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World Draught Masters
October 27, 2012 - Swank, style, and a seemingly limitless supply of Belgian lager were on tap when Stella Artois brought the 2012 World Draught Masters Global Championships to Montreal on October 25 at the Chalet du Mont-Royal located atop Mount Royal in the heart of the city.
The World Draught Masters is essentially a bartending face-off, an annual competition that debuted in 1996 with one goal in mind: crowning the master of the perfect pour. Held in Stella's hometown of Leuven, Belgium the first 12 years of the event, the World Draught Masters went mobile in 2009, having since made its way to New York, London and Buenos Aires. But in 2012, Montreal set the stage for 21 bartenders from as many nations, from Cayman Islands to Thailand to New Zealand, as they duked it out one-on-one in a tournament format.
Canada's World Draught Masters finalist at the 2012 edition was Montreal native Jonathan Terninck, who explained to me in an interview that it was a serendipitous fluke that... he competed in the first place, having been out of the bartending scene for close to a decade.
But even Terninck's reawakened skills and subsequent winning streak weren't enough to beat out Belgian competitor Allaine Schaiko, a gentlemen who's been working in the trade since he was 16 years old, has poured thousands of pints, and coincidentally hails from Stella Artois' homebase, a city which refers to itself as the “capital of beer.”
World Draught Masters: How It Works
Participants are positioned face-to-face on a mobile bar platform and then must pour two pints of lager performing the Stella Artois 9-step pouring ritual. Bartenders are then judged on the state of the final product in addition to how well they executed each step. The bartender deemed World Draught Master then spends the next year traveling the globe as a Stella Artois ambassador, teaching others how to perform the 9-step ritual (seen below).
Step 1: Purification
The glass—Stella Artois refers to its custom-built goblet as a chalice, and there's a reason it's shaped that way—is cleaned and then rinsed with cold water three times. This helps the chalice reach the same temperature as the beer.
View Photo of the Purification
Step 2: The Sacrifice
The tap is opened swiftly to let out the first jet of foam out before pouring beer in the chalice.
Step 3: The Liquid Alchemy
Beer is poured into the chalice tilted at a 45-degree angle in order to produce the ideal beer to foam ratio.
Step 4: The Crown
Once the beer is almost fully poured, the chalice is straightened and then lowered relative to the tap to encourage extra foam formation. Stella Artois claims this step is crucial because the foam head, or crown, prevents the beer from coming into contact with the air, thus retaining a fresher flavor when served.
Step 5: The Removal
The tap is closed as swiftly as it's opened and the chalice is removed immediately. Not so much as one drip is allowed in the glass lest it speed up the dissolution of the foam head.
Step 6: The Beheading
Any bit of foam head peaking above the edge of the chalice is removed with a knife. The blade is held at a 45-degree angle, swept over the glass in a swift motion, effectively removing the larger foam bubbles, which, if left untouched, make the head dissipate faster. The longer the foam stays in the glass, the longer the beer tastes fresh.
View Photo of the Beheading
Step 7: The Judgement
The foam is examined to ensure it's 2 fingers (3cm) thick, thick enough to keep the beer from coming into contact with the air and becoming stale.
View photo of The Judgement
Step 8: The Cleansing
The bottom and sides of the chalice are rinsed in cold water, removing any beer residue.
Step 9: The Bestowal
A drip catcher is positioned on the bottom of the chalice's stem and the glass is then placed on a coaster.Continue to 2 of 15 below.
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Interview With Canada's 2012 Master of the Pour Jonathan Terninck
After catching the 2012 edition of the Stella Artois World Draught Masters, an annual competition seeking out the best executor of the Belgian 9-step pouring ritual, I had a chance to sit down with Canadian champion Jonathan Terninck, if only to find out how someone who hasn't bartended in almost a decade became Canada's Master of the Pour almost overnight, competing against the crème of the world circuit barely a month later.
Evelyn Reid: Okay. The first thing I want to know about is how did you end up here at the World Masters? When I first asked you which restaurant or bar you represent, you said “none.”
