Beer is the oldest fermented beverage worldwide, but many people actually have no clue how to drink it appropriately. It is necessary to choose a brew that fits your taste and pair it with adequate food for a start. Then, you need to serve it at the right temperature and in a suitable glass or mug.
The worst things are usual misconceptions about pouring, serving, drinking, and storing beer that many beer drinkers uncritically accept. Therefore, start with choosing your favorite brew type and learn how to drink beer. Let’s go!
How To Drink Beer?
1. Choose the right beer
Nowadays, you can find numerous beer varieties, so you can choose the one that you prefer. The most common types include:
Ale beer – This type that ferments quickly is a bit sweet and recognizable for robust fruity flavor and fuller-body. You can recognize it thanks to a dark, cloudy appearance and a higher percentage of alcohol.
If you prefer bitter variations, you can order Indian Pale Ale. For real beer lovers, there is also a tripel, very strong pale ale. Since it is a multiple fermented brews, you should be careful. It can knock you off the feet quickly!
Porter beer – It is my favorite beer type and so dark that you can’t see anything through it. Grab a glass of Guinness and spend an unforgettable night.
Stout beer – It is ale’s big brother. It is dark and creamy, with seductive chocolate and coffee taste.
Bitter beer – This British ale is well known for a deep bronze appearance and a bitter, well-hopped flavor. It is always more profound than an IPA. You can pick out any of a few categories.
Wheat beer – This ale has a light and slightly hazy look with a unique clove, apple, banana, or spicy taste. It is never bitter, so bartenders often serve it with a lemon wedge.
Lager beer – This light, clear beer has sweet, crisp, and smooth flavor thanks to slow fermentation and treatment at lower temperatures. It always has a low alcohol level. If you like this taste, you should choose any beer type from this group, like Vienna lager, pilsner, marzens, and bock.
2. Complement meal with the right beer
Like wine, a particular beer pairs with a specific food. Always drink light beer with fish and salads but choose dark brew when eating heavy food and red meat. Beer with caramel, coffee, or cocoa taste goes best with a smoke-flavored food like barbecue.
Hoppy brew will pair perfectly with salmon, fried food, and pizza, while sweet beer with a fruity note is an excellent option when consuming cheese, bruschetta, or grape.
When you visit a region with local breweries, you should pair regional food with their beers.
3. Choose the right glass
You can drink beer from a plastic cup, but you should be aware that you deserve the whole experience. Therefore, always choose an adequately shaped glass or mug made of natural materials.
Mug – It is a preferable option for:
- Smoked beer
- English Stout
- English and American Porters
- Red, brown, black, and blonde American Ale
Pint glass – It is the right choice for low alcohol beers like:
- American Ale
- Mild English Ale
- English Bitter Ale
- Pale Ale
- Cream Ale
- Dark Lager
- Dark Stout
Goblet – This a bit extravagant glass is the best option for enjoying:
- Belgian IPA
- Berliner Weissbier
- Strong Dark Ales
- Quadruple beer
- Tripel beer
Tulip glass – This glass is a stylish option for drinking:
- American Black Ale
- American Imperial Red Ale
- Belgian Blonde Ale
- Flanders Red Ale
- Fruit beer
- Spiced beer
Pilsner glass – You should ask for this particular glass when ordering:
- Vienna Lager
- Euro dark and strong lager
- Pale and red lager
- Doppelbock beer
- Japanese lager
- American malt liquor
Weizen glass – This elegant glass is intended for stylish beers like:
- Weizen (white) beer
- Pale Wheat Ale
- Dark Wheat Ale
Beer stein – This traditional, ornamental stoneware beer mug of 17 to 34 ounces (0.5 – 1 l) is usually a souvenir nowadays. However, you can drink German-style Willi Becher from it when visiting Oktoberfest.
Stange glass – It is an unavoidable glass of 6 to 7 ounces (0.18 – 0.2 l) for serving traditional Kolsch beer.
4. Pour beer the right way
In general, brews with a higher alcohol percentage require higher storing temperatures. So, you should choose dark ale, barleywine, or tripel stored at 50 to 60 F (10 – 15.5 C) or lighter pilsner, lager, and wheat beer kept at 45 to 50 F (7 – 10 C).
