Friday, 22 October 2010

Right and Wrong Illustrated


Now we all know that beer is better sparkled. That's a fact that just can't be denied. I know its true; Tyson has said it and I've said it and he knows everything about serving beer and I know the rest.

But a picture is worth a thousand words, so to save me writing two thousand of the buggers and you reading them (or not as the case may be), here's a couple of photos that show why it is so. The first picture shows beer awaiting top up in a pub that serves its beer correctly. The second shows an unappealing unsparkled pint.













The camera doesn't lie. That's another fact, so that's the argument resolved once and for all then. Quod erat demonstrandum. It just leaves one point outstanding. The matter of where the duff pint came from. That'd be telling, but both were bought this week in the North, but its the principle of the thing I'm drawing to your attention, so no names, though I will reveal the lovely sparkled ones were from Yorkshire. They might be a bit gruff there, but they look after their ale well.

So Northern sinners, repent. For it is written, "Thou shall sparkle all cask conditioned beer. Unsparkled beer is an abomination in the eyes of the Lord".

I think it was Moses that said that and he knew a thing or two. And he wasn't a man to cross.

61 comments:

Velky Al said...

May I ask a question? When I get my sparkled pints over here, the barman does the pour in a single smooth action rather than the three pump pour you normally see back home. Is he doing it bad?

Tandleman said...

Depends on how tight the sparkler is and how much condition is in the beer in the first place more likely than not.

As long as you get a nice tight head.

Cooking Lager said...

Oo sparklers again. I love a sparklers debate. I think they are a great way to get cask ale to imitate the natural nitrogen injection effect of smooth flow bitter.

Velky Al said...

yep, the head is always spot on.

Tandleman said...

Cookie - I think you may find it the other way round. Yes sparkling resolved. That should shut people up.

Tyson said...

I didn't even know there was a debate:)

Looks better. Tastes better. What's not to like?

David B said...

I work for Shepherd Neame. Sparklers are only put on when the beer loses condition (which is quickly because it's so bright in the cask and ends up looking like the right hand photo). When it IS in good knick, no sparkler because that would cause more ullage. Good eh?

Bob said...

are you sure they aren't pints of John Smiths Smooth...? They look terrible! Sparklers are an abomination that ruin the taste of perfectly good beer and should be banned.

Sid Boggle said...

Is there beer under all that milk?

This Moses you refer to, is it the one with the mountain and the wandering tribes, or the one who used to play for Man Utd?

Curmudgeon said...

@Velky Al - Typical British handpumps now only have a quarter-pint cylinder, so you would need at least four pulls, probably more, to fill a pint glass.

Phil said...

I'm with Bob and Sid, but then I'm a transplanted southerner (even though I've done at least 90% of my drinking up here). The second picture looks fine to me - was it Adnam's?

Curmudgeon said...

To my mind, using swan-necks and very tight sparklers knocks too much of the stuffing out of beer. I was perfectly happy with the short nozzle and plastic "dog's dick" sparkler that was commonplace in the North-West in the 1980s. The sort of pints you illustrate were then exclusively a Yorkshire thing.

In fact the now-vanished electric meters gave the best consistency of beer of the lot.

Tandleman said...

David B:You clearly know little about conditioning of beer. The last thing you do is sparkle flat beer. Shepheard Neame? Is that what they teach you there Don't make me laugh!

Tandleman said...

Bob: Wrong Matey. Remember Moses.

Phil: You should know better!

Mudgie: As above.

Tandleman said...

Phil . Adnams? No. It might just have been forgiven if it was. Think a lot nearer home.

RedNev said...

Picture 1: wait for 5 minutes for your pint to settle enough to be topped up.

Picture 2: ideal if you've bought a pint and just realised your bus or train goes in 5 minutes: much easier to get down quickly.

My preference: somewhere between those two extremes.

Tandleman said...

RedNev - Well of course in an emergency...... it should still be sparkled. Poor timetable keeping just won't do as an excuse.

Steve Marquis said...

In my view there can be no debate at all about a sparkled vs a non-sparkled pint!

