Is all that foam just there to rip me off?
No! As I’ve said before, it’s not only perfectly acceptable to serve beer with an inch to an inch and a half of head, it’s considered good service! Foam (or head) helps deliver beer’s aromas, and it can play a part in mouthfeel and flavor as you take in a little bit with each sip. If anything, lack of head can mean that the glass you’re being served is dirty or improperly washed.
If you’re still not convinced, just remember that most glassware intended for serving beer has an extra half ounce or ounce built in to accommodate head (which is especially true for hefeweizen and wheat beer glasses you’ve probably had at a German beer hall).
Why is some beer warm and some cold?
It comes down to aromatics and flavors. The colder a beer is served, the less its flavors and aromas are going to come out. This is why most macro-lagers are served super, super cold. Your English cask ales or Belgian dubbels, on the other hand, are served much warmer so that you’ll be able to taste every little flavor and smell every bit of aroma (this is part of the reason why the British make so much fun of Americans for drinking beer that’s so cold). There are entire charts devoted to perfect drinking temperatures for each style, but I’m a firm believer that warmer beer is an acquired taste and isn’t always something you can dive right into. Each beer can be different, but you can test it by taking bottles out of the fridge and letting them stand at room temperature for five to 10 minutes before drinking it.