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“POURING YOUR HEART OUT . . .” or “How to Draw the Perfect Glass of Beer.”

When I was a youngster, I used to be in awe of how the local “tavern keep” could draw a stein of beer and always present it to my uncle with the perfect foamy head. It was always just right — not flat and “bald” looking, and never flowing down the outside of the glass.

Good ol’ Uncle Retch had converted an old Westinghouse refrigerator (with rust on the sides and an eyelet latch to keep the door closed) into a beer tapper. That piece of delicate machinery was kept out in his lean-to, next to the privy. (He always said it was “lectric,” and we had to be careful not to accidently unplug it from the current bush out back, less his brew would lose its chill.)

Well, Uncle Retch would regularly offer dinner guests a beer from his tapper, always served in delicate canning jars. But in spite of the fine glassware, his brews just didn’t measure up. He never could get his “head” on right.

Feeling the need to better the footsteps of my forefathers, I have chosen to devote my life to researching beer foam so future generations can pour the perfect 2.5 fingers of foam that will last for exactly 5.3 minutes in the glass. I vow to spend my life in local laboratories in search of fantastic foam facts. My goal is to  find the answer to the perplexing question, “Do I tilt the glass or pour the beer straight down the center?” What I’ve found thus far:

• Pouring beer down the side (inside) of a glass held at a 60° angle will give me the best control over how much head I end up with.

• Pour naturally flat beers directly into the center of the glass. This will wake up the CO2, providing adequate head space for rich foam.

• Lastly, bottle-conditioned brews have a small mat of yeast on the bottom of the bottle. If you’re a health nut and depend on your beer to give you your daily requirements of vitamins, pour out all the beer except the last half-inch. Roll the bottle around the bar or shake it gently to liquefy the yeast. Pour the remaining beer into your glass and enjoy. If you’re not a fanatic vitamin nut, or you don’t like “chewy” beer, leave that last half-inch in the bottle.  I will keep you informed as my quest for higher beer education continues.

ASK MR. BEERHEAD:  LAURA BURISH OF VERMIN HILLS, MS SHARED:

“AS BOTH A MOVIE BUFF AND A DEDICATED BEER DRINKER, I’M AMAZED AT HOW OFTEN BEER SHOWS UP ON THE BIG SCREEN!”

Two of my favorites: A scene from “Jaws” comes to mind. Beer was the perfect prop when Quint (played by Robert Shaw) crumpled his beer can to show his dominance over bookish Hooper (played by Richard Dreyfuss), who then defiantly crumpled his Styrofoam cup. And remember in “Animal House,” when Bluto (John Belushi) smashes a beer can against his forehead? The film was set in 1962, before aluminum cans hit the market. Had they used an authentic steel can in that scene, he’d have been knocked cold. Great movie moments!

SANTA FE BREWERY – Santa Fe, New Mexico Featured Beer from Santa Fe Brewery: State Pen Porter & Santa Fe Pale Ale

A multiple award winner, dark, bold, State Pen Porter was Voted Best of the Rockies two times — truly proud moments!  It’s drinkable and flavorful, and chock full of nuts and chocolate! England’s first national beer, porters drank it for its nourishment. Dark and robust, top fermented porters are excellent with bold flavors like barbecue, smoked or grilled meats, bittersweet chocolate, robust cheeses.

Santa Fe Pale Ale is not your typical American Ale. It’s full-bodied, with a healthy 3 hop varieties nose; malty with a classic hop bite.  Another noteworthy top fermented ale, this one is a full-bodied, hoppy beverage, a bit different than the classic beer style of yesteryear. We’re sure you’ll like the well-balanced finish. Serve at cellar temperature with spicy foods, shellfish, fried chicken, pizza, or firm cheeses like Manchego and Cheddar.

FLYING FISH BREWERY  – Somerdale, New Jersey Featured Beer from Flying Fish Brewery: Abbey Dubbel & Red Fish Red Ale

Your favorite Beer of the Month Club is pleased to introduce you to two of their wide range of year-round and seasonal specialties. The key word that describes their beers is “balance.” Flying Fish is a seven-time medal winner at the Great American Beer Festival (more than any other NJ brewery), plus so many other awards.

Abbey Dubbel, a silver award winner, is exceptionally complex,  with an immense head, fruity nose and generous body. Malty, with a clean almond finish. “Wonderful,” wrote Michael Jackson. This complex ale boasts interwoven flavors that deliver malt in the middle, with a dry almond finish complete with a slight alcohol warmth. Nearly a wine, it has a lot of the qualities of a fine Burgundy. Serve with smoked and very rich foods, cheeses and sushi. (The sweetness in this top-fermented beer pairs incredibly well with the saltiness in select foods.)

Red Fish is a hoppy red ale with a robust piney nose, compliments of the Columbus, Chinook and Cascade hops in the recipe. Usually subtle in flavor, Red Ales are  made with lots of lager-style hops. The red color comes from Crystal malt, crystallized and caramelized before being added to the brew.  Enjoy with beef brisket, burgers, grilled pork.

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Tracie Burket
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