Not so long ago, ‘beer’ usually meant any light lager, served at “whatever” temperature, out of any glass/can/cup within reach. Today, due to the legions of innovative craft brewers, we now have a wide array of flavors, alcohol contents and varieties to choose from, rivaling that of the wine and spirits choices.

There is so much to learn about beer styles, food pairings and proper serving techniques that in recent years the Craft Beer Institute launched a beer sommelier certification program. (The knowledge offered is much like that taught to wine sommeliers.) Successfully serving beer is paying attention to the “Big Three”. (Due to space restrictions, your favorite Beer of the Month Club is limited to the following abbreviated info.)

1) The Glassware: Match the size of the glass to the strength of the beer. For amber ales, the typical straight sided American “shaker” glass is fine. Serving a more bitter barley beverage with higher alcohol content and a bigger flavor warrants a small snifter, which traps the aroma. (A big glass of barley brew is too large a serving.)

Rule to Live By: A glass that curves inward helps concentrate aromas.

The classic coneshaped “pilsner flute” is tall, tapered, and provides excellent support for cream ale foam.

2) Pour It: Don’t tilt the glass!! Instead, pour some, let the head foam up and settle, then pour more. A good glass may take three pours, keeping the head while reducing the carbonation that can cause that ‘full’ feeling.

3) Serving Temperature: Lagers should be served cooler than ales. Strong, dark beers are served warmer than light brews. [Lagers, 35-38°. English beers, 50°. IPAs and Porters, 50-55°.] Refer to your craft beer labels, as many contain recommended serving temps for that particular beer. (But never serve craft beer in flavor-killing aroma-trapping frozen mugs!)


Don’t forget to check out our Beer of the Month Club for great tasting craft beer!

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