Cheers physics – the science behind the perfect pint

10 December 2012

Have you ever considered just how much thought goes into making the perfect pint?

As the festive season gets into full swing and people pile into pubs, a set of beer mats produced by the Institute of Physics (IOP) aims to get people thinking about the physics behind their beer.

Each beer mat features a question, such as ‘Are the bubbles in your pint of stout rising or falling?’ to engage pub-goers and generate discussion.

50,000 beer mats will be making their way to upwards of 70 pubs around the country starting today, Monday 10 December. They are being distributed by local branches of the Campaign for Real Ale, CAMRA, who are supporting the campaign.

A Cheers Physics beer mat
Can you flip it? Yes you can. Look out for our Cheers Physics beer mats in your local.


There are three designs of beer mat that each focus on a different aspect of your pint. Scanning a QR code on the back of the mat will reveal the answer to the question, as well as an explanation of the physics that makes it that way.

The answers to the questions can be found at, which serves as a hub of information on the topic, providing links to further articles about beer and physics on topics such as the true colour of foam.

Alongside the campaign, the IOP is also producing five short films about the brewing process. Filmed at the Redemption Brewing Company in North London, these videos cover five different concepts that underpin the physics of beer brewing – from measuring the alcohol content using, what brewers call, ‘specific gravity’, to controlling temperature to make subtle changes in flavour. You can watch the first video in the series below.

Rik Sargent, Outreach Officer at IOP, said: “The beermats provide a spark to get people discussing physics, to show that physics is all around us and that you don’t need to be a physicist to appreciate it.”

Tony Jerome, CAMRA's Head of Marketing, said: "CAMRA is delighted to support the IOP’s beer mat initiative that helps consumers understand more about real ale in a fun and interesting way. We hope these beer mats will help to create discussion in pubs and encourage more people to give real ale a try."

Andy Moffat, Director of Redemption Brewing Company Ltd., said: "Physics is important to beer brewing. There are certain rules of physics that constrain what we can do, so we try to use that knowledge to our advantage to make the brewing process as efficient as possible and brew the best beer we can."

Related information

Other IOP websites

Your guide to physics on the web

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