It’s fair to say that beer tasting has never really enjoyed the same status as wine tasting. At least that’s what I thought until I headed to Old Billingsgate and the Stella Artois World Draught Masters competition last week. The event, which brought together the world’s 25 best beer pourers, gave me an education as to the beer brand’s time-honoured nine-step pouring ritual.
Nine steps to pouring a beer? Really? Well, yes – one of which involves washing up the glass after the beer has been poured to remove any remaining traces of residue (step seven; The Cleansing). It looks pretty tricky, especially by the time Stella number three or four has been knocked back. But it’s all very civilised, which isn’t necessarily the first thing you think of when the barman down the local pours your usual while commenting on the football.
The night belonged to US contestant Chris Myers, who was crowned 2010’s Stella Artois World Draught Master. After battling off competition in the heats, the quarter-finals and the semi-finals, the Wisconsin resident was awarded the coveted Stella Artois Chalice glass after perfecting the ultimate pour.
Hosted by Balls of Steel presenter Mark Bolan, Myers’ prize is something that would encourage most of use to learn Stella’s nine-step ritual. Working as an ambassador for the brand, Myers will visit ten countries over the next year to teach the world his knowledge and pint-pouring expertise.
Winning certainly wasn’t easy. Watched by the expert eyes of the panel of judges and an enthusiastic audience, Myers beat off competition from Australian candidate Kathleen Mullins and Belgian Keith Cuveele, who finished in second and third place respectively. With a theme based on French 60s cinema, the event was about as glamorous as beer drinking gets, with the house jazz band adding an air of sophistication to proceedings.
Stella Artois global marketing manager Alexander Lambrecht said the World Draught Masters competition is “integral” to the brand’s ongoing quest for the perfect beer taste – a journey that has taken the brand all over the world since the contest was launched in 1997.
“We are extremely proud that this year again, we were able to welcome finalists from around the world to compete in London,” he commented.
“Moreover, we wanted to create a global conversation with our consumers about the Stella Artois World Draught Masters competition by inviting people into the event via live streaming.”
That’s right – you didn’t have to be in the capital to watch the event, as the entire night was screened on Stellaartois.com in what was along the lines of The X-Factor for beer pouring. Rather than a record deal, Chris Myers will spend the next 12 months touring the world doing what he does best – pouring the perfect beer.
Written by Charlie Gilbert