Proper serving of draft beer is intended to have a “controlled” release of carbonation to give a better tasting and sensory experience. The evolution of CO2 gas during pouring builds the foam head and releases desirable flavors and aromas.


  1. Hold glass at a 45º angle, open faucet fully.
  2. Gradually tilt glass upright once beer has reached about the halfway point in the glass.
  3. Pour beer straight down into the glass, working the glass to form a one-inch collar of foam (“head”). This is for visual appeal as well as carbonation release.
  4. Close faucet quickly to avoid wasteful overflow.

Pouring Hygiene

  • In no instance should a faucet nozzle touch the inside of the glass.
    • Nozzles can cause glassware breakage; nozzles can transfer contamination from dried beer to glassware.
  • In no instance should the faucet nozzle become immersed in the consumer’s beer.
    • Nozzles dipped in beer become a breeding ground for microorganisms.
  • Importance of one-inch foam collar:
    • While retailers struggle with customers who demand their beer “filled to the rim,” brewers prefer beer poured with about a one-inch collar of foam (“head”).
    • A one-inch head maximizes retailer profit, as foam is 25% beer. Filling glass to the rim is over-pouring.
    • A proper head on a draft beer delivers the total sensory experience, including the following sensory benefits:
      • Visual appeal of a good pour
      • Aromatic volatiles in beer released
      • Palate-cleansing effect of carbonation enhanced
  • Textural and sensorial qualities of beer better presented to consumer

Free-Flow Pouring

  • Beer pours best from a fully open faucet.
  • To control the faucet during operation, hold the handle firmly at the base.
  • Partially open faucets cause inefficiency and poor quality, namely:
    • Turbulent flow
    • Excessive foaming
    • Waste (inefficiency)

All content has been adapted from the Brewer’s Association Draft Beer quality manual.