International beer giant Stella Artois has announced that it is looking for Belgium's best draught beer pourer - a beer 'tapper' - with the relaunched Draught Masters competition.
After six years without a contest, the revived search will see a professional panel judge fresh blood on their technique and the art of pouring a perfect Stella Artois into the recognisable chalice glass.
"Beer on tap is and remains an important experience in the hospitality industry. People often choose their pub for the good beer. The pouring ritual is crucial to ensuring an optimal drinking experience. Competitions like this one highlight the importance of this," explained Julie Dejonghe, Brand Manager Stella Artois.
The judges for this year's edition include Tommy Goukens - World Draught Masters 2008 - and Filip Vanbeeck - a long-standing Draught Masters judge.
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Meanwhile, chef Jeroen De Pauw has also been brought in to "provide culinary inspiration to the participating hospitality outlets by making various recipes available," the press release explained.
"The whole event is also intended to give a shot in the arm to the catering industry after a difficult year," said Pieter Anciaux, Director of Horeca Belgium.
So how does it work?
Round 1: Calls on would-be-pros to show off the "9-Step Pouring Ritual" in a video sent to judges. These steps are, according to Stella:
1. The Purification: A cold-water bath to chill the chalice and sustain the head of the pour.
2. The Sacrifice: The first drops are sacrificed, a small price to ensure the freshest taste.
3. The Liquid Alchemy: The chalice is held at a 45-degree angle for the perfect combination of foam and liquid.
4. The Crown: Gracefully straightening the chalice, a perfect head is formed, sealing in the freshness.
5. The Removal: A smooth and fluid exit, while closing the nozzle.
6. The Skimming: A skimmer trims the head at a 45-degree angle, removing the large, loose bubbles.
7. The Judgement: Three centimetres of foam, no more and no less.
8. The Cleansing: A final dip in cold water for a brilliant chalice and stunning presentation.
9. The Bestowal: A moment to assure and admire a perfectly served Stella Artois.
Here's What it looks like when they all come together:
From all the videos, Stella will select the 50 best to continue to the next round.
Round 2: The contestants are called on to pour three perfect Stella's in a row, again on video. From these 50 candidates, 16 will be selected for the final.
The final: While the exact challenge hasn't been communicated yet, it will be held on 20 September in Den Hoorn, Leuven.
The Prize? In addition to the title of Belgium's best tapper, the winner will also receive an "exclusive dining experience at an exclusive location," as well as a party in the bar they work in, with Stella footing the bill.