Ask For An Iceman's Pour.... Or Not
A so-called “boss pour,” is a phenomenon that’s also sometimes called an iceman pour, in
which the vessel is full entirely to the brim. It’s a relatively new and—to purists—perplexing
development. The rising debate over boss or iceman pours has had one silver lining: It’s
spurring people to talk about what a beer’s head should look like.
If the goal is to maximize a beer’s aromas and flavors, then a head is crucial to many beer
styles. Sorry, iceman. The foam atop a beer head is made up of proteins and sugars in a liquid
around a large quantity of gas. Foam is derived from the three major non-water ingredients in
beer: malted barley, hops, and yeast. Crucially, trapped within that foam are compounds
responsible for beer aroma and, by extension, beer flavor.
How much of a head to expect on a beer varies based on beer style. A high-ABV barleywine
or acidic Belgian gueuze might not have much of a head at all, while a hefeweizen or American
pale ale should boast a noticeable, persistent head. Generally, “one inch of foam tends to be
the guideline for a perfect pour,” says Livingston Hartley, a certified BJCP and Mead judge.
If you’re pouring a beer yourself, you can maximize your chances for getting a proper head
by holding the glass at a 45-degree angle and pouring the beer down the side of the glass
until it’s about halfway full, then turning the glass straight up and down and pouring
straight into its center.
A proper, mousse-like head atop a beer is considered an important mark of quality if you
wantto fully appreciate what’s in your glass. But some consumers, perhaps with memories
of college keggers still in their head, think any beer foam is a bad thing.
the crossroads of the beer world
The Best Beer Is? What??
When organizers of the Missouri Beer Fest in
Columbia, Missouri, announced the winner of the
people's choice beer award earlier this month,
more than a few people booed. But the results
proved unassailable: the winner received around
10% of the popular vote, way higher than
previous winners' 2-3%, and totally eclipsed all
of the runners up.
So what beer proved so offensive to attendees
and many of the 20,000-plus social media users
who viewed the official post?
It's Naturdays, a strawberry lemonade beer
brewed by Anheuser-Busch subsidiary Natural
Light. The beer itself is a sweet, accessible lager
released by the most reviled of all macro
breweries so it's easy to understand the anger
among those who appreciate good beer...
Even worse, it he Naturdays wasn't on tap. It was
poured from a can. Interestingly, it is sold only
in 30 packs generally to college age drinkers.
So what could have possibly compelled the
plurality of the 1500 beer drinkers in attendance
(admittedly in a Midwestern college town) to cast
their votes for THIS? Put simply surveyed voters
said the beer tastes "good".
The House That Pliny Built
When Russian River Brewing co-owners Natalie
and Vincent Cilurzo opened the doors to their
new Windsor CA facility last week, they expected
a crowd, but nothing too outrageous.Sure there
wo uld be an opening rush but it wouldn’t be
anything their new 260 space parking lot couldn’t
accommodate. Plus, the lot was built more for the
crowds associated with their Pliny the Younger
releases, not opening weekend for the 85,000-
square-foot brewery and restaurant
Within a few hours, 1,400 people showed up.“It
was incredible. Natalie said. Just last year its
footprint consisted of a small downtown Santa
Rosa brew pub, which remains open, and a
former Santa Rosa facility, they no longer use.
Russian River’s new facility has a 200-seat
restaurant, an outdoor beer garden, two bars, a
fireplace, mammoth Sycamore slab communal
tables, a tasting room and a gift shop. Tours of
the facility are available There are more than a
dozen beers on tap, including Pliny the Elder, a
pair of IPAs in Happy Hops and the Blind Pig, as
well as a special Windsor-inspired porter, among
other things. Outside of the craft beer, there are
eight wines available by the glass, though almost
everyone is going for the beer. It's that good.