The Iceman Bore

The biggest, most controversial issue in the beer world right now*? It's the Iceman pour. Instagram-tastic it may be, but that's no mitigation argues Beer Hawk's Rob Flanagan. It should cease. Now.


I’ll be the first to admit, some silly little things infuriate me. Unskippable adverts on YouTube, self-scan checkouts, people not indicating around roundabouts – that sort of thing.

But the latest thing that’s raising my blood pressure and keeping my cardiologist in a job is that most horrific of new beer trends – the completely pointless and impractical beer serving method – the Iceman pour.

For those of you who are blissfully unaware, an Iceman pour refers to the process of slowly pouring a beer out to ensure there is absolutely zero head, and the drink develops a pronounced meniscus (there’s something you don’t hear every day) at the rim of the glass. It’s

The Iceman Bore

The biggest, most controversial issue in the beer world right now*? It's the Iceman pour. Instagram-tastic it may be, but that's no mitigation argues Beer Hawk's Rob Flanagan. It should cease. Now.


I’ll be the first to admit, some silly little things infuriate me. Unskippable adverts on YouTube, self-scan checkouts, people not indicating around roundabouts – that sort of thing.

But the latest thing that’s raising my blood pressure and keeping my cardiologist in a job is that most horrific of new beer trends – the completely pointless and impractical beer serving method – the Iceman pour.

For those of you who are blissfully unaware, an Iceman pour refers to the process of slowly pouring a beer out to ensure there is absolutely zero head, and the drink develops a pronounced meniscus (there’s something you don’t hear every day) at the rim of the glass. It’s also known in some circles as a ‘boss pour’, and I genuinely can’t work out which name annoys me more.

I’m not going to run through the technical issues I have with it – the fact that there’s no room for the glass to gather up all the lovely beery aroma, or that it takes bloody ages to do – all these things have been covered elsewhere by much more accomplished beer writers than me.

Would you pour your Cannonball like this?

Likewise, I’m not about to tell people how to drink their beer. That’s not what this post is about. For all I care, your preferred method could be to tape a bottle of Founder’s KBS to each hand and try to drink them on a moving rollercoaster – although if it is, I’d ask that you at least film it and send it to me.

No, my issue is purely practical (which sounds weird after that last paragraph) – and comes with a confession attached. You see, working for a beer retailer, I must admit that the Iceman pour looks amazing. When done right, with a beautifully hazy IPA, it makes me thirsty in ways I just can’t explain. Hell, just thinking about some of those incredible Mikkeller posts on Instagram has got me reaching for the office beer fridge.

The worst part though? I was suckered in. I’ve tried the Iceman pour myself, and it’s this experience that my unbridled, raging hatred for the damn thing comes from.

You see, slowly, gently pouring out a beautiful East Coast IPA, getting that meniscus just right, and taking a load of pictures is the easy part. Then comes the realisation…wait, how do I drink this? I’m not letting it go to waste!

I know, I’ll just lift it real- oh god, it’s everywhere. How about if I bend down and sip it? Well this looks stupid. Does anyone have a straw? Great, now I’m a grown man drinking something that looks suspiciously like Sunny Delight through a straw.  

The incredible thing is that I’ve seen people attempt the Iceman pour in public at bottle shop tasting rooms. A chain of well-known craft brewery bars is even rumoured to set fresh-faced new starters the impossible task of Iceman pouring a nitro milk stout – the cruel craft beer equivalent of sending the work experience kid out for a left-handed hammer or tartan paint.

The Iceman pour is a beautiful way to photograph beer, sure – but it’s also an absolute triumph in impracticality and pointlessness. It turns a drink designed to be enjoyed with the nose and mouth into something that’s purely for the eyes – at least until you spill enough all over the table to allow you to risk raising it to your face.

It’s a concept designed for social media likes and blog clicks, not actually for enjoying an incredible beer.

So next time you see an Iceman pour on social media, just think about the poor shmuck who took that picture bending over their table and gently lapping up their £6 hazy Cloudwater DIPA like a cat. Trends can be a great force for good in craft beer, prompting the industry to make real and justifiable steps forward - but I can’t wait until this ridiculous one passes.

* Mild exaggeration