Pick out the clean glass of the right size and shape. A dirty one will negatively impact beer taste and aroma. Always start pouring beer down the glass’s side at a 45-degree angle and from the high of at least 0.8 to 1.2 inches (2 – 3 cm).
Then, start leveling the glass slowly, when it becomes half-full, to minimizes the created head. Wait for the formed foam to settle a bit before filling it to 3/4 of its height.
Some bartenders believe in a double-pour method as a way to increase beer’s aroma. It is an excellent method of pouring Guinness. First, pour the glass half-full until a large head accumulates. Then, let it slightly dissipate and pour beer once again while getting 1 to 1.5 inches (2.5 – 3.8 cm) of the head in total.
5. Test beer the right way
- Look at beer
Start the process by taking a look at a chosen brew. Check body and color, and if the head is creamy, foamy, or disappears quickly. Then, swirl the beer a bit around a glass, feel the way it releases aroma and fragrance and keeps the head.
- Smell the beer
Take the whiff through the nose and determine if beer offers fruity, chocolate, or bread sense. Then, take the second whiff through the mouth to confirm that this feeling stays unchanged. One more thing! Always check if the second swirling intensifies the smell or it disappears.
- Taste the beer
Take the first sip, but never swallow it immediately. Let it sit in your mouth and try to feel its flavor on the palate. In a high-quality beer, the flavors won’t mix and clash but integrate.
After breathing out, try to detect possible salty or sweet flavors that change or disappear while beer warms inside your mouth. Swallow the first sip and repeat the procedure repeatedly to see all the changes over time.
6. Expected aromas
The beer aroma varies depending on the style you choose to taste, and you can expect to feel:
- Lager – A slight citrus hops tang and a bit of bready malt.
- IPA – Hop characteristics include citrus, passionfruit, flowers, pine, sea spray, cut grass, cream cheese, or even disgusting ones like sweaty socks and cat pee.
- Malt-driven beer – It will caress your senses with fresh biscuits, toast, chocolate, coffee, and raisins aromas with a hint of smoke, leather, or tobacco.
- Yeast-driven beer – It offers banana, orange zest, cloves, coriander, or bubblegum taste.
7. Rule of thumb
Remember that you never leave the beer to become warm and stale. Once you open a can or bottle, drink your beer without much pause.
Often Mistakes While Drinking Beer
If you want to be the right beer lover and connoisseur, you should avoid making common rookie mistakes.
8. Frosting the glass
Contrary to what you have heard, the frosty glass won’t enhance the beer taste and improve your drinking experience. In fact, the frozen glass will cause the beer to foam and destroy its aroma and carbonation. Always drink your favorite beverage from the glass or mug kept at room temperature.
9. Drinking ice-cold beer
You can’t feel the full beer taste if you drink it too cold. A real connoisseur will serve it just above room temperature. Therefore, you should take a bottle or can away from the fridge and let it sit on the countertop for at least ten minutes before drinking.
That way, you will allow releasing typical brew flavors and aromas. Moreover, some English beers are served warm, at 50 F (10 C).
10. Leaving beer in sunlight
If you don’t want to discover what skunked beer looks like, you should avoid letting a can or bottle sit in the sunlight. It will start smelling and taking an unpleasant taste after a while.
11. Storing beer too long
Leaving beer in the fridge for an extended period will negatively affect its aroma and taste. The primary reason is that many beers age quickly. Some dark or high-alcohol level beers age well, but you should expect the top quality only a short period after leaving the brewery.
12. Ignoring numbers
Most beer types have a high percentage of alcohol, so you should think about that before taking a bottle. It is OK to enjoy the one of 10% alcohol if you prefer that way, but it needs to be your choice. If you like draft beer, you should always ask the bartender about the particular beer’s ABV (alcohol by volume).
What else can I tell you? Avoid drinking rounds and shots and learn to say NO when necessary. Set your limits and have a good time. That is all wisdom and the point of drinking beer. Cheers!