Stella Artois Crowns A Winner
In front of over 700 cheering spectators and after a grueling head-to-head competition of draught craftsmanship at 99 Sudbury in Toronto, only one of 16 finalists from across the country was deemed the 2010 Stella Artois Canadian Draught Master. Hailing from Barhaven, Ontario, Marc Pronovost showed mastery of Stella Artois’ Nine-Step Pouring Ritual, crowning him the national champion and giving him a chance to compete on the world stage in October for the title of World Draught Master. This marks the 10th year that Stella Artois has held its quest to find Canada’s master of the perfect pour and only the second year the competition has been open to all beer drinkers rather than just bartenders and servers. In addition to bragging rights, Pronovost will have the opportunity to put his pint pouring skills to the test at the 2010 Stella Artois World Draught Master Competition in London, England on October 28.
In preparation for the Worlds and to get a first-hand understanding of the rich history of Stella Artois, the Canadian Draught Master will be given the full Stella Artois experience through an in-depth training session at the Stella Artois’ brewery in Leuven, Belgium. “Tonight has been truly an unbelievable and surreal experience,” said Marc Pronovost, 2010 Stella Artois Canadian Draught Master. “Throughout the competition my hands were steady and my head was clear – I kept my cool and I think that’s what set me ahead of the rest.”
Avril Maxwell, the 2009 Stella Artois World Draught Master, was one of the judges scoring each pint poured from the competitors. Alongside was an eclectic judging panel including Anthony Rose, Executive Head Chef from the Drake Hotel, Donnovan (DJ) Bennett from the Score and Fearless Fred from the Edge 102.1, where each and every step of the Nine-Step Pouring Ritual was assessed on a scale of 0 (poor, no pun intended!) to 10 (perfect) to determine who produced the picture perfect Stella Artois pint at completion. And although not judging, the 2009 Stella Artois Canadian Draught Master and second runner-up in the world, Joe Oppedisano has acted as mentor and trainer to the Canadian participants throughout this year’s competition, not to mention offering up his own personal tips and tricks. “Canada put on a great show,” said Avril Maxwell, 2009 Stella Artois World Draught Master from New Zealand. “I was really impressed by the caliber of the pouring skills overall, but Marc really mastered the technical components of the Nine-Step Pouring Ritual.”
Following Pronovost was second place winner, Steve Busby from Montreal, Quebec, and Sachin Seth from Halifax, Nova Scotia took home third place.
Wondering what it’s all about? Here’s a glimpse into Belgian Beer Culture. The Nine-Step Pouring Ritual includes steps such as ‘The Purification’, where the chalice is rinsed with cold water, allowing the glass to reach the same temperature as the beer; ‘The Beheading’ where the pourer gently cuts the head on a 45-degree angle as it flows over the edge of the glass, eliminating the larger bubbles that burst easily and accelerate the dissipation of the head; and ‘The Bestowal’ – the final step, when the Stella Artois is served on a coaster, accompanied by the drip catcher at the base to the patient patron.
Try it yourself in your own home, and maybe next year, you, too, will be ready to compete on the world stage.