Did you know that there is a nine-step ritual to serving the perfect Stella Artois? There is no question that Belgians take their beer very seriously, but Stella Artois has developed a way to ensure that when customers drink a beer in a bar, they get the perfect experience.
That job can only be done by a bartender who learns how to serve the perfect beer.
And to do this, this Belgian brewery from Leuven has been organising a world draughtmaster competition to find the person who can pour the perfect beer. The winner becomes the global ambassador for a year, travelling the world and helping other bartenders learn how to serve the perfect beer.
The Belgian final to find the representative who will be competing in the 18th edition of the Stella Artois World’s Draughtmasters final in London was held on 3rd June at Stella’s old brewery in Leuven. Jan Vandenplas of Bar Nine in Leuven won the competition among 20 regional finalists. The World’s Draughtmaster for 2014, Belgian Marjolein Geuens passed on the trophy she had won the previous year to Jan.
Jan Vandenplas told Food and Wine Gazette he was looking forward to represent Belgium in the World Draughtmaster event. “This is the fifth time I participate in the competition and last year I placed second. I put a lot of effort into trying to win. I was born and live in the city of Leuven, the city where Stella Artois is made and I am therefore proud to be able to represent Stella Artois,” he said.
“I now hope to win the global competition and will put a lot of effort into it. To win it would be crazy,” he said. If Jan manages to win the competition, he will be the third Belgian in a row to win the title.
Marjolein, the current global World Draughtmaster, is studying medicine and took a year’s break to represent Stella Artois. She told Food and Wine Gazette that the experience was amazing. “I’ve been to a number of countries as well as many big events. It is great to be able to serve as ambassador. When you take the time to pour the perfect beer, you can really taste the difference.”
Mathieu Snoeks of Stella Artois said that the competition is very important for the brand because it enables the brewery to raise awareness about the proper way to serve beer. “We make people aware of the importance of serving the beer in a proper way, which is essential given that once the beer leaves our brewery we are no longer in control.”
He said the judges look at 50 technical criteria when judging, including the time it takes to serve two beers.
The nine step pouring ritual
1. The Purification: A cold-water bath to chill the chalice and sustain the head of the pour.
2. The Sacrifice: The first drops are sacrified, a small price to ensure the freshest taste.
3. The Liquid Alchemy: The Chalice is held at a 45-degrees for the perfect combination of foam and liquid.
4. The Crown: Gracefully straightening the chalice, a perfect head is formed, sealing in the freshness.
5. The Removal: A smooth and fluid exit, while closing the nozzle.
6. The Skimming: A skimmer trims the head of a 45 degree angle removing the large, loose bubbles.
7. The Judgement: Three centimetres of foam, no more and no less.
8. The Cleansing: A final dip in cold water for a brilliant chalice and stunning presentation.
9. The Bestowal: A moment to assure and admire a perfectly served Stella Artois.