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Bars not pouring a head/etiquette

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by agapeagape, Jan 11, 2013.

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  1. agapeagape

    agapeagape Aug 24, 2012 Alaska

    A local bar (two actually) near me pour heads randomly, and seemingly less often on stronger beers. I'm a novice, so the question is twofold:

    -Are heads harder to pour/necessary from draught?
    -How to approach the bartender?

    Oddly enough both of these places have respectable beer lists but the servers are clueless.
  2. Hanzo

    Hanzo Feb 27, 2012 Virginia

    I hate it when bartenders won't make with the head. It's like you are paying them to provide a service, and you should get the best experience possible.
  3. dachshunddude86

    dachshunddude86 Dec 21, 2012 Florida

    Stronger beers often have thinner heads due to the alcohol content
    Kopfschuss and Squidly like this.
  4. paulys55

    paulys55 Aug 2, 2010 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    Try this approach: Throw the beer in the bartender's face. Then say, "Hey, I don't see any head on your face?"

    Report back with results;)
  5. SunDevilBeer

    SunDevilBeer May 9, 2003 Massachusetts

    Hell, from my perspective it's become an epidemic of short foamy pours at supposed "elite" beer bars nowadays. I'll take a stadium pour for what draft beer costs nowadays. Fill it up please.
  6. fredmugs

    fredmugs Aug 11, 2012 Indiana
    Beer Trader

    Blueribbon666 and paulys55 like this.
  7. dap325

    dap325 Apr 2, 2009 New York

    Got a glass of Goose Island BCS filled to the brim last week. Not complaining. I like a good head on a beer as long as that space isn't taking away from what the menu says I'm paying for.
  8. Bluecane

    Bluecane Dec 30, 2011 New York

    I'm not sure if I or my snifter of Siberian Night (or both) find this funny, but I lol'd nevertheless!
    paulys55 likes this.
  9. j-rod18

    j-rod18 Dec 13, 2012 North Dakota

    most bartenders are pretty oblivious to the whole concept....people that pour guinness are the worst offenders

    i can pour a better pint then half of the bartenders at the places i frequent. so i tend to drink my good beer at home
    kojevergas, darky and chuckstout like this.
  10. fujindemon74

    fujindemon74 Nov 7, 2012 Pennsylvania

    Are we talking beer?
  11. Frankinstiener

    Frankinstiener Jul 28, 2009 Illinois
    Beer Trader

  12. chuckstout

    chuckstout May 22, 2006 Ohio

    crummy pour=crummy tip.
    afrokaze and deadonhisfeet like this.
  13. CurtFromHershey

    CurtFromHershey Oct 4, 2012 Minnesota
    Beer Trader

    I typically order yuengling when out. Maybe a two hearted or troegs offering if I'm feeling sprucey. I typically save good beers for when I'm at home and don't have to drive. Set your expectations of others low if you want to avoid disappointment.
  14. hopsputin

    hopsputin Apr 1, 2012 New Jersey

    Well said. I agree 100%

    You can always just swirl it around after you drink some :p
  15. Spider889

    Spider889 Mar 24, 2010 Ohio
    Beer Trader

    I love how this is phrased as a question?
    JuniperJesus likes this.
  16. HKUSPC40

    HKUSPC40 Aug 28, 2012 Washington

    I was a bartender for a long time... Please be polite they put up with the following all the time...
  17. Spider889

    Spider889 Mar 24, 2010 Ohio
    Beer Trader

    To speak to the actual question at hand, I think you already know the answer here. It's the servers lack of knowledge and not necessarily the beer's fault. It's not hard at all to pour a beer with head (usually) from a draft line. Certainly certain styles/bodies of beers will affect head retention and lacing capabilities, but the carbonation itself will still produce some head if poured properly. Some places teach servers not to do this, and some customers expect their pint glass to be filled to the brim with beer compounding the issue.

