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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Heineken Star Serve with Keith Nair @ GAB

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So what is the classic Heineken drinking experience? At the heart of the Heineken Star Serve programme is the Heineken Pouring Ritual. Five steps are all it takes to deliver the perfectly served Heineken draught beer for the quality Heineken drinking experience.

Although the perfect pint of Heineken can be achieved in 5 simple steps, mastering the art of pouring takes more than just a few tries. Bartenders all over Malaysia go through a comprehensive training that does not only hone their pouring skills but grooms them to be stars in the hospitality industry.

Last weekend I had the opportunity the attend the workshop held by Heineken in their GAB Brewery which was guided by Keith Nair, who holds the title of Heineken's Draught Master. A title which only 3 people in Malaysia holds.

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Heineken Star Serve
Launched in 2012, Star Serve is a global draught beer quality programme that aims to improve the quality of beer poured in outlets through a 360° approach that tackles every aspect of the on-premise draught beer process and experience.

So what are the five simple steps that keeps being mentioned?

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The Five Simple Steps. Rinse, Pour, Skim, Check and Serve.

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Keith Nair guiding us the methods to a perfect pour

Step 1 : The Rinse

The first step is always the easiest they way, but it's also the most important. Firstly the glass is dipped into icy cold water and thoroughly rinsed. The coldness of the rinsing water is very important as it lowers the temperature of the glass by 1 degree, as anyone who has ever drank beer knows that a cold beer is a good beer.

1_Clean

So how does one tell that their glass is sub-par in cleanliness? 

When beer is poured in, you'll notice that there will be pockets of bubbles forming around an area that isn't clean.

How do you tell if the glass used is cold?

Two methods can be used here. 1) Touch the glass with your hands, is it cold? If unsure ---> 2) Watch the foam at the top of the glass, if it collapses quickly most likely a room temperature glass was served to you my temperature defective friend.

Step 2 :  Pour

Firstly open the tap in a single motion and let it flow down to the basin to achieve a consistent flow. Then angle the glass at a 45 degrees and start pouring. Make sure the nozzle of the tap does not touch the beer or the glass when pouring as this will cause the foam to collapse quickly. Once your glass is almost full tilt the glass back straight as it's nearing fullness, making sure that nothing touches the tap. Your glass will now be full of foam at the top.

2_Pour

How do I know if my angle is correct when pouring?

If a Heineken glass is  used, you'd notice that the glass has a Parabolic design at the side that forms a horizontal line, which is actually an indicator of where the nozzle of the tap should be.



Step 3 : Skim

We're almost done, with the extra foam coming out of the glass you'll now have to use a skimmer and skim the excess foam at a 45 degree angle the moment when foam touches the rim of the glass. Remember to do it in one swift motion and not more. This is done to create surface tension that protects the beer from oxygen and thus preserving it's taste for a much longer time.

3_Skim

How does skimming create a protection for the foam?

The skimmer is dipped in a glass of water at all times, so when you skim the foam, you effectively create a layer of water on the foam and thus cutting off any oxygen from getting into the beer

Step 4: Check

Leave the glass of beer you just poured and skimmed for a bit, this is to let the foam sink back into the glass. Also make sure that it's not under the tap as sometimes droplets from the tap will ruin the protection you just crafted for your precious beer baby. After the foam has stabilize, it's time to check if it's at the correct amount.

If the bottom of the foam head sits on the shoulders of the Heineken Star. Congratulations, you have poured a perfect draught.

4_Check

Step 5 : Serve

Lay down a Heineken Beer Mat or coaster with the Heineken logo facing your guest. Pick up the glass of beer at the bottom and present the logo facing your guest(s). Hence the name, Heineken Star Serve

5_Serve

Some pictures from the Heineken Star Serve Workshop :

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Chou Yin, the first victim chosen by Keith to pour us the first beer, without guide. Check out the first glass and the second

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Her 2nd pour. 

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My first pour, not too bad I reckon. 

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Benjamin giving it a go, I reckon he's better being on the other side of the bar lol.
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There was also a pouring contest to see who had the best pouring skill that night. Unfortunately I didn't get into the top 5. A crate of beer was awarded to the Top 5 people. :(

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Shortly after the workshop concluded we were invited to check out the GAB bus.

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Was impressed with the inside of the bus as initially I thought it was just an ordinary bus. They had taps INSIDE the bus with a few different beers! 

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There was even a few sofa around, I would definitely love to go road tripping in this bus with a few mates. PLEASE MAKE THIS HAPPEN SOON HEINEKEN

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I also earned a pretty badge at the end of the workshop. #Macamyes

Oh by the way Heineken is currently holding a contest for their Star Serve campaign on their Facebook page where the Top 8 Virtual Pourers in Malaysia will receive an invite to a physical pour-off in the National Finals of the Heineken Star Serve Competition, where the winner of the pour-off will get an all expense paid trip to Amsterdam to witness the Heineken Global Bartender Finals in November.

The Heineken ‘Star Serve’ contest runs from 19 August – 20 September 2013. Simply head to Heineken’s Facebook page (http://on.fb.me/19xsc4Q) today and perfect your pour to earn your passport to the home of Heineken.


Although I've done a fair bit of drinking, I have never worked the taps behind a bar before and this workshop proved to be an eye opener to me and I will most definitely keep an eye out the next time the bartender pours me a pint of Heineken

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