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What Should You Learn About Beer To Become A Bartender

What Should You Learn About Beer To Become A Bartender

Cocktails and mixology usually steal the limelight when it comes to bartender knowledge. However, beer continues to be America’s favorite boozy beverage, so there are a few things you should learn about it if you want to work in a pub or bar.

While it helps to know how beer is made, that’s not the kind of knowledge we’re talking about. Instead, you need to understand the different types of beer available, how the beverage should get stored, and how to pour the perfect beer. So, without further ado, discover the basics every bartender serving a brew should know.

Different Types of Beer

To some folks, beer is beer. To bartenders, it’s a golden (or dark) ambrosia of water, malted barley, corn grits, and hops that come in a wide variety of styles. If you want to become a bartender, familiarize yourself with the following types of beer:

Two Major Beer Categories:

Ales: Ales are top-fermented beers fermented at room temperature. They usually have a slight bitterness with a taste of hops and have a moderate to high Alcohol by Volume (ABV).

Lagers: Lagers are bottom-fermented beers usually fermented under refrigeration for long periods of time. They are usually clearer than ales and have a low to moderate ABV.

Important Beer Sub-Categories:

Bitter Beer: Bitter beer is an English-style strong ale known for its bittersweet taste and higher ABV.

Bock Beer: Brewed from caramelized malt, bock beer is strong, dark, malty, and slightly sweet.

Ice Beer: Taking its name from the production process, ice beer gets brewed at very cold temperatures before getting chilled to below freezing. This process forms ice crystals which are filtered out of the beer, resulting in a smoother taste and a higher ABV.

Lambic Beer: Brewed by monks in Belgium, Lambic beer is brewed with ingredients such as cherries, peaches, raspberries, and wheat, as well as natural yeasts, giving it wonderfully fruity flavors.

Light Beer: Light beers are lighter in color and have fewer calories and less alcohol than regular beers.

Low-Calorie Beer: Low-calorie beers usually have between 55 and 65 calories per serving, which is much lower than regular beers. They also tend to be weaker in flavor.

Malt Liquor: Fermented at a higher temperature than other beers, malt liquor has a higher ABV.

Pale Ales: Pale ales are lighter in color than stout. They usually have a full-bodied flavor known for its distinct bitterness.

Pilsner: A Czech-style beer, pilsner is a dry lager known for being light and hoppy in flavor.

Porter: A porter is a dark beer with a full-bodied flavor.

Sake: Sometimes considered to be a wine, sake is a Japanese beer processed and brewed using rice. Sake should get served warm or at room temperature.

Stout: Stout is a dark ale with a slightly bitter flavor brewed with barley that has been heavily roasted. Guinness arguably is the world’s best-known stout.

Trappist Beer: Brewed by Trappist monks in Belgium and the Netherlands, Trappist beer is usually dark in color and has a higher ABV.

Wheat Beer: Wheat beer is brewed from wheat. When served, it’s often garnished with lemon and, occasionally, raspberry syrup.

How to Store Beer

Not every beer-drinking nation stores beer in the same way. If you want to be a bartender, you should know that, in the U.S., we store and serve beer cold (at least 40 degrees Fahrenheit). If stored or served at colder temperatures, the taste will get dulled.

You should always store beer away from sunlight, as exposing the beverage to sunlight could result in skunked beer. As the name suggests, the beer’s flavor becomes musty and unappealing. Keg beer has a shelf life of 40 days, while bottled beer has a shelf life of 110 days.

Glassware For Beer

Despite many having a love/hate relationship with it, the beer glass most commonly used in the U.S. is the Shaker pint. However, there are many different types of glasses available and many avid hopheads would far rather drink out of just about anything else. A few glasses you should know include:

Shaker Pint Glass: Also known as the American pint glass, the Shaker pint glass is an all-purpose glass used for most types of beer. This versatile, easy-stacking option holds 16 oz of beer.

Pilsner Glass: Slender, tall, and tapered, the pilsner glass is designed to capture the effervescence of lagers and pilsners. The etching at the bottom of the glass maintains the beer’s head by pulling carbon dioxide out of the beer and contributing to the beer’s foam and aroma.

Nonic Pint Glass: A variation of the shaker pint, the nonic pint glass is sometimes known as the English pint glass. This glass has a bump an inch from the top and holds 20 oz of beer. The bump offers an improved grip, prevents glasses from sticking together when stacked, and stops the glass’s rim from chipping. The nonic pint glass is usually used for low-ABV English-style beers.

The Snifter: Snifters are usually associated with brandy, but you can also use them to serve beers, especially strong, sophisticated beers. The unique shape is perfect for bringing the aromatics out of beer. When pouring beer into a snifter, fill the glass halfway for the best aromas.

How to Pour the Perfect Beer

As a bartender, you’ll need to pour beer from bottles and from keg taps. Follow the same procedure for both.

Hold the glass at a 45-degree angle when you pour the beer. Tilt the glass upright when the glass is about half-full and continue pouring until you have a head of between ½-1 ½ inches of foam. If you’re pouring beer from a tap, remember to pull the tap from the bottom, as pulling a tap from the top could break it.

If there’s too much foam coming from the tap during the pour, check that the tap is fully open, as it could be a result of a partially open tap. Alternatively, the tap may need cleaning. If neither of those solutions helps, check that the keg is properly tapped and all the carbon dioxide gauges are registering in their proper position.

These beer basics should stand you in good stead if you want to become a bartender. Start practicing your pouring technique to create the perfect head!