Best Beer Pourer in the U.S.? Sean Besser Hank of St. Paul wins title

St. Paul's Sean Besser Hank is a man who really knows how to pour beer. He pours beer so well, in fact, he was recently named the U.S. beer-pouring champion in the Stella Artois U.S. World Draught Master contest. Besser Hank will be competing for the title of World Draught Master this Wednesday, October 26, in Buenos Aires.

The Hot Dish recently spoke with Besser Hank to find out what it takes to be a world-class beer pourer.

It must feel great to be such a big winner. It does. It was one of those things that I never expected would happen. I was hoping to reach the top four, and then all of the sudden, I was the top guy.

We heard this was an online competition. How do you show your chops online? They had an app on the Stella Artois Facebook page, and I studied last year's winner. You draw on the screen. It's the motion of putting the glass in the water to clean it and then pouring the beer. I scored well and was put into a drawing. That obviously went pretty well. I had poured my first beer at noon on the last day of the competition, and by 10:30 p.m. I had won.

Congrats. What is the 9-step pouring ritual they use in the competition? Cleaning the glass is the first part, then you open up the tap line to let out a little beer. That's called "the sacrifice." Next, you pour the beer into the glass at a 45-degree angle to keep the beer moving inside the glass, which creates a nice head. Then you take the beer off the tap and shave the foam off the top. That's called "beheading," which calms the beer down. Then you clean the glass off again, do one final check, and present it.

You seem to have a lot of beer knowledge. What is your background in the field? I tended bar in Cannon Falls about 12 years ago. I have also been homebrewing for about five years now. At the State Fair last year, I placed first in my category and second-place overall.

Impressive! What was your entry? I did a blackberry wheat beer in the fruit category. It's a really nice summer beer. Are your thrilled about going to Buenos Aries? We're super excited. My wife is going, too.

Any final advice for aspiring beer pourers? Practice, practice, practice.

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