Pouring a draft beer isn’t rocket science. But there are a lot of things that can go wrong when, from using the wrong glass (or worse, a dirty glass) to ending up with too much or not enough foam.
A bad pour can affect not only the appearance of a draft beer, but also the taste and the whole on-premise guest experience. That’s why Franck Evers, Heineken’s global ambassador/draughtmaster, travels the world educating people on the art of the perfect pour.
So what’s the right way to pour a beer on tap? Evers recently provided a demonstration at Heineken USA’s New York City office; here’s how it’s done.
– Take a cold, clean beer glass (preferable branded).
– Give the glass a quick rinse with cold water to get rid of any dust or grease.
– Place the glass under the tap, low and at an angle, and open the tap.
– Just as the beer is about to overflow, straighten the glass and turn off the tap.
– Set the beer down and skim off foam right away. (Either a metal or plastic skimmer is fine—just make sure the skimmer is wet to better catch the foam.)
– Set the glass of beer down in front of customer on a branded coaster with the brand name/logo on the glass facing them. (Don’t forget to make eye contact with the guest, and smile.)
It’s all about the foam: The head of foam is “the consciousness of the beer,” Evers said. It’s not just for looks either—the foam (ideally about two fingers thick) protects the beer by preventing oxygen from getting in at the top, keeping it fresh and cold.
The skimming process is key because it protects the foam from oxidizing. If the tap nozzle touches the beer or the foam, the foam will start to disappear, and that will affect the taste.
Does every bartender go through all these steps? No, but they should, according to Evers, because the quality and enjoyment of the first beer poured will affect the likelihood of the customer ordering another. The beer pouring ritual he advocates is all about “increasing drinkability and turnover,” Evers said.