Sunday, April 3, 2016
It takes a good head to make a great beer
Since the breweries that they started are internationally famous, there is no doubt that Adolphus Busch, Adolph Coors, and Frederick Miller were all pretty smart guys. For that matter, Jim Koch, one of the founders of The Boston Beer Company (2nd largest American owned brewery, after Yuengling) is also a pretty smart guy. His net worth is slightly in excess of $1 billion.
However, when I’m talking about a good head, I’m really talking about the ART of pouring a beer. Surprisingly, there are a lot of people (including many servers in restaurants) who simply don’t know how to pour a beer.
The bartenders in Dublin are true artists, since pouring a Guinness the proper way is always a two step process:
1) tip glass slightly, aim the beer at the Guinness label on the glass, pour the beer to the halfway point, and set the glass aside to allow the beer to settle
2) hold glass in a vertical position, and slowly top it off
Regardless of which beer expert that you consult, the proper way to pour a beer is essentially the same. This is what the Beeradvocate recommends:
1) always use a glass, and make sure that it is clean .. a dirty glass, or one with residue from another beer, my inhibit head creation and flavors
2) tilt the glass at a 45 degree angle, and pour roughly half the beer towards the center of the glass
3) once half the beer is poured, tilt the glass to a vertical position, and top the beer off .. once the beer is poured, the head should be between an inch and an inch and a half .. the head releases the beer’s aromatics, and adds to the overall presentation
As the video below from the Magnolia Pub points out, different types of beers may require a slight alteration to the process, but not by much. Pouring the beet too fast creates a head that is too large, making a mess and distorting the flavor of the beer. Pouring the entire bottle into a titled glass (which many restaurant servers do) often eliminates the head altogether, causing the beer to become flat and less flavorful. Drinking straight out of a bottle eliminates the head entirely, and reduces the flavor of the beer substantially.
you’re doing it all wrong
Just as wine tastings (and many wine labels) often emphasize the proper food pairings, that same advice also applies to beer, which I wrote about roughly five years ago.
So what are you waiting for ?
Grab a beer !