beer-pint-150.jpgSome people go to great lengths to avoid it. They’ll tilt to the side, go in at it slowly - taking perfect measure to avoid a big, frothy head on top of their beer. Perhaps it’s just residual habit from those college keg days, but there is good reason to stop the temptation and just say yes to head. Now don’t get us wrong, we’re not suggesting getting head with just any beer. But with yeasty German wheat beer the head not only acts as protective barrier but also adds a great texture to the drink.

We learned all of this when we were schooled in how to achieve the perfect beer pour from a bottle. Beers like hefe-weizens lend themselves perfectly to this technique so we choose one of our favorites, a Paulaner Hefe-weizen. The key is to start with a clean, pilsner glass. Any pint glass will do as well, but we were with a beer professional (read: “functioning alcoholic”) who took his stemware very seriously. Here’s what we learned:

1. Start, by taking the clean glass and rinse it with cold water, making sure there is no soap residue left in it. To ensure it is clean hold the glass upside to see if the of water evaporates up the glass. If it does without stopping then you've got yourself a clean one.

2. Hold the glass at a 45-degree angle and stick the neck of the bottle far inside the glass. Pour the beer slowly into the side of the glass pulling the bottle out slightly as you go. When you have about a “finger’s worth” left of beer in the bottle (about 1/2 inch) stop pouring.

3. Take the bottle and swirl the remaining beer around fairly vigorously. Don’t be bashful here as we are attempting to reactivate the yeast that has settled at the bottom of the bottle.

4. After about 5- 8 good swirls, pour the rest of the beer into the center of the glass, forming a perfect head that is about an inch to an inch and a half deep.

The reason why the head is good is twofold. First, the thick froth serves as a protective barrier to oxygen, which breaks down the beer, placing it on a downward spiral towards its death. Secondly the rich, creamy texture serves as a great contrast to the spicy, zingy flavors in the beer. We never realized form and function came together so perfectly on top of our golden, glass of frosty beer.

Now that we have the moves down we will take that little extra time and effort to pour our wheat beers properly. There is no reason to fear or avoid head. It takes a little getting used to, but most things worth it usually do.