How to Pour a Beer: 6 Ways

by Dane Wilson | Last Updated: January 23, 2023

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If you thought cracking open a can and pouring it into a chilled glass was the limit of pouring beer, you have another thing coming. Knowing how to pour a beer the correct way has benefits. You get a better tasting experience, one that is balanced and crisp. So if you are looking to level up your beer pouring skills, here is how to pour a beer in 6 different ways.

Table of Contents

how to pour a beer

How to Pour a Beer From Tap: The Professional Method

Though this mainly applies to pouring a beer from tap, you can also apply this perfect pour method to bottles and cans. Here are the steps:

  1. Grab a clean glass. Pouring a decent brew starts with a glass that is clean, without any remnants of dish soap or alcohol to disrupt the foam. Never waste your beer on a dirty cup.
  2. Tilt your glass 45-degrees. When you pour, the beer should slide gently down the slope of the glass. This prevents too much head from forming. If you pour vertically from the beginning, the foam will be out of control.
  3. Continue pouring until the glass is about halfway to two-thirds full.
  4. Shift the glass to vertical. While pouring, bring the glass straight up, letting the beer go down the center. Keep pouring until you near the top of the class. If done correctly, the head will be around 0.5 to 1.5 inches thick.

Why You Should Include The Foam

Before continuing on, it’s important to mention the function of a beer head. Some people do not like the foam that forms on a beer. Others are in love with it. Whichever club you’re in, you need at least a little head on your beer. Without a head, your beer will have no flavor; it will taste flat.

That is why the 45-degree angle is a significant step in any pouring method. You minimize the formation of a thick head while still giving your beer just enough to enhance the flavor. The foam will dissipate over time if you let the beer sit.

Also, if you happen to pour beer without a head, it often means it has gone past the expiration date. (You should read up on whether you should drink bad beer.)

How to Pour a Guinness Beer

A Guinness beer is unique, because it is made with nitrogen, not carbon dioxide. As such, it may not behave the way a regular domestic beer would. Keep that in mind as you follow the steps below:

  1. Use a glass designed for Guinness beer. Yes, a Guinness glass is essential. It must be clean, without any residue on the walls.
  2. Tilt the glass to 45-degrees when initiating the pour from a Guinness tap, bottle, or can.
  3. While pouring, continue tilting the glass as it fills, slowly bringing the top of the glass up.
  4. End your pour on the harp in the Guinness logo.
  5. Let your Guinness beer rest for a little while. This gives the beer some time to settle (Guinness says to wait about 2 minutes), allowing for that rich black color to develop fully. Once it has, bottom’s up!

Check out this video from an Irish pub on how to pour a Guinness properly:

How to Pour a Nitro Beer

As mentioned above, nitro beer is made differently than carbonated beer. The nitrogen involved changes how it behaves, as well as its consistency. The pour time is also slightly longer than regular carbonated beer.

While Guinness is the most famous nitro beer around, there are others out there that you may come across. The good news is that, once you have mastered the Guinness pour, you know how to pour a nitro beer. Remember, the key is the 45-degree angle.

You can potentially pour at a 45-degree angle until the glass is about two-thirds of the way full. If any foam begins to develop, do not level the glass. Instead, wait for the foam to disappear before leveling the glass and finishing the pour. This is different from Guinness, where you let the foam settle after completing the pour.

Why is this rest period important? The foam vanishes, leaving behind that silky nitro beer texture people love.

How to Pour a Beer From a Can

Can you produce the same effect of pouring a beer from the tap into a glass when pouring from a can? You can! Knowing how to pour a beer all comes down to that magical number: 45.

Yes, even for cans, you want to tilt your glass to a 45-degree angle, pouring the beer down the side. As the beer reaches the center of the glass, begin straightening the glass to a level position before continuing the pour.

If you treat even a cheap can of beer like you are a wine sommelier, you can make the brew taste better. It’s the angle and the measured pouring that gives beer its flavors.

How to Pour a Beer According to Its Type

Return to our wine analogy for a moment. Do you know how different wines call for different glasses and pour styles? Well, the same is true for beer. While all beers are poured at a 45-degree for the first half or two-thirds of the glass, some of them have techniques that help bring out the flavor.

Take, for instance, a sour, gose, or triple IPA. These beers taste amazing when enjoyed from a snifter, because they have aromas. When pouring, you aim for that 45-degree angle with the glass but start off by bringing the can or bottle almost perpendicular to the rim. Slowly tilt the beer into the glass, letting the first bit swirl into the belly of the snifter. Start to straighten as the snifter gets more full. Do not level the glass too quickly, as the beer will splash around.

Another option is embracing the German pour when drinking German beers. Germans love a good head on their beer—hence the three finger rule. When pouring a German wheat beer, you may notice that some Germans will hold the weissbier glass almost horizontal to the bottle. They stick the bottle’s neck into the glass then tilt the bottle up. The tip of the bottle will be in the liquid as you pour very, very slowly. Once the glass is two-thirds full, the bottle comes out. Continue pouring the remainder in more quickly to develop that thick head of foam.

But the last thing Germans do? They keep just a little beer in the bottle to break up any yeast deposits. They will roll the bottle around or give it a roll across the table before pouring the yeast on top of the beer.

Here’s a slightly different take:

The Magic of Proper Pouring

There you have it—how to pour a beer in 6 different ways! Just remember the magic number of 45-degrees whenever you start pouring. Once you go two-thirds of the way up the glass, slowly tilt it to straight and continue the pour. That limits an explosion of foam, giving you a balanced beer that you can sip responsibly! Now go and impress your friends with your pouring skills.


What is the correct way to pour a beer?

The correct method for pouring beer is to hold the glass at a 45-degree angle until the beer reaches the midway point of the glass. Then turn the glass upright, letting the beer come down the center. That ensures that you get just enough head.

Should you pour beer with foam?

Yes, you should pour a beer with foam, because it is part of the beer drinking experience. That said, if you are someone who does not enjoy foam, hold your glass at a 45-degree angle during the first half. Hold the glass upright for the latter half of the pour. That will give you around 0.5-1 inch of head.

Should you pour a beer fast or slow?

Beer should be poured slowly. Pouring beer too fast can upset the balance of the brew and take away from the flavors.