Idaho's Top Distributor of Fine Brews

The Beer Necessities: Post 1 of 3 - The Importance of Beer Foam

A Three-Part Blog Series Covering the Importance of Beer Foam, Choosing the Appropriate Glassware and How to Properly Pour a Beer




If you’ve ever poured a beer into a glass, you’ve noticed the foam that forms at the top. This is known as the head of the beer, it in fact, serves a purpose. It can entirely affect the taste of the beer and even how you feel while and after drinking it. After reading this blog post, you might think twice about whether you’re enjoying your beer to its full potential.

The head of a beer is formed by carbon dioxide (CO2) bubbles floating to the surface. It is through the fermentation process that the CO2 occurs. It is also sometimes added manually by the brewer if it doesn’t come about naturally.  The quality of the foam is the result of many different components: the ingredients used in the beer, how it was brewed, the level of carbonation, how the beer was poured, and the glass being used. The quality can also depend of the style of beer. Hefeweizens produce more impressive heads of foam while high-alcohol beers, like imperial stouts or barley wines, have much less head since alcohol inhibits foam formation. It is somewhere between these two extremes where the majority of ales and lagers fall.

Research shows that food and drink are primarily identified by the senses of smell and sight, not taste. Smell comes from the mouth, even though there are no cells there responsible for detecting scents. This is important to know, according to Dana Small, a neuroscientist at the Yale School of Medicine. Once an odor is experienced along with a flavor, the two become associated; thus, smell influences taste and taste influences smell. So, the head, having trapped all the aromas of the ingredients, can make a notable difference in the way you perceive the taste of beer. Simply put, if your beer is missing the foam, you’re missing out on the flavor.

Next time you reach for a beer consider pouring it into a glass and allowing it to form a head, so you can experience it to its full potential. When properly poured, your beer should have half an inch to an inch and a half of head. Take a couple deep whiffs and notice the complex aromas. If you allow the head to coat your tongue while drinking, you’re going to notice more flavors than ever before. The more you begin to pay attention to the head of your beer the more familiar with its benefits you’ll become.

Here’s one last fun fact: Have you ever felt bloated while or after drinking beer? Odds are, that’s because you didn’t allow the CO2 to release while it was being poured. This is typically due to not pouring your beer at all, instead, drinking it out of a can or bottle. Not pouring your beer in a glass and allowing it to foam will lead to the CO2 releasing in the stomach after it’s been consumed. This is what causes major bloating and even stomach cramping at times.

Keep a close eye on our blog for parts two and three of this series, Choosing the Appropriate Glassware and How to Pour the Perfect Beer. All three of these topics intertwine and will greatly affect how much you savor your beverage. Blog two to be posted on December 7th.

Remember to always drink responsibly! Cheers!

Written By: Aubree Winkles, Stein Employee





Posted In: General

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Posted In: General

Understanding the Beer Basics

Image: Australian Liquor Suppliers

Surprisingly, choosing the right beer for an occasion isn’t always the easiest decision. When given the choice between a craft brew, domestic beer and an imported beer, the sheer number of choices can be both exciting and intimidating. It isn’t uncommon for people to ask themselves, what IS a craft brew? Or what is the difference between a craft brew, a domestic beer and an imported beer? How do ABV, IBU’s and SRM come into play and how can they help me in selecting the right beer for me? We have answers!

A domestic beer is the most common beer you’ll find in America. It is made in much larger batches than craft beer when brewed. Many times, when you go to a bar for happy hour you will see domestic beers at a special price. Budweiser, for example, is a major domestic brewery. Anheuser-Busch produces millions of barrels of beer a year; 40 million of which are Budweiser alone. All domestic beers are made in the United States.

An import beer is simply any beer that is not crafted in the United States.

A craft brew is a term used by many brewers to describe a modern style of beer in cask, keg or bottle. Craft beer has grown in popularity in the past decade, giving brewers creative license to produce new and innovative styles. The more traditional styles of craft include IPA, Pale Ale, Porter & Stout.

When it comes to categorizing beer whether it be a domestic beer, import beer or craft brew, there are three quantitative measures that can be utilized. These are IBU, ABV and SRM. IBU and ABV are almost always listed on a bottle’s label and are great tools to use when choosing the right beer for you. I’ll go into detail about what each acronym means below.

IBU- “International Bittering Units” measures, you got it, the bitterness of the beer. The bitterness comes from the hops used during the brewing process. Beers generally range from 0 IBU to 100 IBU; 100 IBU having the most bitter taste. Here is a general guide to understanding the scale. This can help you choose your beer if you have a general idea of how much bitterness you can stand. (Next time you try a bottle or can of beer you enjoy, check the label for the IBU percentage so you know around what number your taste preference falls near.)

Image: Beeriety

ABV- “Alcohol by Volume” is an indicator of how strong a beer is, or more specifically, the entire volume of the liquid that is alcohol. The percentage you see on bottles lets you know how much of your beer is alcohol and how much of it is other ingredients, such as water, barley and hops. Beer can range anywhere from 2% to 12% ABV, though you’ll generally find it in the 4%-6% range. Below is an easy-to-reference chart to help your understanding.

Image: Unknown Source

SRM – “Standard Reference Method” is a measurement system that identifies the intensity of beer color. The higher the number, the darker the beer. It’s the water, hops, malted grain and yeast that all work together to brew a perfect beer. But when it comes down to the color of the beer, the malted grain is what has the most significant effect on it.  The color you see is due to the chemical reactions of the malted barley. It’s important to note that any color of beer can be any ABV, beer color does not affect the alcohol content of the beverage. But knowing the SRM of beers can tell you the category the beer falls under, for example a pale straw color of beer would be categorized as a Pilsner. See charts below for more examples.



While domestic beers, import beers and craft brews all are different by definition, they are all categorized by the same three quantitative measures. IBU judges the bitterness of the beer, ABV measures the volume of alcohol and SRM identifies the intensity of beer color. Hopefully this post will help you next time you’re buying beer for any sort of occasion. Remember to note the IBU of a beer you enjoy, that way you can reference the IBU of other beers when shopping for the right selection! Another important note, color can hint you towards the right taste but does not necessarily indicate the ABV of the beer. So, it’s important to always look at the actual strength or alcohol content when selecting a type of brew. If you’re still in doubt, don’t hesitate to ask someone! While everyone has different taste, they can steer you in the right direction of how bitter a beer is or simply find something relative to the flavor you’re looking for. There’s always a beer for every occasion and, following our quick guide, you’re bound to find something that works for you. Good luck and remember to drink responsibly! Cheers!


Written By: Aubree Winkles, Stein Employee


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Posted In: General
Today is January 16, 2019

Idaho's Top Distributor of Fine Brews

Stein Distributing Company, Inc. is a beverage wholesaler of beer, specialty malt beverages and specialty wine products. We service an area that covers over 30.000 square miles in 10.5 counties with a population of over 700,000 people.


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