Jonathan Terninck: My path has been very different [than the the other competitors]. I worked, in the past, at one of the world's most prestigious hotel chains. But that was back in 2003.
Evelyn Reid: Which one?
Jonathan Terninck: The Ritz-Carlton.
Evelyn Reid: Right here in Montreal?
Jonathan Terninck: That's correct. Then I switched to studying public relations and I was... a guest recognition manager at [the Ritz] and then I switched to working at the Board of Trade of Metropolitain Montreal, and from there, I went on to working on business development mandates for Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton. But I always kept that passion for food and beverage. It's also a tradition [in the family]. My mom is Belgian, my father is from France, they immigrated here in 1976 and it's in the culture: good food, good beverage and of course, Belgian beer. It's an honor to be here.
Evelyn Reid: But how did you end up here at the World Draught Masters? You just spontaneously decided almost a decade later, “hey, I want to compete this year?”
Jonathan Terninck: It was even more random than that actually. I had a friend who invited me. He said, “there's going to be this evening with Stella Artois, there's gonna be good charcuterie and some Stella ... you wanna come?” I was like, “of course I wanna come.” From there on, some people related to the evening asked if we wanted to participate in a contest. I said “with pleasure.” So I got involved, and I just kept making it past all the rounds, and before you know it, I'm the Quebec champion being asked “do you want to be the Canadian champion? Do you want to go to Toronto and continue the adventure?”
Evelyn Reid: Where was the original competition in Montreal?
Jonathan Terninck: It was at Hambar about a month ago. But you know, this is a passion more than it is a career choice.
Evelyn Reid: And a complete fluke!
Jonathan Terninck: And I would have loved to have been a Stella Artois ambassador for a year.
Evelyn Reid: How far were you able to get in the competition tonight?
Jonathan Terninck: Not far enough!
Evelyn Reid: [Laughter]
Jonathan Terninck: Not far enough. In the second round, I was playing against tonight's winner, the Belgian competitor Allaine Schaiko. And this young man has been working in bars since he was 16 and don't quote me on these numbers but I don't know if it was 250,000 beers he's poured in his life? But I've poured maybe 70 Stellas in my life, more in the last few days, but still. [Allaine] is really amazing. He gets every little detail right. When I saw I going against him in the second round? I wish I would have met him in the last round. I really thought this was a title I could win and bring back to Canada. But it's an honor to compete against somebody who's so good.
Evelyn Reid: So what's next for Canada's Master of the Pour?
Jonathan Terninck: I'm exploring different avenues, I'm thinking of opening my own public relations firm or getting back into business development. But I think I'm going to take a bit of time off for myself first.Continue to 3 of 15 below.
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Why Are You Supposed to Drink Stella Artois From a Chalice?Andrew Sneyd, Global Vice President of Stella Artois (above) on why the pilsner lager is best drunk from its custom-made chalice:
“Well, Stella Artois is a lager with a slightly pronounced bitterness and so we want you to be able to taste that to be able to really appreciate the Saaz hops. So the opening of the chalice is specifically designed to let the nose take in the aroma of the Saaz hops. And do you notice the little star right here? That's obviously connected to the name, Stella, which is Latin for “star” because it was first brewed for Christmas. So the town of Leuven, Belgium, created the beer as a special edition just for Christmas. And the chalice has a stem, which keeps the beer colder longer since you're not touching the glass itself with your hands.”
On why Belgium is synonymous with beer:
“One of the reasons why Belgium is the center of beermaking is ... they used to think there were only three ingredients in beer. You needed malt. You needed to have water... obviously. And hops, which is the “spice” of beer. It really lets the flavor of the beer come alive. So you have the hops, the malt and the water and they thought that was it. That's what you needed to make beer. All you needed to do then was put this mix outside at a certain time of year and the gods would decide if you would have beer or not. What they didn't know is that yeast strains float in the air through some areas of Belgium, landing in these pools they left outside. If the winds weren't blowing the right way, then the pools weren't 'blessed by the gods'. There are still a few places in Belgium that make [this kind of] spontaneously fermented beer.”Continue to 4 of 15 below.
