The art and science of beer: a video feature on the "Pope of Foam"

In this video, Charlie The Pope of Foam" Bamforth, the head of Malting and Brewing Science at UC Davis, explains beer-making and reveals how to pick the freshest pint when you're at a pub. "How Beer Saved The World," "Why I Tease Those Wine Guys," and "How Bird Poop Makes A More Aromatic Belgian Beer" are but a few tidbits.


  1. How to pick the freshest pint? Can’t watch the video at work, does he also explain that freshest doesn’t automatically mean best? Barleywines age rather well, and are best between 5- 10 years aged, for example.

    1. that’s not what this video is about.  maybe you should have watched it before commenting.  even a lovely aged barleywine can soon be a disaster after being tapped.

  2. That’s always been my tip on the best beer to choose.  We have a lot of ‘120 beers-on-tap’ places and it is more likely than not you are getting some stale crappy beer, but they never own up to it.  Pick one that has a fresh keg – it will have a cleaner line, too.

  3. Sweet. I’ll be taking brewing next year (it fulfills one of my Honors course requirements, which is part of my scholarship, so I’ll kind of be getting paid for it) so I’ll have to watch these all again before the term starts. Thanks!

  4. Could listen to this bloke talk about beer all day. Notice how kitchen clean.  How can this stuff be bad?

  5. Interestingly, after denigrating bottled beer and suggesting the cans are a better container, what does he open at the end of the video? Yes. A bottle.

    In fact, although it is obviously true that cans are better for preserving beer, normal cans can only be used to store sterile beer; no maturation can take place in a normal can. But the finest beers are those which have been allowed to undergo a secondary fermentation and this can only take place in a cask or a bottle.

    And I am quite sure that the bottle he uncapped and drank had undergone such a secondary fermentation – a so-called “bottle-conditioned ale”; the cloudiness of the beer attests to that. A sterile beer would have been bright and clear..

    1. Quite a lot of good bottled beer has had the yeast filtered out and won’t age anymore anyway. Part of the trick of brewing commercially is consistency, and since the brewery can do very little about how the beer is “aged” from that point on, the beer in the container is generally the way the brewery wants it to be. I’d say it’s more dependent on the style than anything – a pale ale from a can? Sure. A Belgian quad? Nah.

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