Monday, December 17, 2012

Stella Artois! That fancy beer!

I was chatting up with the cashier at Smith's Marketplace a few weeks ago when I was purchasing stuff for the Private Selections BzzCampaign. He was interest in Bzz Agent and asked if we ever had beer campaigns.  I laughed and was like "Dude, we're in Utah... no free booze." And then to my surprise I was accepted into the Stella Artois BzzCampaign later that week! Crazy!! No free beer of course but I did get this awesome chalice to drink the beer out of. And a pamphlet about the 9 step pouring ritual. I had this whole post written up so you could better understand Utah liquor laws and you can go check it out here. No need to weigh down this review with all that stuff. So onto my review...

An important thing you should know: I hate beer. I mean, I hate-HATE it. I have tried it many times and many times I think it just tastes like beer. And I don't like it. I wish I did cause it's cheaper than the distilled spirits, but oh well. And I work for a micro-brewery so I need to know about beer. I can tell you the difference between ales and lagers. I can tell you how it's made and I can describe it fairly well, but I'm not going to lie. It really tastes bad to me. So when I got into this campaign, I knew the perfect person to review this brew: my husband. He like-LIKEs beer, so it was a match made in heaven.

Now for authenticity's sake, I did try it. And it tastes like beer. But I could tell that it was hoppy and I knew it was a lager (meaning it's a bottom fermenting beer that is brewed at colder temps for a longer time, like 3-4 weeks). And I knew it was Belgian. And I knew that everyone mispronounces the name (not the Stella part). It's Are-twaa. I didn't know that it was initially brewed as a seasonal beer or that there's a 9 step pouring ritual to enjoy this beer. Let me take you through it!

After our chalice arrived in the mail (and you need a chalice to drink this beer so you can better appreciate the odors and taste of the beer that in enhanced by the shape and style of the chalice) I needed to head to the liquor store for some beer. So with infant in arms (classy, I know) I headed over to pick up a 6 pack. Our liquor store lets you buy individual bottles, but since my hubby likes some beer, I picked up a 6 pack. Each bottle was $1.99 and then there's tax on top. The GM was my cashier and I told her about how excited I was to get a chalice in the mail from BzzAgent. She knows my husband and is anxious to hear what he thinks about it.

Got home and took some photos so show you what Stella looks like incase you have never heard of it.

Right next to our chilled chalice. Notice the stem of the glass. That makes it so your hands don't warm the beer. Pretty smart. So on to this 9-step poring ritual. I think it works better if you were pouring it from a draft system but in Utah you can't have high point beer on tap so bottles it is!

1. First things first - make sure it's chilled. Should be between 36 and 38 degrees Fahrenheit. No one wants a warm beer. 

2. The Purification - make sure that class is clean, clean, clean! Wanna know how to tell if your glass isn't clean? The bubbles will cling to the sides of the glass after you have poured it. No bubbles? Clean glass.

Here's me pouring water of the freshly cleaned glass

3. The Unveiling - opening that bottle of beer. Hearing the "cshh" as the gas escapes.

4. The Alchemy Begins - pouring a beer is a science. You can't just pour straight into the glass or you'll produce too much foam. You can't pour too slow or too fast. Truthfully, it's easier for me to pour from a tap. It took us 3 beers to get a head on the beer. My husband didn't complain about that :)

They key is holding the glass at a 45 degree angle and then tilting it straight up as you near the end of the pour to create the head of the beer.

5. The Crown - not a bad pour if I say so myself. Creating the head of the beer helps release the different flavors of the beer.

6. The Beheading - Time to get rid of that unsightly glob of foam at the top of the beer. What better thing to use than a knife :)

7. The Judgement - Making sure there's the right amount of head. Ideal is about an inch. I got this a little large, but it's close enough. 

8. The Cleansing - You should rinse the bottle of the glass so people aren't holding onto a beer covered glass. I didn't get a pic of this, but I did it :)

9. The Bestowal - Presenting the Stella in all it's glory.

There's my small pictorial guide to the proper way to pour a Stella Artois. Will we do it again with those steps? Probably not. And my husband's review of the glass? He liked that using the stem to hold the beer made it so his beer didn't lose the chill as quickly, but he didn't really notice a difference in taste. I think he really just wants me to get another 6 pack so he can try again :)

If you check out this site you can watch Stella's video for their pouring ritual. They're pouring it from a draft system, which makes some of these steps a lot easier. You can also get your own glass! Then (if you don't live in Utah) the next time you head out to a bar, ask them to pour you a Stella the right way....and in the right glass!

I'm a BzzAgent!
While I didn't get the beer free,
 I did get the glass free for me to try and review.

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