It's 4:15 in the afternoon, and I'm standing in a conference room in my office. I've had more than a few beers. My normal day is a little less Don Draper, but on this particular afternoon I'm testing out the Fizzics, a quirky little gadget that promises to improve the flavor of any beer by creating a perfect foam head with the help of a medical-grade oscillating sound pressure wave generator.
Adding foam without wasting carbonation
"When you're doing a hand pour, to get a nice head on it, usually you pour straight down," says Fizzics co-founder and CEO Philip Petracca, a beer nerd of the highest order. "That gives you some fairly large bubbles but actually uses up most of the carbonation in the body. Nucleation is the technical term. Not to mention those bubbles dissipate quickly." The Fizzics produces small, tightly packed bubbles that last quite a while without killing off your carbonation. And because it does it with sound waves, instead of nitrogen or some other additive, it doesn't change the flavor of the beer.
I know what you're thinking. This sounds like the kind of corny device you would have found in a Skymall catalog (RIP). That's true. But it also works really well! It gave a bottle of Brooklyn Lager and a can of Yuengling a creamy head that was almost like a Guinness in consistency. In side-by-side taste tests with a careful hand pour, the difference was obvious. There was also an enhanced aroma which brought out some richer flavors. "Most people don't realize it, but a lot of the taste of beer happens in your nose," says Petracca. Aspiring craft brew snobs looking to discuss the intricacies of your favorite brand's bouquet, take note.
The Fizzics is currently running an Indiegogo campaign and is already comfortably past its $50,000 goal. If you pre-order there, you can get the device for $119, Petracca says he hopes to retail it for $199 after launch. It runs on just four AA batteries, weighs a couple pounds, and fits easily in a backpack. In our testing, it worked equally well with cans and bottles of various sizes.
Microns are the key to "mouthfeel"
As we wrapped up our testing I polished off a Miller Light, which despite its watery nature, managed to hold a decent head after being run through the Fizzics. Petracca mentioned that the company actually has a patent pending on the technology. At this point I had a good buzz on so I asked him if he really thought adding a nice head of foam to any beer was serious science. "What we have discovered is reducing the bubble size to sub 30 microns gives you the best mouthfeel," he intoned. "There is a part of your body called the trigeminal nerve..." I waved him off. In my current state this explanation was going way over my head, and anyway, I didn't need it to understand that beer tasted way better when poured from his invention.