Rinse, pour, skim, check, and serve. Rinse, pour, skim, check, and serve.
Malaysian Jimmy Goh had probably gone through the steps of Heineken's Five-Step Star Serve ritual to pour the best possible glass of Heineken beer thousands of times, but this would be the most important rinsing, pouring, skimming, checking and serving he would ever do in his life.
Goh was up on stage at the final of the 2013 Heineken Global Bartender Finals at The Heineken Experience event in Amsterdam in The Netherlands, facing off against hometown favourite Sander van Veenendaal for the title of Heineken's Best Bartender in The World.
To do so, he had to pour two perfect pints of beer according to the Star Serve ritual, put it on a tray, then walk with the tray down a short sloping pathway, and serve the beer to the panel of judges. Sounds easy? Tell that to the 18 other contestants from all over the world who Goh and van Veenendaal had to beat in order to get to the final showdown that we attended last month.
Goh was one of 20 top bartenders from Heineken Star Serve outlets all over the world vying for that title, all of whom have perfected the art of pouring a Heineken according to the Five-Step Star Serve ritual. They may have poured hundreds, or even thousands of Heinekens before back home, but this time, they had to do it in front of a panel of eagle-eyed judges who were scrutinising every single detail of their pour - from the cleanliness of the glassware, the amount of foam in the glass, and down to the smile of the contestant as he or she set down the glass of Heineken.
Now, you may think pouring a beer is easy, but being able to pour a consistently GOOD beer over and over again takes a lot of practise and skill, which is why Heineken came up with Star Serve in 2012.