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Passion 4 Beer

Heineken Taste-Off
Heineken Taste-Off

PR Guru and Fellow Beer Blogger  Stephanie Jerzy was kind enough to send me an invite to this event last Wednesday August 22.  Heineken’s Global Master Pourer, Franck Evers, lead the event at Heineken USA’s NYC Office in Midtown East.
I was slightly delayed in my cab due to other incapable drivers heading crosstown, so I made it minutes after he began.
Franck is one of the most entertaining and hilarious instructors one could ask for – he constantly engaged everyone to answer questions, offer opinions and of course be part of the event.  Everyone who wanted a shot to try pouring off the draft line got one!  For the record, I failed miserably.
Heineken and some of the other brands represented at the bar were all ones I grew up with in my craft beer life.  If memory serves, most of the time the Heineken I consumed was either a) warm and out of the bottle; b) poured into plastic or styrofoam glasses; or likely poured at establishments that cared more about making money hand over fist than really treating the beer or the customers buying them with any real respect.  Despite all that, it is still one of the brands I can go to in a midst of other American macros because it is true to the word “refreshment”.
Franck taught us a lot of the technical elements that Cicerone Certified Beer Servers learn.  For example how to tell if glassware is really “beer clean” as well as other serving no-no’s that will either affect the taste of the beer, the customer’s bar experience, or just being plain unsanitary.  The experience felt as if it could have gone directly after our Spiegelau experience from the Beer Bloggers Conference this year.
Choice of glassware is important for sure, as the higher levels of carbonation in Heineken need to be emphasized to showcase the crispness and dryness of the brand.  Tilting the glass, filling it to the brim, as well as skimming off the head were all taught with a real purpose: the experience.  Check out more information about The Perfect Pour  here.  The image shown at the top of this post showed what really articulated Franck’s points for me.  Both had perfect pours up until the point of skimming the head.  The one that was left with no skimming did not showcase the beer’s ingredients as well and left an  acrid and awkward aftertaste.  The beauty and retention of the head of the beer also differed.
Can you tell which one was which?
Franck also pointed out that so many bartenders do not take their time to care for the beer or customers as I mentioned before.  He made it a point to keep his attention on the “customer” even while he was accomplishing perfect pour after perfect pour.  This eye contact truly makes a connection with the consumer and will lead to bigger tips!
I want to thank Stephanie, Adam Feigen of Heineken USA, and of course Franck for a terrific time and for the tasty pub grub to pair with some cold ones.  I also had a chance to connect with other employees in the Brand Action Team and Heineken families as well as Joseph Callender aka Craft Beer Coach.  People can knock the “corporate” lifestyle a little bit, but I think that the other participants had as much fun while learning as I did.

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