Cracking open a brewski and pouring it into a glass is certainly simpler than shaking up a cocktail, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need some modicum of skill. To get the most out of your beer, you have to know which glass to use and the right way to pour it. To help make your beer drinking experience even better, we sat down with Cara Mahon-Stryker of Brooklyn’s Lantern Hall to get some pro tips on glassware and technique. Here, your cheat sheet for how to pour every type of beer, and which glasses to pour it into.
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Glass: Pint Glass
For your not-super-aromatic beers, always opt for a pint glass, the large mouth of which allows you to gulp down the easy-drinking brew with no fear of missing out on any nuanced aromas. To pour, hold the glass at a 45-degree angle and let ‘er rip—gently, of course. As you near the end of the beer, start to straighten out the glass so you generate a decent amount of head. Whatever you do, don’t pour straight down into the glass. As Mahon-Stryker says, “you’ll get a beer that’s 75 percent foam and 2 percent that you can actually drink.” We’re not sure what makes up the other 23 percent, but it’s better not to find out and just pour the right way.
Glass: Mug or Pint Glass
A mug is just like a pint glass—only easier to hold onto. The sturdy glass is perfect for holding a sturdy beer like a stout and getting the most out of its creamy, foamy head. If you’re pouring a particularly thick beer like a Guinness, pour at the same 45-degree angle as the beers mentioned above, but only until the mug or glass is about halfway filled with a cloudy, white liquid. Set the beer down and allow it to settle until the beer turns back to its signature dark color. Then continue to pour as you would a lager or an IPA at a 45-degree angle, gently straightening the beer as your reach the top.
Sour/Gose/Double or Triple IPA
“Most people think snifters are for brandies, but they work equally well for beer,” Mahon-Stryker says. She uses snifters for particularly aromatic beers like sours, goses or double and triple IPAs. The wide belly allows the beer to open up and release its rich aromas, while the narrow opening concentrates those yummy smells and serves them up directly to your nose holes. To pour, hold the glass at a 45-degree angle with the bottle perpendicular to the rim, letting the beer slowly swirl its way in. Slowly straighten the glass as you pour—go too fast and the beer will splash out of the glass. “You want to drink the beer, you don’t want to pour it everywhere,” Mahon-Stryker says.
Glass: Pilsner Glass
Tall and thin with a narrow mouth, the pilsner glass is, unsurprisingly, meant for pilsners. “Pilsners always smell great,” Mahon-Stryker says. “And the tall glass lets you see all the carbonation.” In order to encourage as much head as possible, hold the glass almost horizontally, in line with the bottle. Pour until it looks like the beer is reaching the tip of the glass, then slowly turn the glass upright. “You want to get about a half inch to an inch of head,” Mahon-Stryker says. “Typically the head on a pilsner goes away really fast, so you want to start with a lot, so you can get as much of the aromatics as you can.”
Glass: Cider Glass or Pint Glass
While a pint glass works perfectly well for ciders, true cider enthusiasts should invest in a cider glass, one of the drinking world’s newest dedicated vessels. “The shape allows for the carbonation to form at the bottom and then settle in the center,” Mahon-Stryker says. Plus, the glass just looks really cool. Pour as you would a lager or an IPA—steady and constant. Then, if you’re a pro like Mahon-Stryker, splash in an ounce or so of whiskey. “It tastes really good,” she says. She’s the expert. Who are we to disobey orders?