Should You Buy a Sonic Foamer for Your Beer-Loving Pals this Christmas?

This is the type of foam you want...
This is the type of foam you want...
Photo by Das Ubergeek

I live in a thousand-square-foot box. There is no room for anything in this house that does not serve at least useful purpose. I don't have room for twenty specialized cleaners, so I clean everything with ammonia, vinegar, lemon and borax, like those annoying women on that British house-cleaning reality show. I don't have room for cocktail glasses, so everything gets served in tumblers.

When I got a pitch for a sonic beer foamer, though, I was intrigued. Given the dozens hundreds oh crap, call the Betty Ford Clinic thousands of bottles of beer I put away, have I been missing the opportunity to re-live that first aromatic, aerosolized whiff of a beer's head with each sip?

So here's the workflow: you walk into a bar, and you sit down. You pull out the Sonic Foamer and set it on the bar. The bartender, who is busy pulling pints for the thirsty citizens of wherever you've pitched up, flicks an inquisitive eyebrow at you.

"I'd like a pint of Guinness in a thin-bottomed glass," you say, "and make sure there's no head on it when you pour it."

The bartender stares at you and says, "No head?" You feel embarrassed, because if you've ever gone to the Guinness brewery at St. James's Gate in Dublin, you know that they award certificates for pouring the perfect pint with exactly the right creamy head.

The bartender rolls his eyes and pours you a pint of stout with the smallest possible head. You set it on your Sonic Foamer and, with a flourish, you push the button. Five millimeters of sonic foam appear on your beer, looking like a depth charge roiling up from the bottom of the glass. You take a sip; it tastes like flat Guinness, because the beer wasn't aerated enough through proper pouring.

You set it down and press the button again; an even smaller charge comes up, depositing a smear of foam on the surface of the beer like a liquor-dwelling elf masturbating at the bottom of your pint glass. Another sip; it still tastes like bitter, malty, flat Coke.

Congratulations, you're the biggest douchebag in the entire bar, up to and including the spiky-haired 32-year-old aging frat boy with the Affliction t-shirt and the tribal-motif tattoo around his enormous bicep.

Maybe this is an extreme example; maybe you keep a stack of these at home, like those huge coaster-type pagers used at restaurants you probably don't want to be eating at anyway, in case the guys come over to watch football and start bitching about how there's no foam on their beer. You should also lay in a stock of batteries, because these things suck more juice than Snoop Dogg trying to stretch a bottle of gin.

What's much more likely is that it isn't possible to re-create that first sensation you get, that extra-floral aroma from a beautiful West Coast IPA. Your palate gets overwhelmed; your nasal passages get jaded. Only the first sip gets the first sip treatment, which means this is one novelty item that is a must-miss.

Email: garellano@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @gustavoarellano.

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