Tuesday, June 9, 2009

How to Properly Drink a Beer

While it seems like a simple enough chore, you'd be surprised how many people screw up the task of prepping a standard beer. I'm not talking about the gallons of beer you think you can consume in a keg stand with all your (imaginary) friends cheering you on. I'm talking about the hearty beer you have when you come into a warm pub on a dark and snowy night. I'm talking about that thirst-killing, chilled beer you enjoy on a restaurant terrace on the day when thermometers start sweating. Those are the beers for which you take every measure to fully enjoy. Here are some tips of which you might not hav known that'll ensure you get the most out of your beer.


Before we get into the serving part, we have to discuss you handling your beer. While beer is the hearty drink of men, as an alcohol it’s very sensitive. There are very strict precautions that need to taken in order to fully enjoy the drinking experience. Beer easily degrades in quality from every factor imaginable. Beer needs to be treated like a hemophiliac; limit shaking, light, heat, sudden cold, dust.

Light Exposure
Minimize your beer's exposure to light. Beer is in a brown bottle to reduce the light getting in. Corona's clear bottle is purely aesthetic since it allows more light to get it and potentially skunk your beer faster. Be extra careful with the clear ones.


Go easy on the speed bumps as you and your man-date, Craig, blaze through 5th avenue in your Jetta. Unlike Craig, the beer doesn't appreciate being jerked around. The last thing you want is your beer to go flat within 30 seconds of opening.

Cool Storage

Different beers are best served at different temperatures. Your lighter pale ales will be fine on a cellar floor. Spicier, darker stouts are served at room temperature so that you can fully appreciate all the aromas. Making the beer as cold as possible just dulls all the flavors by numbing your palate and inhibiting aroma. While that may be cool for the frat party you'll never remember, it's not favorable when sampling a quality beer.


Choosing the proper glassware for your beer is the first crucial step. Not all beers are best flaunted in the same glass. Firstly, make sure the glass is super clean and free from any settled dust. Any impurities will make the beer go flat faster as well as degrade the flavor.

Pilsner, flute - Tall & slender. Best for light ales. Slim shape holds a head as well as carbon dioxide

Pint Glass, chalice, goblet, tulip - Wide & Tall. Best for dark beers. Large surface allows for a better palate spread and aromas


A lot of bars will serve you your beer in a chilled glass and you, being a novice drinker, don’t know that a sudden change in temperature will “shock” your beer. If you’re planning on enjoying a quality ale, colder seldom means better. Under 11 degrees, the flavors of your beer get dulled out. The myth of the cold, refreshing, quality beer was most probably created by commercial beer companies who tried to find a way of reducing the quantity of ingredients without their clientele noticing.

When pouring from a tap, hold the glass straight until a nice little head forms. The second it does, tilt your glass 45 degrees to allow the beer being poured in to slide under the head you created.

Should you be served a bottle and a glass, never simply opt to drink from the bottle because it's "more comfortable." Firstly, your bottled beer was meant to be poured out. It's over carbonated in the bottle. Drinking it straight won't allow you to enjoy the proper flavor of your beer. It'll also cause you to be quite gassy because due to the excess carbon dioxide. It's especially important to make good use of your glass when you have a very large bottle of beer. The constant up and down of the bottle will give you a very flat 2nd half of a beer. Instead, fill your glass and let the large bottle sit still so as not to encourage unneeded fizz release.

Mixing beer

I don’t assume that, when you buy beer, you’re buying a case of imports. I know you and your frat buddies are getting two-fours of Coors Light, Budweiser and Labatt Bleue. What happens when the ladies (or the effeminate men of Phi Alpha Gamma) come over? How do you make your commercial beers enjoyable to people not downing them in a keg stand? Making beer cocktails is quite easy since the preparation is minimal and the results are quite novel.

Fuzzy Peach – Add a shot of peach schnapps to your light beer
Beer Buster – Add a shot of vodka and a few dashes of Tabasco
Mexicano – Add tawny or dark tequila to your Corona
Boiler Maker - Add a shot of whiskey to your Amber Ale
Black Velvet - Add a 2 shots of cider to your Guinness 

The rest is up to you. Drink slowly, try to enjoy every aspect of the beer. Let it hit all your taste buds, your palate and pay attention to the aftertaste. Happy drinking, Sucka.