Serving and Consumption
Homebrews should be served with pride and consumed with gusto.
Pouring from a bottle must be done with care. Generally speaking, the bottle should be opened carefully so that carbonation levels in the beer are not disturbed. Hold the glass at a slight angle and carefully pour the beer slowly against the side of the glass. When the glass is over half-full, slowly begin to pour directly into the glass. Try to maintain a reasonable head (the amount of head desired will vary by beer style) by pouring slowly. If you are pouring a home- or micro-brew, many bottles will have some sediment remaining in the bottom in the bottle. With certain exceptions (if you are drinking hefewiezen, for example), you should try to leave as much of this sediment in the bottle as possible. If the bottles have been handled roughly, the sediment will be resuspended in the beverage. Holding the bottle up to a light source will give a visual indication of this, although in brown bottles it may be difficult to tell. If the sediment has been aroused, letting the bottle sit for approximately 15 minutes (preferably in a refrigerator or freezer) should be sufficient to allow it to resettle. During the pour, the key to keeping the sediment at the bottom of the bottle is to avoid stopping and restarting the pour, which will arouse the sediment and make the beverage cloudy. Allow the carbonation levels to settle, then enjoy!
Tasting beer is something to be savored.
Americans have been conditioned to think beer is best when ice cold. Homebrewers should experiment with serving temperature to determine their preference. Cooling of beer generally reduces the flavor of the beer. Since much of the fun of homebrewing is experiencing the taste of the ingredients (see also Tasting above) homebrewers should do what they can to maximize that experience.
Temperature has a very strong effect on the perception of flavors, sweetness in particular. A malty beer, such as a Doppelbock will show a more pronounced malty sweetness with warmer temperatures and if served at too high a temperature, the beer will become cloyingly sweet. Hops bitterness flavor is also intensified at warmer temperatures. It stands to reason then that in general, maltier styles are optimized when served warmer while hoppier styles are best suited served colder. This perception is of course different for every beer and every person, and there is no one-size-fits-all.
At the same time, the CO2 in beer is more active when warm, which can cause excess fizziness. You might need to plan to chill your brew a bit to prevent it from being too foamy.