Why Did the Craft Beer Coach Cross the Road?
To drink free beer silly.
And for the record, I have a less than favorable view of "corporate initiatives" after spending ten years in pharmaceuticals. But since getting certified as a life skills coach I am really working hard to suspend judgment. You simply don't know unless you try. There simply was no reason for me not to get the first-hand experience before figuring out what I thought about it. At least, large beer corporative initiatives will likely involve drinking beer.
I still think Heineken is a delicious and enjoyable beer. When a place only has macros on tap and it includes Heineken, Heineken will win that battle every time. I do try to avoid those places but sometimes it still happens…even in 2012! For the record, my favorite macro is Carlsberg.
So it really wasn't just for the free beer. I also went to get Heineken's perspective.
What is Craft?
There is a bit of debate about this around Sam Adams and such lately. I remind him that officially part of it has to do with production volume, that it is craft if it is up to 6 million barrels per year. But I question the production limit stipulation. The definition of "craft" itself makes no determination of a production limit. It's any artistic skill, and it's often defined as especially being done by hand. That would make homebrewers the craftiest of craft beer.
Here is where my head is lately after recent debates about whether or not Sam Adams is still "craft?"
I would pose the thought that if a company does not compromise the quality of its product in the interest of cutting costs to increase profit, then what does a production limit have to do with it? Even that doesn't really fly with the definition of craft. Playing devil's advocate here- what if the company uses cheaper ingredients but does so by hand? Not likely to happen because manual labor is so expensive, but what if I used adjuncts in a brew and did it all by hand? By definition of "craft" am I more craft than a craft brewery that uses machinery?
The definition of craft alone really says nothing about what medium you use. It's all about how you do it. A craft person can use wood, paper, metal, etc…Is one craftier than the other if they are all handmade?
The Heineken Senior Director tells me that Heineken has the same recipe it's had since the beginning. I don't know this information so I would have to find proof of that.
Here is a link to the Brewers Association definition of a craft brewer.
Hey, I am open-minded and I want to know what you think? Share your thoughts below.
The Perfect Pourhere.
I want to focus on the step that stands out from how a beer is typically served. That is the skim. I was asked by Franck to step behind the bar to pour two beers- one as it would typically be served with foam to the rim and unskimmed; the other filling the glass until the foam begins to build past the rim and then quickly skimming off the top layer of foam.
Here are my observations.
1. The appearance- When the head is skimmed the resultant head is a much tighter and denser head. After the skim, the head sort of re-energizes to form almost a cap on the beer just above the rim. It is visually impressive. We were told that this preserves the beer better than a typical pour and I have to think that it does because the head is just so tight and dense. According to Franck, skimming removes any remaining oxygen pushed up into the head by the CO2 and it also removes the most bitter flavor of the hops.
2. The taste- In my experience the skimmed beer had a much more balanced taste and fuller mouthfeel. The unskimmed beer felt flatter and the taste had a bit more unpleasant bitterness.
What can I say? I am not selling my craft beer soul to Heineken. They will have to pry the 750 ml bottle of fine craft beer from my cold dead hands but as far as the Perfect Pour, the proof was in the pudding. A couple of other #beerbloggers attendees who attended the Heineken event say the taste difference was as noticeable as the Speigelau Glass tasting session at the recent conference.
What do you think about skimming a draft beer? Let's discuss below.
Garrett Oliver recently said, "The purpose of beer is people."
If we are to get any purpose out of this post we need people to talk. Share your thoughts below.