Trend Alert for Beer Drinkers: Foam Is Now in Vogue

A new mania for a thick, frothy pour is coming to a head.

Photo by: Pavle Taborosi ©Taborosi Photography

Pavle Taborosi, Taborosi Photography

Add a new item to your long list of things (red meat, coffee, red wine) that are bad ... until they’re good: beer foam.

Yes, that frothy head at the top of your beer glass, long a thing you didn’t want – probably because more foam meant less beer – is now being portrayed as the mark of a fine brewsky. So declareth the New York Times.

“Beer is the only beverage that makes and keeps foam,” Ashleigh Carter, the head brewer and an owner of Bierstadt Lagerhaus, a Denver brewery where bartenders spend five minutes slowly building a thick, creamy head on every glass they serve, told the Times in a recent trend piece. “It speaks to the quality of the beer.”

According to Times writer Joshua M. Bernstein, foam is good because, among other things ...

... the way bartenders usually serve draft beer, placing the spigot smack dab against the side of the glass while pouring, in order to mitigate a build-up of foam, is “unsanitary.”

... beer foam bubbles “capture a beer’s fleeting fragrances, slowly releasing scents with each pop,” something that is lost when beer is poured to eliminate foam.

... some European beers, like Guinness, have long emphasized the importance of foam.

... a good head can be the mark of a clean glass: “Lingering fingerprints, lipstick and detergent on badly rinsed glasses can make a beer’s head deflate like a punctured balloon — a telltale sign is tiny bubbles clinging to the grime on the walls of a glass instead of rising to the top,” Bernstein writes.

... it’s aesthetically pleasing – yes, in terms of visuals (Hello, Instagram!), but even beyond that. Speaking to the Times, Portland, Oregon, brewer Charlie Devereux compared foam to “the whipped cream on a sundae.” He added, “You can make a sundae without whipped cream on top, but it’s so much better with the whipped cream.”

I mean, when he puts it like that ...

Photo: iStock

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