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.

Remember to always drink responsibly! Cheers!

Written By: Aubree Winkles, Stein Employee