In a recent announcement from Tomas G. Villa, PhD, a Professor at the University of Santiago de Comostela, scientists have discovered the first gene for beer foam. What in the heck does that mean and how can it impact our beloved Michigan beer? Well, thanks to this new discovery, brewers all over the world will be able to work on improving the head of their beer, making it signature to their own style.
The barley and yeast that combine to make beer directly lead to the quality of the foamy head of a beer. During the fermentation process, bubbles form around the gas, which is created and eventually the interaction with the yeast creates the beer foam that we know and love. However, if you pour too quick when serving, the enemy of beer drinkers everywhere (a complete cup of foam), will rain on your beer parade.
Why are we focusing so much on something as seemingly inconsequential as beer foam? The head produced at the top of a glass of Michigan beer is more important than you may think, as it’s often the sign of how fresh a beer is. Not only is the foam a window into the freshness of a brew, but it also holds much of the aromatics that a beer has to offer. After first pouring a beer, allow for head that is about two to three fingers deep from the top of the glass and take a giant sniff. The scent of the ingredients used in brewing the beer should pop out and hit your noise if the foamy head is worth its weight.
With this new advancement in brewing science, brewers might be able to alter the way that beer foam is looked at here in the United States. While Americans often think of foam as a bad thing, overseas in China, beer is actually sold in bags on the street and customers actually appreciate a bag full of foam (see the video below). We might not be lining up for foamy bags of beer, but with new innovations the head could become more than something you find yourself sweeping away.
Frankenmuth Brewery may not be concerning ourselves with the development at the current moment, but we do appreciate a good head of beer foam in every pour of our Michigan beer. The next time you pour a Pilsener, Munich Dunkel or any Frankenmuth beer, take notice of your foamy head and be sure to acknowledge one of the most underrated parts of any beer.