How great is it when you learn a new thing that instantly improves your life? And how much better is it when that thing involves beer?

That’s why we were so stoked when our friends at Sam Adams passed along the following tips and tricks for improve your brew-consuming experience.

From pouring to pairing to cooking, they’re all pretty simple and handy. And just think how impressed that lady you yearn for will be when you chill her beer in five minutes. That’s not a euphemism.

When the beer is about two inches from the top, straighten up the glass so a nice, rich head forms. Everyone respects a perfect pour.

1. Pour like a pro
Don’t hesitate when you pull a tap handle. Grab the handle at the bottom (not the top, that could break off the faucet), snap the tap handle toward you and pour your beer straight into the glass, turning it at a 45-degree angle as you pour. When the beer is about two inches from the top, straighten up the glass so a nice, rich head forms. Everyone respects a perfect pour.

2. Drink clean
When washing beer glasses, avoid cleaning solution, which can leave a residue of soap frozen to the glass, affecting the aroma and taste and killing the head. If you see bubbles popping off the side of your glass, those bubbles are popping off a dirty glass. No bubbles on the side of the glass means a clean glass. You’ll never look at glassware the same way again.

3. Swap stock for beer
Impress family and friends by cooking with beer. From a beer chicken BBQ to a porter demi-glaze, beer can step up any home chef’s game. A spice packet in a bottle, beer makes a flavorful and fast-acting marinade. It’s easy to substitute beer in recipes that call for water or stock. And remember, cooking with beer means drinking one or two while you work, of course.

4. Amplify spicy heat with bitter IPAs
In the name of science, a Sam Adams Brewer and culinary experts from the Culinary Institute of America got together to eat wings and drink beer. Their goal was to research how the hops in bitter beers affect spicy food.  It turns out that the alcohol content and international bitterness units do affect the taste of spicy food, in a good way. So opt for bitter IPAs when kicking up the spice.

5. Chill a beer in five minutes
If you need to cool a beer down fast, wrap a wet paper towel around the bottle and stick it in the freezer for 5 minutes. Cans, because they’re made of aluminum, cool even faster using this trick. But, don’t let your beer, especially quality beer, get ice cold. If you do, you won’t enjoy or experience the flavors brewers work so hard to create.

Photo: twenty20.com/rafi.dizon