 , so the beer is it will stay carbonated longer and will not lose strength.

    First, the glass is moistened by placing it upside down on the "wet-glass", pressing the valve so that a jet of water comes out that will temper the dishes, eliminate impurities and allow the beer to slide more easily. The glass is allowed to drain for a few seconds so that a few drops fall.

    The glass is held in the left hand and the tap handle in the right. Initially, the tap is fully opened and the first stream of beer is dropped onto the tray for one second. This action allows no foam to fall into the glass, in addition to the fact that that part of the beer has accumulated inside the tap, so it will have been heated and contaminated and, in turn, can contaminate the beer served.

    By eliminating that first jet, the glass is immediately placed under the tap, near the spout, but without touching it, since it can also contaminate the beer. The beer is poured down the side of the glass. Slowly the glass is straightened until it is placed vertically, and once it has been filled with beer until leaving the necessary space for the cream, the tap is closed.

    Now we have a full glass of beer with no or almost no foam. To complete it with the cream, it can be done in two ways depending on the type of tap. There are taps that have a double lever, and when you push the handle forward, the tap dispenses a jet of cream instead of beer. If you do not have these taps, you can achieve the same effect with a normal tap by slowly opening the handle until you get a completely white and fine jet, more or less in the middle of the opening.

    To finish, then, we remove the glass from the spout, we calculate the opening of the tap so that the cream comes out, and once we have it, we place the glass again under the spout. The glass is at first slightly tilted and very close to the spout, but not touching it. Slowly straighten the glass until it is completely filled with the cream. In case some foam has formed, it will be distinguished because its bubbles are thicker and its color is a little darker than cream. In this case, we continue to pour cream, which by density will be placed below the foam, until it pushes all the thick bubbles out of the glass.

    When the glass is full of beer with a layer of cream, the tap is closed and we can place the beer on a surface.

    Hospitality service to customers

    If the beer service is performed by a hotelier for a customer, a few extra steps must be taken. Beers served from the bottle or can must be opened in front of the customer, the sound is pleasant and thus gives the guarantee that the container has just been opened. It also previously ensures that the variety of beer to be served is the one chosen by the consumer.

    Se vierte la cerveza delante del cliente como se ha indicado anteriormente y, al finalizar, se coloca tanto el vaso de cerveza como el envase sobre una superficie, para que el cliente pueda consultar cualquier información que desee. Es muy recomendable colocar siempre posavasos cuando la vajilla se pone sobre una superficie que no cuenta con mantel o tapete, ya que de lo contrario se formarán charcos que pueden manchar y mojar a los consumidores.

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    This work is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

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