Why Does Beer Taste Better in a Glass? (Improving Aroma & Flavor)

Some people prefer their beer from a bottle or a can, but many people have noted that beer tastes better when served in a glass. Is there a reason, or is it just personal preference?

Whether you choose a pint, Pilsner, tulip, or another style of glass, serving your beer in a glass will enhance your experience of its aroma, flavor, and visual appeal as well help maintain its temperature. Beer flavor often improves in a glass when pouring from a can, bottle, or even draft system.

Read on to find out more about why beer tastes better in a glass, as well as some tips on the perfect pour and temperature for your homebrew.

Why does beer taste better in a glass?

Beer has not always been drunk from a glass. The mug was one of the first “glasses” used to drink beer. Mugs were often made from clay and, eventually, pewter. After the bubonic plague in the 1300s, it’s believed that Germany required all mugs to have a cover on them. This saw the introduction of the stein: a mug with a hinged lid.

For the next 400 years or so, only the wealthiest Germans drank beer from glass containers. By the 1850s, glass production became inexpensive enough to make glass mugs the primary drinking method.

Nowadays, there are many different beer glasses, but each is an undoubtedly better alternative to drinking beer straight from the can or bottle.

It would help if you chose to pour your beer into a glass because:

  • Smelling your beverage can enhance its taste
  • Visual appeal can actually improve the drinking experience
  • You can better control the serving temperature of your beer
  • A good pour means less bloating for you
  • You’re able to leave the unappealing residual yeast in the bottom of the bottle

Aroma and Taste

You may have heard that up to 90% of what we call taste can be attributed to our sense of smell. While the actual percentage is a subject of debate, pretty much everyone agrees that aroma can make or break your enjoyment of a meal or, in this case, beverage.

When you pour your beer from the can, bottle, or tap, the increased surface area of the glass allows for much stronger aromatics. The beer’s head that forms when you pour it into the glass creates a more potent scent and acts as a lid on the beer.

Tip: When pouring your beer into a glass, pour it vigorously. This will activate the carbonation, assuring it happens in the glass and not your stomach. It will also give you a nice head, which helps enhance.

Seeing Your Beer

Seeing is believing, especially in beer drinking. Similar to the smell, your visual sense plays a significant role in taste.

Taking in color, clarity (or lack thereof), and the beer’s head will all tell you different things before you even put your mouth or nose to the glass.

These are all characteristics of beer that you won’t be able to account for when it’s trapped inside a can or bottle.

Temperature

First things first, you don’t want your beer to be too cold. This will mask a lot of the flavors of the brew and hugely take away from the overall experience. It’s good practice to find a temperature that works for you.

The temperature of the beer can fluctuate no matter the vessel. However, glass can be chilled and can mitigate heat transfer from your hand to the drink.

Although, it’s important to note that some beers are better at warmer or cooler temperatures.

Tip: Try a glass with a handle. This will help keep your beer cooler for even longer since your warm hand won’t be touching the glass.

Less Bloating

Because you poured heavily and vigorously into the glass, the carbonation has ensued not in your stomach but the glass. This has a lot to do with how you pour your beer. 

Tilting your glass and pouring it down the side is a good way to reduce foam and keep the head low.

However, you might want to try a more powerful pour. Consider watching this video before you pour your next glass:

The Last Drop

Mostly present in bottles, a sum of yeast can accumulate at the bottom in the last few drops of your beer.

The residual yeast doesn’t particularly taste good in the case of most beers. Pouring your beer into a glass makes for a controlled amount, allowing you to leave the last drop or so in the bottle.

Please think of the last bit of coffee in your drip coffee pot: it’s common for some of the coffee grounds to make their way into the pot, accumulating at the bottom and sneaking into that last sip.