On Thursday I hotfooted it to Fuller's for a lecture by Charlie Bamforth. This was the last of a series of lectures he's been doing in Britain and this time he was speaking in his capacity as 'the pope of foam'.
As someone who doesn't care much for big heads I've never given much thought to beer foam but he was a good speaker and a few interesting facts managed to permeate my brain:
- Nitrogen gas added to beer is indeed the horror I've always thought it is. It may well be great for making bubbles but it destroys hop flavour, which may not be a problem for Guinness but it's bad news for Boddingtons.
- My old friend Protein Z (40 kDa) got a mention but it seems that's its role in head formation may be overstated and any partially denatured protein has hydrophobic parts exposed which encourages beer foam to form.
- Fullers improved the heads on their pints by banning pork pies from pubs. Personally I'd happily forgo a good head for a decent pork pie but the message is keep grease away from your glasses.
After the CPD it was on to the networking and I managed to neck five pints before heading home. The beer was free but I had to show some restraint, it was a Thursday after all.