    Sadly there's little that can be done here imo. Bringing it up to the server will likely just result in confusion or agitation. Best bet is to befriend the bartender and teach them or at least get to where you can request a proper pour.
  18. ShogoKawada

    ShogoKawada May 31, 2009 Pennsylvania

    Are you kidding me? I went to deep ellum and bought a .5l of Rachbier. I got .3l of beer and .2l of foam. The dude told me, 'sorry, I'm not topping you off'. I'd rather get overpoured than underpoured.
    SunDevilBeer likes this.
  19. devlishdamsel

    devlishdamsel Aug 1, 2009 Washington

    I am actually shocked when a bartender knows how to properly pour a beer these days. Short of say the owner of an awesome local beer establishment, ive noticed a lot of bartenders can't even keep up with where the beer comes from or properly describe the style and what its like to customers. Sadly in this town much more effort is put into classic cocktail revival ( which is all and good as i enjoy my cocktails, but they just are not beeer!).
    Ahh yes and theres a local establishment which prides itself for having the coldest beers in towno_O.
    Squidly likes this.
  20. RBassSFHOPit2ME

    RBassSFHOPit2ME Mar 1, 2009 California

    Agreed. If the glass if full and the beer is good, I'm not sure what the problem is here...
  21. marquis

    marquis Nov 20, 2005 United Kingdom (England)

    Sometimes there just isn't going to be much head, for example when a pint is gravity dispensed.Bass is better this way.
    As far as I am concerned the problem is more often to reduce the head. Asking the server to remove the sparkler usually does the trick.Too much head and you should be given a top up.You're paying for beer not gas.
    Where beer is served via top pressure the lack of head probably indicates a problem.Pressure set incorrectly is one possibility. Taste it, if it's OK drink it.If not , send it back.
  22. ThirstyFace

    ThirstyFace Jan 11, 2013 New York

    It happens so frequently that I just automatically say "put a good head on that please"
  23. UCLABrewN84

    UCLABrewN84 Mar 18, 2010 California

    It happens, but I usually don't make a big deal about it.
  24. MattSweatshirt

    MattSweatshirt Jun 29, 2011 Texas
    Beer Trader

    From my experience Europeans are more generous with giving head than Americans.
    omniscientcause likes this.
  25. deathevocation

    deathevocation Nov 7, 2008 Australia

    Best one I ever had was in Malaysia. Got a pint of Guinness with absolutely no head.
  26. Curry

    Curry Apr 10, 2003 Montana

    A couple of the locals I frequent have barstaff that have been bitched at by the BMC drinkers ("I ordered a pint, and you poured an inch of foam") so much that when I tell them not to pour the head off to refill the pint, they tell me they feel guilty for not giving me the full beer. I tell them that the beer is supposed to be poured with a head on it. Still, next time I go in, they continue to give me the "full pour." Generally, I stop them when they are about to pour the foam away, and tell them that's the way I want it.
    EdH likes this.
  27. rjniles

    rjniles Aug 30, 2012 South Carolina

    Part of the problem is they keep the beer too cold. It is harder to a pour a good head with cold beer. I usually have to let it sit for 10 minutes before I start to drink it. But I guess since the kegs or bottles are in a common cooler they have top keep the BMC drinkers happy (there are more of them that here are of us).
    afrokaze and BeerKangaroo like this.
  28. blkdth1313

    blkdth1313 May 6, 2009 Pennsylvania

    i am amazed at all of the cheap bastards on this site. You would rather drink an improperly poured beer tahn give up a sip or two? Seriously?

    I always pour my own when only good bottles are available.

    I'll let them now that I like a bit of head on my beer prior to the pour at least on my second beer if the 1st is ordinary. On the 1st sometimes too if it is a new place and I am not feeling the beer love...

    A poor tip doesn't solve anything. You'v already suffered through the poor pours....

  29. DelMontiac

    DelMontiac Oct 22, 2010 Oklahoma

    A proper pour will yield a acceptable amount of foam. I'd rather have more sips in my glass when paying bar prices. Someone once said, "Give me liberty or give me head." I suppose that applies here.
  30. KYGunner

    KYGunner Sep 16, 2012 Kentucky

    I bartended in college and found that the average beer drinker complained if there was a head more than a quarter inch. Usually a patron wanted to get their "money's worth." Fill it to the rim. If you are interested in the presentation and tip the beer tender, they will oblige you.
  31. DelMontiac

