The Booze Blog Portal - Alcohol, Bars, Malaysia and Beyond.

05 February 2015

GAB Professional Solutions (GABPS) Academy National Finals

Yes, that's a LOT of words on the post title..... So let me try and break it down for you.

Firstly, a TLDR: A competition for Malaysian bartenders to pour the perfect pint of Heineken happened 2 weeks ago. The winner will represent Malaysia to compete against the rest of the world to be the best.. in the world.

Read on for the longer version! Give face la, I spent a lot of time typing this post up leh! :(

The stage at the event looked like it was setup for a huge concert and the contenders were the super Kpop stars. Nice.

What is GAB?
GAB  is Guinness Anchor Berhad. The local beer brewery guys behind beers that we all know and love like Guinness (duh), Anchor (duh), Tiger, Heineken, Killkeny, Anglia Shandy, Strongbow and many others. If you're the type who NEED to know more - click on this  link to the GAB brand page la.

What is GABPS Academy?
So GAB has a training division called the GABPS Academy. What do they do? GABPS Academy provides training to beer outlets' staff to ensure that they learn to pour the perfect GAB beer for its customers. Again, if you're bored and like to know more about this, click on this link to the GABPS page.

Heineken seems to know how I feel like sometimes.

Truly, there are skills and techniques involved in pouring a good glass of beer. It's not just simply tap and go.

Fun fact for you since you've read this far: Did you know that you need that foam in (some types of) beer. Why? Well, apart from it looking pretty, 1. you get the aroma of the beer from the foam 2. it keeps the beer fresher for longer coz it traps the "bubbles" inside the liquid and 3. it keeps the beer surface cool for a tad longer. This tip I give you for free. You're welcome.

Bonus: That foam is also known as head. So you need good head with your beer. Cue jokes. Give me your best shot.

5 steps to a perfect pint: 1. chill wash glass, make sure to smile. 2. tap the beer at 45 degrees 3. make sure it's full 4. Skim the overflowing head (haha) 5. Get totally aesthetic about nearly pouring the perfect pint. Take shitloads of selfie. (Disclaimer: not the actual 5 steps as preached by heineken)

What National Finals?
Heineken has been hosting an annual international beer-tapping competition since last year under their Heineken Star Serve programme. This programme teaches bartenders the 5-step Heineken pouring ritual, to (duh) pour a perfect pint of Heineken.

In Malaysia, this programme is parked under the GABPS Academy umbrella because it shares the same agenda with the Academy (that is, both teaches bartenders to serve awesome beer).

THIS is the actual Heineken 5-step pouring ritual. (photo:

So for 8 months last year, GABPS trained about 1,400 hospitality guys and girls across Malaysia. 30 were chosen for the Regional Finals. 6 out of that qualified for the National Finals.

On National Finals day, 3 will be chosen to go through a 3 day 2 nights "boot camp" where the best will be crowned "Hero of the year" to represent Malaysia and compete against the world's top bartenders in the upcoming Heineken Global Bartender Final in Amsterdam this April.

/end prologue.

Say hello to your 6 National Finalists from all over Malaysia.

Thanks for staying with me. Now you know a little too much about what's going on.

I wanted to spend a bit more time trying explain to you all these things (by dissecting the official press release and doing a bit more online research on what they do) because I feel that GAB deserves a little shout out for their efforts.

Why? Because them doing this means that they DO care about your drinking experience enough to set side the budget and effort to host activities like these. Never mind that better quality means more people will like their stuff means more money in the pockets but the point I'm trying to make is that at the very least, kudos for the effort, GAB!

Now, may I ask that you guys at GAB teach us, the consumers, to know what to expect from a well poured beer? Because a lot of people don't know the difference!

Research has shown that posting a picture of a hot chick on your blog post will garner more hits.
This is the beautiful Nadia Heng of Miss World Malaysia 2010 who was the emcee for the night.

Now that your eyes have sufficiently rested with a picture of a hot chick above, let's get on to the event proper.

So the 6 chosen ones at the National Finals were judged by a panel of 4 judges, one of which was Jimmy Goh, Malaysia's 2013 Hero of the Year AND world's 2nd best Heineken bartender for 2013.

Thanks for putting us on the map, Jimmy!

This Jimmy Goh was quite lengchai. So, of course must shamelessly pose with him for a picture.
So not only will these 6 contenders be judged by how perfectly they can execute the 5-step Heineken ritual pour, they will also be scrutinised for their personality and showmanship.

Trust me, it's not as easy as you think. I know this for a fact because there were self-serving bars at the event where we could tap our own draught beers.... which I took every single opportunity to play with. It takes quite a bit of practice and patience to even come close to not failing miserably at the ritual pour..... and it always seemed so deceptively easy in front of the bar. Now that I know better, I will savour every sip of freshly pulled beer I have from now on. Promise promise.

The happy shiny final 3, flanked by more hot chicks and Hans Essaadi, MD of GAB. (photo: GAB)

At the end of the night, 3 winners were announced: Glen Oliver Joseph from Mish Mash, Penang, Sean Leong Wai Yean from Muzeum, Setiawalk, and Spencer Ezra Anak Petter from Publique, Kuching.

They each stood out, in my opinion, because they had some form of a stage presence and were quite entertaining. Glen ate fire, Sean did a cute little uncle dance, and Spencer pulled an interesting native east malaysian (iban, perhaps) dance routine. Good job guys! Now, go train hard and may one of you bring home an award in April!

Apart from being able to enjoy copious amounts of Heineken (and responsibly, I should add), us guests also had the chance to participate in a Consumer Star Factor Showdown. All of us had a go at tapping beer at the event entrance, where our efforts if were good enough, got recorded. At the end of the night, the best 4 guests were then called up on stage to duke it out for a chance to win a trip to witness the Heineken Global Bartender Finals in Amsterdam this coming April.

Oi macha. Pack me into your check-in luggage can? I'm quite small la! (photo: GAB)

And it was only apt that my friend, Deepak of, kicked everyone's arse on stage and won it hands down. I can't think of anyone else who deserves to win it more than he does. Except me of course. ME damnit. ME ME ME ME ME ME.

HRMPH. Because I'm sour grape-ing, I REFUSE to end this post with his happy smug picture. So here is mine instead.

Drink more Heineken. Responsibly. Proost!