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Where’s Your Head At?

Head is certainly an issue. In the U.S. for years, before the craft boom, good head was almost impossible to find and often considered accidental. In some beer, a foamy topper makes the beer harder to drink and, of course, more foam equals less beer and so, to some customers, less value.

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But the beer climate is changing, and today many aficionados see head as an essential part of the drinking experience. Compounds, called volatiles, are trapped in beer foam, hanging on to precious aroma that would otherwise be lost into the air. Head also softens the mouthfeel, as some pillowy foam is consumed on each sip.

Further, the proper pour is an area of discussion. There are a few schools of thought: pour down the side and release as little foam as possible, pour down the side before turning the glass upright near the top, and a third, less seen, more time-intensive approach. This is the central pour, in which lots of carbonation is released and the beer foams high. This method releases carbonation and creates a thick, rocky head that makes for a soft, draught-like beer that goes down smooth. After all, good head requires a bit of patience.

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There is no one way head should be provided, though. Some beers, like the Belgian gueuze, are prized for their champagne-like effervescence and some brews, like an English cask ale, are only gently carbonated. So to each his own! But at Sixpoint, good head is never hard to find.

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