Edelweiss wheat beer is the latest offering from Heineken Malaysia; we speak to the brewery’s beer specialist, Cian Hulm to find out about Edelweiss and more.
Born in the heights of the Austrian Alps, Edelweiss’ traditional heritage can be traced back to 1646, making it one of the world’s first wheat beers. Fast forward to today and it’s still based on the same original and all-natural recipe, featuring the finest ingredients, pure Alpine water and a hint of mountain herbs.
In conjunction with the release of Edelweiss locally, we managed to get some insights from Cian Hulm, the man who holds a relatively envious position of being Heineken Malaysia’s very own beer specialist. We find out more about him and Edelweiss below.
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself, and how you came about becoming a beer specialist.
I grew up in Dublin, Ireland, which is home of the iconic Guinness St James Gate brewery. My grandfather had worked in the original Guinness Quality team in Ireland, and many other family members had worked for Guinness throughout their careers. Guinness is famous institution in Dublin, so when the opportunity came about to work for them at 18 – which is also the legal drinking age in Ireland – I took it and didn’t look back.
Throughout my career, the history of this famous beer company and the brand power really drew me in. I love how beer brings people together from all over the world and it’s an industry I’m proud to be a part of.
At St James Gate we have a team of beer specialists who can be called upon for many projects, one of the projects I was involved with was working with Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore on the Quality of Guinness. To be a beer specialist you need to have completed a beer sommelier course, have a very clear understanding of the brewing process and also a complete understanding of draught beer systems.
2. What necessary skills are required in your field of work?
You need to have a complete understanding of beer systems, be able to identify desirable flavours or off flavours in the beer. A complete understanding of the brewing process and beer styles is required. Plus have technical and mechanical experience to be able to troubleshoot problems quickly and ensure our customers receive consistently good quality beer.
3. Talk us through a typical day on the job
I am lucky that my job allows me to work with many different departments. A regular day would consist of working the QPA lab team on any Draught Beer assessments before heading into the market to visit my team and check in on bars around Malaysia, back before the lockdowns came in place.
The Technical Services team are responsible for installations of Draught beer equipment and most importantly are responsible for the quality of draught beer in market. They also are the first point of call for any potential problems we might have with our draught beer systems.
Through our extensive Star Academy bartender training programs I get to meet a lot of people working in the industry and teach them about beer and the importance of quality beer.
4. how do you judge good quality beer?
You judge a beer by its look, smell, sip, savour and swallow. Beer is not like wine tasting, as you can usually make a first assessment easily by its appearance – a smaller or bigger than normal head is the first indication. I can normally judge a beer by looking at how the bar tender is pouring, is the flow rate too fast or slow? Is the glass clean? Is the beer being poured at the right angle? After that, it’s all about letting your other senses do the work.
Also, I want the readers to know that everyone deserves quality. Great beer deserves a great serve, so don’t be afraid to report a dirty glass or a bad pour the next time when you’re in a bar. That way, you make sure you’re getting the beer exactly as it’s meant to be enjoyed.
5. Tell us more about the latest beer in the market, Edelweiss
Edelweiss is a modern wheat beer, not as sweet or heavy as other wheat beers and really well balanced. Edelweiss uses fresh mountain ingredients in the brewing process, giving it fresh, clean taste with a slight hint of citrus. The brewing process and ingredients allows for an extremely smooth and highly refreshing after taste.
And while you await bars to be open, you can first get to enjoy either a can or bottle from most supermarkets and convenience stores which carry Heineken brands.
6. What are some of your personal favourite beer?
I am lucky to have worked with many different beer brands and styles, and there is certainly a beer for every occasion. Guinness with a meal is my dream, as it’s a beer that pairs so well with food, as do fuller-flavour lagers like Tiger depending on the style of food I’m pairing it with. Heineken or an Edelweiss in a beer garden on a hot sunny day is my favourite way to relax. But if you really need that kick of refreshment to quench a thirst then Apple Fox Cider is perfect for that.
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