See that foam crowning the beer in your pint glass? That’s beer head! But what causes beer head? Well, that all depends on your beer. Sometimes beer head happens naturally—and sometimes by mistake.
Reason 1: The Gas Factor
If your beer is flat, you’re not going to see a frothy beer head.
That’s because beer head comes from carbon dioxide dissolved in the liquid. Once you pop the bottle open, the pressure is relieved and the carbon dioxide is released from the brew in the form of bubbles.
Carbonated beers produce beer heads with large bubbles. Nitrogenated beers produce beer heads with small bubbles, creating a creamy appearance.
Reason 2: Beer Ingredients
Drinking a wheat beer? You’ll notice a distinct beer head. That’s due to the wheat, barley, or another malted grain within your brew. The proteins, polypeptides, and polyphenols found in malted grain and hops naturally create a beer head. The more proteins in the malted grain and the more hops added to the brew, the better the head retention.
So why isn’t there wine head or soda head? Because these drinks don’t have these two ingredients!
Big commercial brewing companies commonly add chemicals to their beer to enhance head retention. Not craft brewers! Breweries along the Flagstaff-Grand Canyon Ale Trail choose their ingredients carefully so that head retention is natural and chemical-free.
Reason 3: Poor Pouring
Not all beer heads are created equal. A beer head that’s larger than normal happens when beer is agitated during the pouring process. In other words, pouring beer straight down into the middle of the glass. Reduce the head by tilting the glass then straightening out as the beer nears the rim of the beer glass.
Is your New Year’s resolution this year to collect more stamps on your Flagstaff-Grand Canyon Ale Trail passport? Alongside the signature brews at your favorite Flagstaff breweries are seasonal beers only around for a limited time. So start this year right with a pint of new beer while it’s still on tap and in stock.
Beaver Street Brewing Company
Flagstaff Brewing Company
Hops on Birch
Lumberyard Brewing Company
Lots of seasonal beers on tap at the Lumberyard Brewing Company! In addition to their award-winning Knotty Pine Pale Ale (that won’t last on tap long!), you can also request their Imperial IPA, American Brown and Amber Lager.
McGaughs Smoke & Bottle
McGaughs Smoke & Bottle has so many beers in stock that we don’t know how to pick just a few to feature! Swing by and peruse their collection of local and regional beers.
Mother Road Brewing Company
’Tis the season for holiday beer! Gather around with your favorite Flagstaff brew as we tell you the tale of Christmas beer, how the history of Christmas beer has evolved into our own holiday traditions this season.
Our story begins many centuries ago in the Scandinavian countries. Vikings merrily drank strong, malty beer during their Jul (or Yule) celebrations. Their holiday, held on December 21, included “drinking Jul” while offering drafts up to their Norse gods.
Even after Norse gods were replaced by Christianity, Christmas beer continued to be brewed—but not by choice. In the 10th century, Jul was moved several days in order to be incorporated into the new Christmas festivities. Norway’s King Haakon I decreed that every household must brew beer for Jul. This legal tradition, backed by the Gulathing Laws during the 13th century, required each household to brew Christmas beer and host a party—or punished. Not abiding by this law meant fines or a loss of property.
That’s a hard fact to swallow.
Our story doesn’t end there. These harsh laws are now erased from the books, but the traditional enjoyment of Christmas beer never faded. In fact, Christmas beer spread to England and across the Atlantic Ocean to the United States. Now, with the talents of craft brewers in Flagstaff as well as across the country and the world, the tradition of Christmas beer is another reason to be merry this Yuletide.