Entries in NYC (2)


Stella Artois in New York City

I just got back from the Stella Artois Draught Master competition in New York City and boy is my liver tired. For my first time in NYC, I couldn't have asked for a better trip. I got to see some old college friends, checkout Central Park, get some New York pizza, see a live taping of Jimmy Fallon's show, get some cocktails at Please Don't Tell, meet some new users of my website, and... win the Stella Artois competition! Okay, technically I tied for first and ultimately took second in the ensuing "pour-off." Regardless, I still won the trip to Boston next week to compete in the American final competition against 15 other competitors from around the U.S. The winner of that competition wins a trip to London to compete against over 30 other bartenders from around the world.

I want to give a shout-out to Matt and Paul for coming down to the competition and lending support. I'd never met either of them before, but Matt had found my website a couple weeks ago and - as someone who is into fire spinning, poi, plate spinning, and other object manipulation - he got bit by the flair bug. Paul was in the same boat and showed me some videos of him doing maneuvers with glow sticks I'd never imagined were possible. It was cool to meet two guys just getting started in flair but with a badass background in other similar artforms. And great to have a cheering section at the Stella event as well.  

I'm sure the Boston event is going to be tough competition, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed and doing my homework. I've got my sights set on London. In the meantime, checkout some of the sights from NYC:

TGIFridays in Times Square: if you've seen the movie Cocktail, you might recognize this place.The door to mixology bar/speakeasy Please Don't Tell is a phone booth. Located inside a hot dog restaurant. 

My friend Jay and I enjoying some excellent cocktails at Please Don't Tell.









Me with an NBC page before watching a taping of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.The Stella Artois Draught Master Competition. Step #1: The Purification.Step #6: The Beheading.






The top 3 competitors. The guy in the middle got the slip. The girl on the left and I tied for 1st.I'd never met Paul or Matt before, but they'd seen the website and decided to come down and cheer for me. It's really cool to meet people that are actually learning from my videos. We had a great time!A toast to Stella - and on to Boston!


Stella Artois in NYC

A few weeks back, Stella Artois hosted a promotional competition at my bar, inviting patrons to pour the perfect Stella Artois using their 9-Step Pouring Ritual. In reality, most bartenders in most bars in the US don’t go through such pomp and circumstance when they pour a beer from the tap. Some bars don't have the proper dish sink system, but more importantly most American drinkers aren't familiar with the process. Many American drinkers might get antsy watching the process as they tend to value a rapidly poured beer more than a properly poured one. However, Belgians are world renown for the incredible focus on detail and ritual with which they regard their beer. Stella Artois is a classic Belgian beer; hence, their 9-Step Pouring Ritual.

Turns out the event I competed in was the first round in what is actually the 14th Annual Stella Artois World Draught Master Competition. Anyway, I took part in the competition at my bar mostly because I just happened to be there. Due in part to the fact that most of the other competitors were just regular bar patrons - and possibly had never poured a tap beer in their lives - somehow I won. Anybody that knows me knows that I’m not particularly competitive. However, when I heard that the winner of that competition would win a trip to New York to compete in the next level of the Stella Artois World Draught Master Competition, I got even more serious and did my homework. The regional competition brought together some decent bartenders from the Madison area, but with some practice and a little luck I ended up taking first place.

So, as much as I can still barely believe it, Stella Artois and Wisconsin Distributors are sending me tomorrow to New York City to compete Wednesday night against 12 other bartenders from the eastern seaboard. Keep in mind I’m still in Panama right now. So tomorrow I’m flying 2000 miles to pour a beer. And I can’t wait. Apparently, if I take 1st or 2nd place in this competition, there is one more competition in Boston next week before the ultimate final in London in October.

You can read more about the competition here and you can check out their interactive game where you try online to pour the perfect Stella Artois using the 9-Part Pouring Ritual. I’ll warn you: if you’re at all competitive, it’s insanely addictive. Apparently they are taking the highest score from online game to be the wild card at the upcoming competitions in Boston, so give it a shot.