Oct 1, 2011

The Perfect Pour....

"two fingers" of head
I decided to do a quick piece on this, since, having posted a photo on Facebook a few nights ago, of a beer I had recently poured, with a glass of beer with a perfect "toe fingers" of foamy head atop the glass (the amount of head, or "foam" at the top of the glass, should be approximately the same width as your pointer and ring fingers) I had a few comments that were basically calling out my skills at pouring a beer, and taking into question my "beer knowledge" because "everyone" knows you aren't suppose to have any foam in the glass after pouring a beer? O really???
Lets take something I know nothing about, NASCAR. If I were to sit in a room full of NASCAR fans, and call the drivers "stupid" for tailgating, anyone with a basic understand of racing would think me foolish, and for good reason.

Beer Porn!
Why is head good? Aside from the sophomoric puns that can be made, there is a reason why you want a nice rim of head at the top of your beer. Not only is it eye candy, or as I like to call it, Beer Porn, the head at the top of the glass acts as a sort of net, capturing and retaining volatiles in the beer. OK, what is a volatile? Anyone that has read a book or taken a class in wine tasting can tell you, volatiles are compounds that are trapped in a beer (or wine) that are produced by such things as the oil in the hops, or from the yeast, or a verity of other things. These compounds create most of the aroma of the beer, the carbonation releases these compounds, and the head captures them, and retains them.
So, if you pour a beer and make an effort to not produce head in the beer, you are in fact inhibiting the production of the aroma, which makes up a major aspect of how you perceive the flavor of the beer (ever notice when you have a cold, and your nose is plugged up, you can't taste food very well??).
So, contrary to what you were taught in college, or at the bar, after a softball game, head is indeed good!

Instead of walking you through the perfect pour step by step, I found a video on youtube that shows best how I prefer to pour a beer.

The right glass is very important
Just a few tips about pouring a beer. First, make sure you have the appropriate glassware, believe it or not, the glass DOES make a difference, I will be writing more about the proper glass at a later date. Also, make sure the glass is very clean. Its best to hand wash your beer glasses, and not wash them in the dishwasher. The dishwasher tends to leave behind soapy residue and other "goodies" you don't want in your beer. It also hinders the development of the head on the beer.
So, I hope this helps, and I hope this puts an end to all the "Boy Ken, I thought you were a beer guy, you don't know how to pour a beer very well!" comments.
As always, if you don't like head on your beer, then pour it the way you like it. I am just saying, when you see head on a beer, especially a craft beer, its probably not because the person doing the pouring doesn't know how to pour a beer, its simply because they appreciate the care and craftsmanship that goes into brewing, and want to get the most out of their glass of beer.

Bottoms up my friends, Prost!

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