Fernando Iglesias, president of the Estrella Galicia Draught Beer Pulling Championship jury, gives us the keys to a well-served beer.
A total of 47 aspirants registered to participate in the Basque Country phase of the Estrella Galicia Draught Beer Pulling Championship, which is set to take place on Monday 1 December from 10am at the Hotel Carlton in Bilbao. Among them are caterers representing all the provinces of the Basque Country, of which around 20% are women. After an initial selection process, 30 will participate in the Championship.
The Estrella Galicia Draught Beer Pulling Championship is a regional phase that will allow the winner to compete for the Spanish title at the final in Madrid in April. The objective of the championship is to promote beer culture and tradition, the values of beer as a product of excellence within the food and beverage sector and recognise bartenders’ work as a fundamental link in the distribution chain of Estrella Galicia products.
The jury will analyse each exercise, awarding points according to previously established parameters for style and technique when drawing the beer, the level of precision when doing it and the final presentation. Needless to say, it will be complicated and highly competitive work. The president of the jury is Fernando Iglesias, Estrella Galicia Head of Market Quality, and these are the keys to a top level contest.
In order to win the Estrella Galicia Draught Beer Pulling Championship, is it enough to know how to pull a beer correctly?
No, the championship requires a detailed knowledge of our beers and how to serve them. In fact, the different exercises aren’t solely based on drawing beer. The participants must also serve a bottled 1906 Reserva Especial in front of the jury and answer technical questions about our beers and how they must be served.
What are the most common errors made by participants?
Not using the rinser, not to mark the two serving period correctly, not presenting the glass on a beer mat… On most occasions, these errors are caused by nerves. It is curious to see how many participants’ hands shake as a consequence of the tension experienced. The best advice that can be given is to leave nerves at home and just bring along knowledge about and passion for beer.
Sunday’s Championship will be held in Bilbao, one of the capitals of the pintxo, are you expecting to find a good level?
Undoubtedly. Firstly, just to point out that of all the contests held so far, it is the one which has had the highest number of registrations. The Selection Committee had to work hard to select the final participants following the criteria established in the entry requirements. Bilbao is a city in which food culture is very important and its caterers are extremely prestigious. Beer is becoming increasingly important within this setting and, really, we could not have chosen a better regional capital city in which to hold the contest.
As a jury, what is the biggest difficulty faced when it comes to evaluating how a beer is pulled?
What I am going to say is a cliché, but the work of any jury is extremely complicated. Bear in mind that this is a championship in which technical precision is of extreme importance. This means that the difference between the winner and the rest of participants lies in the small details that elevate the service from good to excellent. Hence the difficulty: to be able to detect and measure those small details unanimously within a jury.
And for us, as consumers, why should we pay attention to a good beer pulling technique?
Simply because the beer tastes better. Ultimately, that’s what it’s all about. The image of a perfectly pulled beer is fabulous, but the flavour and the sensation that we get are undeniably better.
We can enjoy a beer that completely changes how our senses perceive it in comparison to a beer drawn “without love”. When we see that creamy head and the Brussels lace pattern is left on the glass, it’s a real feast for our senses.
Why should no-one from Bilbao miss the Estrella Galicia Draught Beer Pulling Championship on Monday?
Entertainment, pressure, rivalry, exhibition, party, culture, sensations, service, prizes, friends, beer, beer, beer,…..Estrella Galicia…. I think that all these are good enough reasons to attend.