on the coast

my notes from last night's on the coast beer column:

the perfect pour:
there really is a right way to pour beer!
first of all, the basics.
drink out of a glass, not a bottle or a can
and make sure the glass is clean - hand-washing and air drying are recommended (hand-washing to avoid soap or food residue from the dishwasher - also keeps any branding on the glass fresh longer - and air drying so you don't get lint or grease from a dishtowel in the glass)
the quick answer to why drinking out of a glass is better than a bottle or a can is that you get to appreciate the appearance of the beer as well as the flavour and aromas.
also handy is the ability to control the amount of settled yeast sediment from a bottle-conditioned beer that ends up in your mouth - some styles of beer are all about including the yeast (like a hefeweisen), if you pour from the bottle into the glass you'll mix the yeast in nicely. if you don't like yeast, or are drinking a style that is better off leaving the yeast in the bottle, you can leave the bottom half inch or so of beer in the bottle as that's where the yeast tends to hang out.
there are also a few myths about how to serve beer
pop quiz:
frosty mugs, good or evil?
a pour that causes lots of head, good or evil?
answers: frosty mugs are evil, pours that cause a thicker head are good
if you aren't drinking at a craft beer establishment, those might be the exact opposite of what you're being served
so why are frosty mugs evil? isn't it nice to have cold beer?
cold being a relative term, yes it is nice to have a beer that is chilled. but not too cold! beer should be served cool, not cold. generally lagers at about 5-7C and ales at 10-12C, stouts and strong ales at 14-16C (see below for ratebeer.com's comprehensive list of all styles by suggested serving temperature).
a frosted glass makes the beer too cold to taste. when a beer is too cold all the flavours skip right past your taste buds instead of dancing on them! the aroma is kept down as well, meaning you can't even rely on your nose to tell your taste buds what they're missing. if you're drinking good beer, you don't want to lose out on any of the flavour and aroma.
also, who wants to have their beer watered down? that can happen with a frosty mug. so just say no to frosty mugs!
why would you want head on your beer? why not pour it gently out of the bottle so that there's no head between you and that tasty beer?
again, its about flavours and aromas. if you pour your beer more vigorously you introduce oxygen into the beer and unleash the aromas. you also get rid of some of the carbon dioxide, which if it doesn't leave the glass before you drink it, will end up in your belly and have to make its escape from there!
an ideal head is half an inch to an inch high
to get the right amount of head, begin pouring with the glass at a 45 degree angle. when the glass is just over half way full, tilt it to 90 degrees and continue filling. this second half of the pour should produce the head. if the beer you are pouring is a very carbonated one (like a hefeweisen) and you see a head form right away, keep the glass at 45 degrees and pour the rest of the beer gently into the glass. if you are pouring a lambic or other style with very little carbonation you should very quickly pour it into a glass at 90 degrees to get what little head you can out of it. its not rocket science, but it might take a few pours before you get the feel for when to move from the 45 degrees to the 90. so practice, practice, practice! pour lots of beer!
the guinness pour:
brewmaster fergal murray says its a ritual, its theatre, and should be done with reverance
there are six steps: one, use a dry, clean 20oz tulip shaped pint glass. two, hold glass at a 45 degree angle under the tap - but not touching the tap. three fill the glass up to the 3/4 mark. four, let it settle, the bubbles will form a creamy head. five fill up the glass and top it off. six, drink with your eyes, then your mouth.
alas, there isn't time to get into which style of glassware fits with which style of beer, but if you're dying to know, beeradvocate.com has quite a comprehensive list!

and for this week's picks i give you dine out suggestions:
dine out vancouver runs until february 3rd

the donnelly group pubs are all offering an $18 three course dine out menu
(the bimini, the calling, cinema, hooker's green, the new oxford, the butcher & bullock, the lamplighter and library square)
bitter tasting room also has a $18 three course menu
abigail's party in kitsilano and tap & barrel at olympic village both have a $28 three course menu
both rogues, waterfront station and broadway, and steamworks have a $28 menu
the yaletown brewpub also weighs in with a $28 menu, and includes a beer pretzel on the appy course
on january 30th for $59 you can have dinner at rogue waterfront at 6 and go to the PUSH festival show 'winners and losers' at goldcorp centre for the arts at 8
tonight in kits and tomorrow night on main street at rocky mountain flatbread company you can attend a beer and pizza making night for $25. stanley park brewing is providing the beers. these events are fundraisers for tennyson elementary school.

from ratebeer.com:
Very cold (0-4C/32-39F): Any beer you don’t actually want to taste. Pale Lager, Malt Liquor, Canadian-style Golden Ale and Cream Ale, Low Alcohol, Canadian, American or Scandinavian-style Cider.
Cold (4-7C/39-45F): Hefeweizen, Kristalweizen, Kölsch, Premium Lager, Pilsner, Classic German Pilsner, Fruit Beer, brewpub-style Golden Ale, European Strong Lager, Berliner Weisse, Belgian White, American Dark Lager, sweetened Fruit Lambics and Gueuzes, Duvel-types
Cool (8-12C/45-54F): American Pale Ale, Amber Ale, California Common, Dunkelweizen, Sweet Stout, Stout, Dry Stout, Porter, English-style Golden Ale, unsweetened Fruit Lambics and Gueuzes, Faro, Belgian Ale, Bohemian Pilsner, Dunkel, Dortmunder/Helles, Vienna, Schwarzbier, Smoked, Altbier, Tripel, Irish Ale, French or Spanish-style Cider
Cellar (12-14C/54-57F): Bitter, Premium Bitter, Brown Ale, India Pale Ale, English Pale Ale, English Strong Ale, Old Ale, Saison, Unblended Lambic, Flemish Sour Ale, Bière de Garde, Baltic Porter, Abbey Dubbel, Belgian Strong Ale, Weizen Bock, Bock, Foreign Stout, Zwickel/Keller/Landbier, Scottish Ale, Scotch Ale, American Strong Ale, Mild, English-style Cider 
Warm (14-16C/57-61F): Barley Wine, Abt/Quadrupel, Imperial Stout, Imperial/Double IPA, Doppelbock, Eisbock, Mead


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