By William Brand
Tuesday, July 29th, 2008 at 2:02 pm in Uncategorized.
Ever wonder why, in an authentic Belgian beer cafe, the barkeep always washes the glasses first? Drew, a poster to the blog, asked:
Drew Says: William – Do you know why The Trappist (Oakland, CA.) rinses out each of their glasses prior to pouring the beer? I’ve always thought that pouring a beer into a glass that was just rinsed will have a negative effect on head retention and lacing.
The answer: It’s the Belgian method. Until recently, every good Belgian bar had a running water sink. Now each beer tower includes a sink that automatically sprays the glass and rinses it inside and outside with cold water. The idea is go get the tempoerature of the glass to about the same temperature as the beer.
That does not mean ice cold or frozen. Frozen glasses, while a great sales technique, much pushed by the manufacturers of tasteless light lager, impede the taste of the beer. The Belgian method is much better.
InBev, when it was InterBrew, long before all the current fuss, appropriated the age-old Belgian serving technique and created, the Stella Artois Draught Master Championship in 1996. It drew (and hopefully still does draw) bartenders from all over the world. They created a 9-step process for serving beer.
I got to watch the finals in Leuven, Belgium in 1998. It was wild, competitors had just seven minutes to pour and serve two glasses of Stella Artois on tap, one glass of Hoegaarden on tap, and one bottle of Leffe.
Here’s a link to the Belgian Beer Pouring Ritual and a video of the method. Frozen glasses? Humbug.