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World Draught Masters 2012 Photos
Above: Hong Kong champion Melton Delfin executing Step 7 of the Stella Artois 9-step ritual, judging the foam's thickness. Standard dictates it should be 2 fingers (3cm) thick, thick enough to keep the beer from coming into contact with the air and becoming stale. Delfin made it as a far as the semi-finals, beating out the 2012 Masters strongest contestant, Belgian Allaine Schaiffe, in an earlier round.Continue to 5 of 15 below.
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World Draught Masters 2012 PhotosAbove: crowned champion of the 2012 World Draught Masters Global Championships Allaine Schaiko of Belgium showing judge and Stella Artois Global Vice-President Andrew Sneyd the fruits of his pour. Schaiko reportedly won for his consistency and near perfect scores.Continue to 6 of 15 below.
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World Draught Masters 2012 PhotosAbove: Charles Mudd (left) of Australia and Allaine Schaiko (right) of Belgium go head to head in the World Draught Masters 2012 finals.Continue to 7 of 15 below.
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World Draught Masters 2012 PhotosAbove: About.com's Evelyn Reid surrounded by Stella Artois promotional models.Continue to 8 of 15 below.
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World Draught Masters 2012 PhotosAbove: Hong Kong's Melton Delfin (left) executing "The Beheading," Step 6 of Stella Artois'9-step pouring ritual. Any bit of foam head peaking above the edge of the chalice is removed with a knife. The blade is held at a 45-degree angle, swept over the glass in a swift motion, effectively removing the larger foam bubbles, which, if left untouched, make the head dissipate faster. The longer the foam stays in the glass, the longer the beer tastes fresh. On the right is soon-to-be champion of the 2012 World Draught Masters Global Championships, Belgium's Allaine Schaiko.Continue to 9 of 15 below.
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World Draught Masters 2012 PhotosAbove: Australia's Charles Mudd (left) and Belgium's Allaine Schaiko awaiting the final judgment.Continue to 10 of 15 below.
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World Draught Masters 2012 PhotosAbove: About.com's Evelyn Reid and Toro Magazine's Scott Tavener at the 2012 World Draught Masters Global Championships at the Chalet du Mont-Royal in Montreal.Continue to 11 of 15 below.
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World Draught Masters 2012 PhotosAbove: Australia's Charles Mudd (left) congratulates Belgium's Allaine Schaiko for winning against him in the finals at the 2012 World Draught Masters at the Chalet du Mont-Royal in Montreal. Allaine Schaiko is crowned Master of the Pour.Continue to 12 of 15 below.
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World Draught Masters 2012 PhotosAbove: Canadian World Draught Master champion Jonathan Ternincke with About.com's Evelyn Reid.Continue to 13 of 15 below.
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World Draught Masters 2012 PhotosAbove: beer ice cream made from Leffe Brune ale served with chocolate creme and Belgian speculoos, as served at a special pre World Draught Masters event at the Guilde Culinaire in Montreal. The end result was surprisingly delicious, so much so that I would buy this ice cream flavor if it was mass marketed.Continue to 14 of 15 below.
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World Draught Masters 2012 PhotosAbove: spiced pork belly confit served with Leffe Blonde Ale gravy and a side of pureed parsnips with truffle bits, glazed vegetables and spiced foie gras cromesquis, as served at a special pre World Draught Masters event at the Guilde Culinaire in Montreal. Also a surprisingly succulent experience given that my prior experiences with pork belly left loads to be desired.Continue to 15 of 15 below.
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World Draught Masters 2012 PhotosAbove: princess scallops with Stella Artois jelly as served at a special pre World Draught Masters event at the Guilde Culinaire in Montreal. Again, a spot-on blend of flavors. Would be nice to see more chefs incorporating beer into their cuisine.