Learning how to pour a beer is a rite of passage. When you turn 21 (or maybe younger, if you have cool relatives), your dad, or your grandpa, or your cool uncle, or your MOM (because see ya gender stereotypes) teaches you, step by step, how to pour the perfect pint.
And what do they teach you?
They'll teach you to pour the beer down the side of the glass at a controlled rate, and then, once the beer rises two-thirds or so up the glass, you pour the beer with vigor straight down the glass to create the perfect head on top.
And who knows better than family, right? When has your weird Uncle Jerry ever steered you wrong?
“Well, from a scientific perspective, that's a disaster,” Phil Petracca, beer genius, founder and CEO of Fizzics, tells Elite Daily. “What you're doing is making the beer in the body flat. You're releasing the majority of the carbonation, and the quality of the foam you're getting doesn't really taste good at all.”
That's right. Everything we all thought we knew is a lie. If there were an adult equivalent of being told Santa isn't real, this would be it.
Phil had that very same “Aha!” moment that you're having right now (not surprisingly, over a couple of beers with his friends), which ultimately inspired him to come up with the idea for the Fizzics Beer System, a portable beer tap that improves the quality of your bottled beer at home to that of a delicious, perfectly tapped beer you could previously only get at bars and breweries.
“You have all these different types of devices and aerators for alcohol and spirits, which not only enhance the taste, but the overall experience,” says Phil. ”But for beer, there really was nothing.”
Phil went to work testing focus groups to see what people looked for in their drinking experiences and even studied culinary chefs who are sensitive to the density of the foam. What he found was many people would wait for the foam of hand-poured beers to die down or, in some cases, stick their fingers in the beer to use the oils on their hands to accelerate the leveling process because they didn't enjoy the foamy texture of beer in their mouths.
“The trigeminal nerve, which detects texture in your mouth, is very sensitive to the density of the foam,” Phil says, explaining the science behind why this is the case for some people. “So the foam you get right from the tap is going to send a signal to your brain that 'this is grainy, this is bubbly, this is a negative texture.'”
Phil approached this problem scientifically and found that many companies, Guinness, for example, inject their beers with Nitrogen in order to achieve the perfect beer head and mouthfeel. The problem with that, Phil explained, is, similar to when you hand-pour your beer, you lose a large portion of the carbonation and the flavor.
“Nitrogen will have 30 percent less carbonation in the beer, and it also alters the flavor profile and mutes a lot of the complexities and flavors of the beer,” says Phil, who sought more of “an organic way of dispensing beer versus using a chemical to provide some kind of effect.”
The Fizzics beer tap was Phil's solution to his (and all of our) beer-drinking woes. It's truly a scientific masterpiece that utilizes an oscillating sound pressure wave generator to re-pressurize beer that has flattened in the bottling process.
“We're able to control the process of extracting the carbonation out of the beer and converting it into yummy foam,” says Phil. “When you do it that way, you preserve the original profile of the beer.”
Using it is simple: You take a bottle of your favorite beer, load it into the beer tap, in which you'll find a hose, stick the hose in the bottle of the beer and close the lid. Then, you pull the tap forward and dispense that same bottled beer in perfect bar-tap form.
“When you pull the handle forward, it seals and pressurizes the canister,” says Phil, explaining what exactly happens to the beer during the dispensing process. “It pours the beer under pressure. So it's not sucking the beer up from the can or bottle; it's actually pushing it down.”
Phil also incorporated a microcontrol into the Fizzics Beer System that monitors the rate of flow during the tapping process to maintain as much carbonation in the body of the beer as possible, while still maintaining a solid foamy head.
The head of the beer is the most critical element of the beer-drinking experience. Ester volatile compounds really give the beer the aroma, and aroma has everything to do with flavor, so by increasing the aroma, you're pumping out the flavor.
In fact, Phil and the Fizzics team were generous enough to bring their product to the Elite Daily HQ and show it off to us. And I have to say, it took our already pretty lit happy hours to the next level.
Even my good friend, bonafide wine-drinker and Elite Daily senior writer Zara Barrie, who would only let a sip of beer penetrate the contents of her lips on the bluest of moons (no pun intended), had nothing but good things to say.
"The only time you will see me drink beer at these happy hours is if this machine is here," said Zara.
The Fizzics portable beer tap will ultimately teach you how to drink beer right and turn your house, or anywhere really, into a private bar. In a world where craft beers are taking the scene by storm, it's become more important than ever to pay close attention to not only what you're drinking, but how you're drinking it.
“Today is really driven by the craft beer renaissance,” says Phil. “People want to try different styles, so there's having the selection, but then there's being able to infuse and enhance that can, or bottle, or growler to taste like it did right from the brewery, which is what Fizzics allows you to do.”
So next time Uncle Jerry tries to tilt your glass and pour you a cold one, sit him down and dispense him a refreshing glass of beer -- straight from the tap.