I used to work in a bar, and would regularly have people metaphorically throwing their pint back in my spotty, teenage face because it had a head on it.
“That’s not a pint,” they’d say.
“It is, there’s supposed to be a head. Plus it meets the pint line, look,” I would reply.
They would then insult me, to waves of laughter across the entire bar, out the door, down the street and around the entire country.
Still, I was right. Beer is supposed to have head on it, and if you’re doing that tilted-glass delicate pouring thing, then you’re doing it wrong. And today I’ve found out that there’s even more reason to stop the slow pour - not only do you miss out on the taste of the foam, but you’re also bloating up that big old belly of yours.
So you and your mates, fresh from giving the barman a good public hiding, are all sitting there, full of swirling gases, belly-buttons vibrating like the plug on an over-inflated air-bed. It’s a bad look, and a bad feel - nobody likes being bloated, it’s a gross night-ruiner. Anyone who’s ever played Centurion can attest to that.
According to Max Bakker, the first and only Master Cicerone in New York, the inflation is down to carbon dioxide becoming trapped in the beer - if you don’t give your beer a head, it’ll end up getting made in your stomach instead. So to stop this, you want to be pouring your beer down the side of the glass (slight tilt) but with a bit of old fashioned vigour - sure, you’ll get a big head, but that’s what you want.
You’re letting the CO2 out in the glass, and you’re getting the bitterness of the hops and the sweetness of the malt. That’s how the Belgians do it, and they know what they’re on about when it comes to beer. Also, foam always turns to beer anyway, so stop your whinnying.
So that silly little twerp behind the bar with the dumb floppy fringe and shit piddly moustache who doesn’t know how to pour a beer and if he hands me that thing I’m going to dash it onto the sodding bar, is ACTUALLY doing it right, sir.
You’re the one that is wrong, and he is saving your stomach a world of good. He is your barman, your doctor, your guardian angel, and you should respect him. If you don’t, he’ll hold onto this grudge and revisit it many years later, on the internet, in an article about beer, and you don’t want to be the butt of that snark.
(Image: Natasha Kapur)