Wine & Spirits: Draught Masters

by Editorial

Stella Artois trains U.S. competitors in a Nine-Step Pouring Ritual, and challenges each to take home the world title.
By Tyler Sullivan

Competitors in Stella Artois' World Draught Masters Competition demonstrated mastery of the 9-Step Pour Ritual at the finals in DC on October 7th.

Stella Artois celebrated the U.S. portion of its World Draught Masters competition on Oct. 7 at the National Building Museum, hosting its D.C. friends and vendors at their 15th annual competition, as well as featuring the music of Nikki & Rich.

The competition is an annual event in which beer connoisseurs vie for top spots in mastering the Stella Artois 9-Step pouring ritual, bringing together U.S. finalists for a chance to move on to the global finals—this year held in Buenos Aires.

DC’s judges included last year’s Draught Masters champion Chris Myers; the owner and executive chef of DC’s Belga Cafe, Bart Vandaele, and Master Beer Sommelier Marc Stroobandt.

The annual competition is inspired by more than six centuries of brewing tradition, teaching competitors of the elegance and skill that Stella Artois hopes to go into the pouring of their ultimate and flawless chalice of their beer, drawn from tap.

Stella Artois calls this their “Thing of Beauty.”

The U.S. competition was held from September 9-30 in seven cities—Miami, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Boston, Denver, New York and D.C. Each live competition trained beer enthusiasts in the Stella Artios 9-Step Pouring Ritual, followed by their chance to showcase their mastery of the process.

Finalists included James Taylor of Washington, D.C., Ryan Fyffe—Miami, Erika Vetter and Baylor Ferrier—New York City, Dan Marshfield—Phoenix, Jeff Schmidt—Denver, Dallas Perry from Vegas, and an online wild-card qualifier, Sean Besser Hank, a native of Minnesota.

In the end the wild-card, Hank claimed U.S. victory and will represent the United States at the 2011 global finals on Oct. 26. About 28 countries will be present at this finale, and will be able to work their magic under pressure, showing a panel of judges just who is qualified to hold the world title.

One of the DC finals judges, Belga Cafe's Bart Vandaele, throwing up his hands in excitement.

2011 Stella Artois World Draught Master at the National Building Museum, Washington DC.

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