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There are four main pours of Pilsner Urquell and the process to make each is taught to all Tapsters. It all begins with a cold, clean glass and ends when you pick it up to toast your drinking mates. While each pour needs to be made in a particular way, it’s possible for Tapsters to add their own ‘signature’, a small mark in the foam which signs it off as their own.
If you’re in Prague’s U Pinkasu, and you’re served by Ota, then you might see two different things: one will be a small bubble on top of the foam and the other might be a small indent created by that bubble popping.
The foam is “like a cap on the glass,” he says. “There’s an art of pouring. It has to be done slowly to pour the foam properly. It has to be done right.” For Ota, “it doesn’t matter who the guest is, every beer is perfect from my hands. No compromise.” His unique seal on the perfectly poured Pilsner is the bubble and it’s something he’s taught other Tapsters around the Czech Republic.
Brewery Tapster Honza has developed a pour which swirls the glass in circles and then ‘cuts’ a straight line through it at the end. It’s his way to show the drinker that “it’s a special beer for them.”
Brewery Bartender Veronika’s signature is to twist the glass at the end of the pour to leave a small swirl in the thick foam. “We like it when people notice us!” she says. And she also likes when people take notice of the smaller details in their beer, whether it’s the taste, the foam or a special stamp from the Tapster.
Next time you drink a glass of Pilsner Urquell have a look at the foam and see if there’s a signature left behind…
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