    DelMontiac Oct 22, 2010 Oklahoma

    That...was awesome!
    "Can I get a cucumber-tini?"
    "Strong Island Tea..."
  32. malatinodesign

    malatinodesign Mar 10, 2010 California

    Here is the root of the problem.
    chuckstout and Pecan like this.
  33. MarcatGSB

    MarcatGSB Jan 8, 2011 Michigan

    Titletown Brewery in Green Bay, WI (go Packers!) serves all their beers (minus BW, Impy Stout, etc) in 20 ounce glasses. They are pretty good about giving a good inch/inch.5 head, and I appreciate that. I get my 16 oz., sometimes more, and a nice looking beer, with proper aroma. Good looking out, even from a brewery that is slightly above average.
  34. afrokaze

    afrokaze Jun 12, 2009 Arizona
    Beer Trader

    As a beertender, it's tough to pour different beers with roughly the same amount of head. Often the first beer out of the line has more head, while one poured from the same tap right after will have less foaming. I try to make it roughly even for everyone so they can really enjoy the aroma of the beer, but it seems like not that many people understand or care for some head on their beer. I've almost never had someone complement me on a perfect pour, but plenty of people who give you the stink eye because they think you shorted them. FWIW our glasses are an ounce or so bigger than the advertised size to account for the headspace.
    tobin likes this.
  35. Blueribbon666

    Blueribbon666 Jul 4, 2008 Ohio

    BOOM! Done this is it. I find beer's head to be overrated for the most part, but some styles warrant it's inclusion.
  36. Blueribbon666

    Blueribbon666 Jul 4, 2008 Ohio

    Personally my fave was the girl asking for more olives. Why don't you order some food? Who are you fooling you're hungry and either cheap/broke or trying to not "pack it on." Hey "bones," mix something other then vodka and wine into your system. Sheesh. My beef w/TVs at a bar, put something on that doesn't require sound, like obviously sports, other wise set up the closed captioning...
  37. ESHBG

    ESHBG Jul 30, 2011 Pennsylvania

    Many (many) moons ago I was a bartender at my Mom's restaurant a few nights a week to make some extra money, and I used to get yelled at by people for giving them a beer with too much head. "Keep the damn glass tilted, boy!" [the restaurant was located in a blue collar steel town, so this sort of demeanor was actually pretty normal, especially with the more they drank LOL]. Anyway, when I am out at a regular bar these days, I sometimes hear the same complaints from people who don't really know their beer, so...I think some bar tenders may KNOW how to pour a beer properly, but figure it's not worth the hassle in most cases to do so.

    Here is an interesting video on pouring a beer. Yes it is Bud Light (ha ha) and this method is kind of meh to me as well, but the science behind it is cool and shows that there is more to a proper pour than just the presentation of it all, and it may have an effect your stomach when not done correctly:

    nogophers likes this.
  38. DougC123

    DougC123 Aug 21, 2012 Connecticut

    I live in the draft beer forums since I have a pair of taps at home. There is a science to storing and dispensing beer to get just the right amount of foam collar, or head. Beer is kegged at a particular volumes of CO2, and to dispense it properly you need to use a Zahm-Nagle chart to set the pressure properly. Too low you get no head, to high you get too much and you willmsee the bartender tipping thenhead into the drain to make the fill. You also need to keep the beer at constant temperature from the keg to the glass, including the draft tower and the faucet. Anyone of them is warmer than the other and you get foam. Most bartenders have no idea about this, many owners don't.
    Omer4176 likes this.
  39. SunDevilBeer

    SunDevilBeer May 9, 2003 Massachusetts

    Case in point why I don't drink at most renowned beer bars. My last (& final) visit to Lord Hobo I got short poured at least 5 ounces on a Victory lager . The 20 something know-it-all hipster jackass behind the bar gave me the same attitude & more. I drank up, didn't leave a tip & went to Cambridge Brewing Co.
    ShogoKawada and BigCheese like this.
  40. EdH

    EdH Jul 27, 2005 Utah

    I'd imagine that few/none of us here are part of the majority of bar customers--who will bitch up a storm (and probably tip even worse than they would otherwise) if served a beer with a finger worth of foam--which they perceive as not only a "ripoff!", but a slight extension of the time it takes to get shit-faced.
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