Of course there is no correct amount – it will vary from beer to beer, from region to region and from person to person – but it looks as if a beer we were served on Friday night was pretty close to perfect.
When we Tweeted this with the message ‘One for the Foam Police’ we were being deliberately vague.
What we meant was ‘This looks pretty good’ but wanted to test a theory: we reckon it is possible for a specific individual pint to have both (a) too much head and (b) too little.
When we Tweet pictures of the beers we’re drinking, it’s quite common for people to reply with either something like ‘Stick a Flake in that?’ or ‘That looks in poor condition’.
POLL: Does the above pint have….
— Boak and Bailey (@BoakandBailey) October 12, 2019
In this case, though about 90% of poll respondents thought it looked fairly spot on, the remaining votes were split between too much and not enough, with a slight bias towards too much.
It would be interesting to have the ability to drill down into the results a bit more. We suspect those who voted ‘too much’ will be in London and the Home Counties, while those who voted ‘not enough’ will skew younger. But those are just guesses, for now.
Another interesting thing was that some people wanted to know more about the beer before forming a judgement:
For me it depends what it is. A keg IPA = just about the right amount (borderline though). Cask = omg I'm in the North and forgot to ask them to take the sparkler off! ?
— Coach John McGuirk (@scissorkicks) October 12, 2019
Of course there’s a lot of ceremony and debate around lager, especially in the Czech Republic, but we hadn’t considered before that keg beer might be expected to have more head than cask. Now it’s been raised, though, it does feel right.
Altogether, though, what this proves is that it’s a matter of taste, as subjective as anything else.
Is the theatrical cut of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring too long, too short or about right? Would you like more tracks on Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, fewer, or about the same number?
Well, subjective except for in the (sort of) legal sense. There’s a general acceptance, reinforced by messages from industry bodies and Trading Standards, that says a pint should be at least 95% liquid, and no more than 5% foam.
We suspect our ‘about right’ pint on Friday might have failed this test, by a percentage point or two, but in the moment, we really didn’t care.