The Stella Artois Masterclass


Last week I received an invitation to the Stella Artois Masterclass event in Soho in London. The event took place down Swallow Street in an exclusive bar called the Cuckoo Club, with the aim of the evening to teach us how to pour the perfect pint of Stella Artois.

Now as a long time admirer of the brand, and by admirer I mean loyal drinker, I can hardly be considered a connoisseur, but just as Tony Blair’s mantra of ‘education, education, education’ burst into my mind, I felt learning a new trick or two may go down well with the ladies, so I went in with an open mind and with the intention of broadening my admittedly limited horizons.

The aim of the night was to publicise the Stella Artois World Draught Masters finals event in Old Billingsgate Walk, London on the 28th October, and for all of us media blogging sorts that turned up, to get a healthy amount of lovely free beer along the way.

There was an added bonus of sorts though, with master beer sommelier Marc Stroobandt in attendance to put us through our paces and teach us the tricks of the trade, the person who poured the best pint on the night would go on to represent Stella Artois at the aforementioned event. I can’t say that I ever found out who said winner was, but suffice to say after my poor effort, I won’t be getting an invite to that one.

Mr Stroobandt, an amiable perfectionist when it comes to the craft of pouring the perfect pint of Stella Artois, told us the 9 simple steps, which in practice turned out to be a lot harder to carry out.

A clean glass is essential, and if it has a logo it must always face towards the customer. When the perfect pint pouring is about to commence, the glass must then be titled at a 45 degree angle and then pull the tap open quickly and fully, a concept I was less than acceptable at doing.

The next step is that when the glass is three quarters of the way full, you must tilt the glass back upright while taking special care as to not let the tap touch the lather. The ideal amount of head is around one and a half inches, although mine could be said to be a generous four to five inches such was my dire application of the basic principles required.

The beer must be then allowed to overflow slightly before the tap is poured off quickly and the excess head is skimmed off the top of the pint with a knife at a 45 degree angle once more, before the simple touches of a beer mat and doyley are placed on the pint and voila, there you have it, the perfect pint of Stella Artois.

All in all, a good evening was had by all, much merriment took place and despite the mixed efforts of those there to pour their own perfect pints, when you’ve poured a pint in such a fashion for yourself, it does go down all the sweeter.

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