Stella Artois puts pouring skills to the test
That’s what I thought until I heard about the Stella Artois pouring ritual, which requires nine steps for the “perfect pour.”
And potential Draught Masters are showing if they have mastered the techniques in series of local competitions across the United States, with the potential of advancing to the national finals in Boston on Sept. 17. The winner there will travel to London on Oct. 28 to compete against 31 other national champions from around the world to perform the centuries-old Belgian Pouring Ritual and compete for the 2010 Stella Artois World Draught Masters title.
The ultimate winner will visit more than 20 different countries as a Stella Artois brand ambassador. What a road trip!
Stella Artois traces its origin back to 1366 to the Den Hoorn brewery in Leuven, Belgium, just outside of Brussels. The beer was originally brewed to celebrate Christmas, and it was named Stella (Latin for “star”). In 1717, Master Brewer Sebastian Artois purchased the brewery and changed its name to Artois. The modern Stella Artois brewery, built in 2004, is still located in Leuven. The brand is currently owned by international conglomerate AB InBev.
The nine steps of the pouring ritual:
- The Purification: Use a clean and rinsed branded glass.
- The Sacrifice: Open the tap in one quick action and let the first drops of beer flow away.
- The Liquid Alchemy begins: Hold the glass just under the tap, without touching it, at a 45-degree angle.
- The Head: Lower the glass to allow the natural formation of the foam head.
- The Removal: Close the tap quickly and move the glass away so beer doesn’t drip into the glass.
- The Beheading: While the head foams up and overflows the side of the glass, smooth it gently with a head cutter.
- The Judgment: The right amount of foam is usually about 2 fingers.
- The Cleansing: Clean the bottoms and sides of the glass.
- The Bestowal: Present the beer on a clean beer coaster with the logo facing the consumer.
You can check out a video of the ritual here.
The regional semi-finals begin tonight in Tampa, then continue in Orlando (8/19), Las Vegas (8/25), Denver (8/26), Phoenix (8/27), New York (9/8), Boston (9/9) and Washington, D.C. (9/10)
Road Trips for Beer will be covering the Orlando competition, so expect a wrap-up here later this week.
By the way, Stella Artois has held this competition since 1997, and the last time someone from the U.S. won was in 2005, when Jessica Waltz beat runner-up Michel Denayer from … wait for it … Belgium!
For more information on the competition, go here.