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How to best serve craft beers

Diana De Cicco is a food editor and writer based in New York City. She has a master's degree from New York University in Food Studies. Her passions are eating, traveling, and eating while traveling.

SIP AND SAVOR

Have you ever wondered if beer from a tap is truly better than brew straight from the bottle? Did you know that different types of craft beers actually taste better in different types of glasses or mugs? There is a method to serving beer. Here are some guidelines in getting the best tastes from your favorite brews.

Craft-beer

TAP VERSUS BOTTLE

When you order a beer at a pub or restaurant, it often comes from the tap. Many establishments will have a number of beers on tap and then a range of other chilled craft brews in bottles. Does it really make a difference? The answer is yes! Depending on the pub or eatery.

Typically, beer from the tap is fresher, has a better head when poured and generally tastes better than bottled beer. However, if you are at an establishment that is not frequented by a lot of people (or craft beer drinkers), then the beer in the tap might be stale. Bottled beers can be just as fresh, but if the establishment has a long list of bottles and not a lot of brew drinkers, there is a chance your choice could be old. Ask the bartender or waitperson for the freshest brew choices – on tap or bottled.

Consider your surroundings when deciding between tap and bottled – if you are at a reputable brewpub or restaurant, either choice will likely be right on.

The Glass

Just as different types of wine are best served in different types of glasses, the kind of glass in which you serve beer is just as important.

As a rule, beer should be poured out of its bottle (or from tap) before serving. It is not recommended to drink beer straight from a bottle – pouring it into a glass will bring its full flavor to fruition. Glasses that are deep or curved inwards towards the top are ideal. Even a pint glass or a red wine glass will do the trick. Here is a list of beer glasses to best enhance the flavors of your craft beers.
  • Pilsners and Belgian fruit ales should be served in beer flutes, similar to champagne flutes.
  • English ales and bitters should be served in dimpled pint mugs.
  • Goblets are perfect for Trappist ales.
  • Pint glasses are great for stouts.
  • Wheat beers should be served in tall thick glasses.
  • Ales should be served in deep, tulip shaped glasses.

The most important thing about buying, trying and serving beer is that it is fun! Taste-test the many types to find the beers that are most appealing to you. And don't let the serving method stress you out, if it tastes good, then sit back, sip and savor.

For more information on craft-beers, visit these links:

Craft beer basics

Tips to buying and trying craft beers

TrueBeer's Beer Glasses and Beerware

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