Next time you’re out at a bar, or perhaps a sporting event, keep a close eye on how the bartender pours your beer. It’s extremely rare to find a place that actually knows what they’re doing. Then there are some places that purposely pour a beer so they can save a few extra bucks out of each keg. For the most part, however, it is both the customer, and the bar owners, that are being cheated. I’ll explain why.

The Power Pour

This is the result of a bartender not knowing what they are doing. We’ve all seen this. They tip the glass at a 45 degree angle, pull the tap as hard as possible, and it looks like your glass is a volcano. Literally mountains of foam pour out of the glass until the bartender thinks there is a good amount of liquid beer. This doesn’t necessarily affect you as much as it does the owner of the bar. Think about how much is being wasted. If every beer out of a keg was poured in this fashion, at least a third of the keg was wasted. That adds up quickly, especially at a popular bar.

The Pansy Pour

When a bar owner is a cheap jerk, they’ll tell their bartenders to pour this way. Imagine you order a pint of beer. The bartender will fill the glass about 2/3 or 3/4 of the way, and then force the rest to be filled with foam. The clever ones will make the foam go over the edge to make it appear like an over-filled glass. This is the one that makes me the most angry. An extra 30 or so pints can be poured when using this method. That’s over 100 extra dollars going into the owners pocket. Don’t let this happen!

The Baseball Pour

This one is popular at sporting events, but happens at normal bars and restaurants too. Basically what this is, is a beer filled to the top without any foam at all. The foam is essential for holding in volatiles that make up a beer’s smell and taste. That means you’re getting a somewhat flat tasting beer. I’ll admit, if I’m at a sporting event and just want to get trashed, then I won’t complain about it. If I’m at a restaurant and spent $5-7 on a good beer, and they bring me a Baseball Poured beer, I’ll be irate.

Your beer should half about a half-inch head that sits right at the top of the glass. Beers are hardly ever poured into proper glassware, either. Chances are, if you aren’t at a place that specializes in beer, then you won’t get a proper pour, or glassware. If the pour bothers you enough, then kindly tell the bartender, or waiter, or whoever else gave you the beer. Tell them what’s wrong with it, and how to fix it, because sometimes they really don’t know. It’s not uncommon for bars to hire a bartender based solely on how attractive they are, and don’t bother to teach them the basics.