Craft Beer

Beer Q&A: What’s the best way to drink beer?

A San Diego Pale Ale .394 is poured at AleSmith Brewing Company.
SAN DIEGO, CA, OCTOBER 8, 2015 | A San Diego Pale Ale .394 is poured at AleSmith Brewing Company in San Diego on Thursday. | Photo by Hayne Palmour IV/San Diego Union-Tribune
(Hayne Palmour IV / San Diego Union-Tribune)

Q: “Should you drink beer straight out of a can or bottle, or is it best to pout into a pint glass?”

A: The bottom line: beer is best however you like it. Enjoy slurping saisons from soup tureens? Be my guest.


Beer’s flavor is determined by your mouth and your nose. Ideally, you want a vessel that allows the beer to breathe and focuses its aromas.


Swigged directly from a bottle, the flavors in more complex beers — from fruity, vinuous IPAs to roasty porters — are flattened. This isn’t a problem with a straight-forward Mexican lager or a chilled German kölsch, but it’s worth considering when serving beers with more dimensions.

Some cans provide a wider mouth, allowing you to inhale a beer’s bouquet. Mike Hess Brewery’s beers come in “Open Mike” cans, so called because the entire top pops off.

Nonetheless, glasses are favored for most beers. A mug, chalice or pint glass shows off a pale ale’s warm copper tones, say, or an Irish stout’s cascading bubbles. Beyond adding visual appeal, the proper glass will enhance a beer’s olfactory pleasures.



Still partial to tureens? Hey, it’s your beer.

To read more from Peter Rowe’s weekly beer column, go here.

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