Part of this comes from the Japanese being brainwashed by their big beer companies. While I was living in Japan for a year a few years back, I happened to go on a tour at an Asahi brewery where we got to try two free beers at the end. Before we got to taste our beer (Japanese have a thing about doing "kampai" before anyone can taste the beer in front of them even if it's there for 20 minutes), the lady giving a tour showed us how to do a "proper" pour with the golden line of beer making it around half way up the glass and foam the rest of the way up.
When I complained about this and explained that in Canada where I am from and where we have hundreds of different kinds of beers we can get on tap, we prefer getting no foam or very little, and that is how the bartender serves it. In response to that, she declared the same myth that a few other posters on here have: that a glass of beer sitting on a table exposed to oxygen can somehow lose its flavor while you are drinking it.
No Japanese person seemed to question what she said, with a unanimous "Eeeeee... Oooooo."
To all the people out there who believe this, I have to ask you, how many weeks does it take you to finish a mug of beer?
Your beer is being preserved in the can or bottle, and once it is opened, it's time to drink it and not try to preserve its flavor. How about actually tasting your beer instead of 90% air mixed with beer (foam).
To the person who said you are supposed to drink beer under the foam, I say, what kind of a mouth do you have? Do you have a special straw attached in there to enable you to suck in some beer with no foam between your teeth? Preposterous.
Once that beer has been opened or poured, there are only two things to worry about: temperature and carbonation. There isn't a human alive who can detect a difference in the flavor of beer caused by oxygen contamination between the time that beer has been opened or served and when it's become too warm or flat to drink without gagging.
Preserving the taste (Asahi beer? What taste?) of beer by adding inches of foam on top to protect it from oxygen that has already been completely mixed in with it while it was being poured and preventing you from tasting the beer at all (tasting foam instead)? That's called marketing on ignorance to save money by giving the customer less beer. Period.
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