Every time I walk into what is supposed to be a craft beer café and belly up to the bar, I am full of that kid-in-a-candy store feeling.
The excitement I feel - just as I order my perfect pint - is always accompanied by a certain beer-geek angst: What is a perfect pint?
In my opinion, the perfect pint is simply this: A beer-clean, room-temperature Imperial pint glass that is then filled with properly poured and properly tempered lager or ale that is capped off with a wonderful creamy head, which stands no taller than the width of two fingers or smaller than one (weissbier and real-ale being exceptions with weiss having a larger head and real-ale, a smaller one).
Sounds simple. Not too much to ask, especially if I am paying upwards of 6 bucks, right?
Finding the perfect pint in these United States is doable, but the achievement rivals such accomplishments as scoring 50-yard line tickets to the Super Bowl or having your flight depart on time from O'Hare or Newark.
The first obstacle is obvious. How many places do you know that serve "The Queen's Pint"? You see, in the beer world, a pint is of Imperial measure, which is 20 ounces, and most U.S. bars serve so-called pints that are more like 13 or 14 ounces.
This feat is achieved by the use of the "cheater pint glass," which is a glass as thick as Poindexter's spectacles and looks like it contains a lot of beer, but doesn't. In most European countries, beer is served in metric portions with proper liquid markings right on the glass and plenty of room left for head formation. We need to get some truth in advertising here!
Next we need to explore the concept of "beer-clean." Why doesn't just a "clean" glass work for beer? The simple answer is that beer is a persnickety and complex beverage.