Images loom dark and sultry on screen, amplified by the sleazy heat of New Orleans jazz. Drowning in desperation and tears, Kowalski’s cries of “Stel-laaaaaa!” provoke one of the most sizzling scenes in Hollywood history. Few can forget its sexual intensity and, for movie buffs, few believe that Stella Artois European Pilsner was not named after the objet du désir immortalized by Brando.
“Studio Artois” emerges as a long-standing advocate of the film arts, promoting Stella Artois as a primary sponsor at the Cannes and Sundance Film Festivals. The original Stella made its debut in 1926, twenty-one years before Tennessee Williams’ Streetcar, based on a recipe that is centuries old. Brewed in Leuven, Belgium, Stella Artois first emerged center-stage as an elegant Christmas beer, sparkling with brilliant clarity. Its golden body prompted acclamations of “Stella”, the Latin for star, and catapulted this lady into global fame in 80 countries.
Celebrating such centuries-old traditions, brand owner Anheuser-Busch-InBev presents the Stella Artois World Draught Master Competition each year, seeking a global beer ambassador who will display the same “care, consideration and craftsmanship” in serving Stella Artois as has been preserved during the brewing process. This competition might well be described with the words of Viennese author Peter Altenberg (1859-1919): “Art is life, life is life, but to lead life artistically is the art of life.”
True to artistic form, Chris Myers of Madison, Wisconsin, USA emerged as the 2010 Stella Artois World Draught Master in the 14th Edition of the competition held at the prestigious Old Billingsgate in London, England, UK on October 28, 2010. Myers competed against 25 contestants from across the globe to seize the crown in this celebration of the perfect pour for this golden beauty.
In a pressure-filled elimination round, the heat was turned up for four chosen finalists who once-again moved through the 9-step classic pour:
1. Rinse and inspect the Stella Artois glass for perfect cleanliness;
2. Quickly open the tap and sacrifice the first drops;
3. Hold the glass at a 45-degree angle so a circular motion is achieved during the pour to create the right froth. The glass must not touch the tap;
4. Lower the glass beneath the tap to build perfect thickness into the crown ;
5. Close the tap quickly and move the glass away. Let no drops fall into the liquid;
6. Cut the crown in one swift motion with a foam cutter;
7. Inspect the glass for proper body-to-head ratio;
8. Rinse the glass in cold water for perfect cleanliness;
9. Affix a drip catcher at the foot of the stem and place the glass on a clean Stella Artois coaster with the brand name facing the customer.
Mr. Myers was presented with a trophy that echoes the theme of the classic Stella Artois Chalice. He now embarks on a ten-country international tour as the 2010 Stella Artois World Ambassador, representing the high standards set forth in the tradition of Stella Artois.
Kathleen Mullins of Australia was 1st runner-up, Keith Cuveele of Belgium seized the 2nd runner-up place, and Marc Pronovost of Canada took the 3rd runner-up position.
Stella Artois has a luminescent golden body. When poured perfectly, the larger bubbles are sliced off the top and the tight, creamy crown seals the surface and holds the aroma in the crystalline chalice. Stella possesses a malty sweetness with earthy Noble hops, a medium to full mouthfeel, and a clean quick finish. Some pleasant bitterness emerges at the finish.
Photos courtesy of Anheuser-Busch-InBev: (from top) Billingsgate, London, venue for the 2010 Stella Artois World Draught Master Competition; American Chris Myers of Wisconsin, 2010 Stella Artois World Draught Master