On May 11, the Stella Artois Art of the Chalice pop-up, held at the Toshiba Plaza at T-Mobile Arena, not only paid tribute to the beer’s distinctive glassware, but unveiled a unique Las Vegas-themed piece of art created by renowned local artist, Josh Glover, also known as King Ruck.
The Belgian beer company will host events throughout the spring and summer in several U.S. cities and has commissioned respected local artists to create a piece of art that reflects their city. They chose well in selecting Ruck to represent Las Vegas. Ruck is a native Las Vegan who transitioned from graffiti artist to graphic designer to highly respected tattoo artist. He is the owner of Downtown’s Black Spade Tattoo (now located in Container Park) and has appeared on Spike TV’s Ink Masters.
For his Stella Artois mural, Ruck returned to the medium that first gained him notoriety, using only spray paint to depict a classy woman wearing sunglasses reflecting the iconic ‘Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas’ sign. “I wanted to bring in Las Vegas, my hometown, so I put Las Vegas in the center as the focal point,” Ruck says. Regarding his medium of choice, Ruck adds, “We all can use a paintbrush and acrylic or regular enamel, but to use a spray can to create a realistic image is much more challenging. I think Stella is the best beer and I’m happy, proud and humbled that they picked me as the best artist to represent the brand. This is a big platform to be on and it’s beer!”
In addition to the unveiling of the artwork, the brand brought in Max Bakker, educator for The High End, a division of Anheuser-Busch, and one of only 13 Master Cicerones (the equivalent of a Master Sommelier, but for beer) in the world. He talked about the process of attaining this distinction, saying, “I spent two years studying, taking courses at Seibel [Institute] and UC Davis and traveling to some of the beer-centric cities of the world, including Munich and Brussels, and passed the two-day exam in the fall of 2016.”
Bakker demonstrated and instructed bartenders on Stella Artois’ nine-step pouring ritual, which includes a cold-water bath to chill the chalice, pouring to form the perfect head with exactly three centimeters of foam, skimming the excess off and cleaning the glass with a final dip in cold water before presentation with a paper collar.
Throughout the night, attendees enjoyed Stella Artois Belgian lager and Cidre, the brand’s hard apple cider product, as well as Libertine Social executive chef Jamaal Taherzadeh’s Vietnamese bánh mì sandwiches, lamb and beef kabobs and beer-battered fried cod. The event was rounded out by a live demonstration of glass blowing by glass artist Larry Domsky and music courtesy of the local band Brumby.
This was the tour’s second stop after its initial launch in Phoenix. The program will continue with events in Nashville, Santa Fe, Seattle, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Charlotte, Washington, D.C, and Boston.
The Nine-Step Stella Artois Pouring Ritual
1. The Purification
A cold-water bath to chill the chalice and sustain the head of the pour.
2. The Sacrifice
The first drops are sacrificed, a small price to ensure the freshest taste.
4. The Crown
Gracefully straightening the chalice, a perfect head is formed, sealing in the freshness.
5. The Removal
A smooth and fluid exit, while closing the nozzle.
6. The Skimming
A skimmer trims the head at a 45-degree angle, removing the large, loose bubbles.
7. The Judgement
Three centimeters of foam, no more and no less.
8. The Cleansing
A final dip in cold water for a brilliant chalice and stunning presentation.
9. The Bestowal
A moment to assure and admire a perfectly served Stella Artois.