The sparkled pint is a northern pint, the sparkler (via a swan necked beer engine) bruises the beer on the way through and knocks up to 30% of the bitterness into the head while generating the foamy drink all you northerners like so much. That is why the beers oop t' north were brewed so much more bitter than in the south.

Enter the south where the short necked beer engine delivers an unbattered beer into a pint and looks wholesome and inviting to the southerner. The beer brewed in the south wasn't so bitter as that in the north so taste and flavour were a good balance.

Enter the marketeers oop t'north who wished to sell beer to those daan sarf! When the northern and more bitter beer was delivered in a short necked beer engine (with a not so bruising sparkler) it was too bitter for the southerner to drink. Guess what, with the bigger market down south the northern brewers decided to reduce the bitterness. Result for the south but when the likes of Boddingtons, Timmy's Landlord and many others became less bitter, they became a blander in the north as there wasn't enough bitterness to cope with the swan neck and tighter sparkler.

The southerners didn't like the idea of the Northerners sending their beer daan sarf without them sending theirs oop t'north. Trouble is, when they did, it couldn't cope with the bitterness required by the swan necked beer engine. So the northerners win while loosing a few big names to the south. or.. did the southerners win, ohh well, I had better get back to the bar and think about it over a pint.

Steve Marquis @BlueBellHalkyn
Blue Bell Inn, Halkyn
www.BlueBell.uk.eu.org

Paul Bailey said...

Non-sparkled for me every time. I want a pint of beer, not a pint of cream!

Tandleman said...

Steve - So, if I read you correctly, it is down to these Southern Jessies. Harsh, but fair.

Paul: You are such a fine fellow on all other counts! (-;

Eddie86 said...

I call cheat! Are the beers shown in the two photos the same ale, in the same pub, from the same handpull, just one with a sparkler and one without?

And just think of all that beer being wasted! Either serve that pint with a flake in it, or take the sparklers off and with good condition you'll still get a nice looking pint :D

Mark, Real-Ale-Reviews.com said...

Most stupid debate on a beer blog award goes to... Sparklers matter less than some would argue beer styles do. Personally, I like sparkled beer. But that's a subjective opinion and not fact. Please stop this silly argument.

Those pints look like smooth flow anyway...

Tandleman said...

Tell you what Mark. Don't you tell me what to write on my blog and I won't tell you what to write on yours.

Its a bit of fun that's all.

Bob said...

Nope, sparklers are evil and should be banned. I'm sure those two are pints of John Smiths Smooth... ;-)

Montague said...

You must be running out of beery things to write about, Peter. This latest little episode of yours is on track with all the boredom merchants(beer bloggers). I am looking forward to discussing this and many other beery topics with you next year.

Rabidbarfly said...

Bloody sparkler debate, a sure fire way to get hits and comment! Think I feel a blog post coming on...(oh the cynicism...)

Mark, Real-Ale-Reviews.com said...

Don't want to be told what to write but you're happy to dictate to people that they should always use a sparkler?!

The world and it's army seems to revel in telling us what we should and shouldn't write, so we tend to just ignore them. Do the same Peter, but my preference is for not telling people how they like their beer, that's all.

I'm sure they know best (and if they don't they probably won't be told so!) ;-)

Tandleman said...

"Its a bit of fun that's all"

Which bit you no understand Mark? Do you really think I think that I'm changing minds here? Or out to? Or think I might?

Its a bit of fun that's all.

Gazza Prescott said...

Ah, the old "dog's dick" sparklers!!! Do Sam Smiths still use those? I was in one of their pubs recently and the sparker a was bloody huge big white thing but I couldn't see if the end came out...

I admit this might sound strange to those who haven't seen one, but I assure you these contraptions do exist!

Mark, Real-Ale-Reviews.com said...

I'm more of a curmudgeon and cynic than I thought then...

Where has all my youthful optimism gone to?!

Philip Carney said...

It's just the sparkler?

Tandleman said...

Gazza I'm proud to say I used to have a dog's dick.

Coxy said...

I hate Caffreys , Didn't know you could still get it!
Id rather have a good pint of beer whether Sparkled or not, are you really telling us the Sparkler can turn a Pigs ear into a Silk purse.

Tandleman said...

Coxy - Quite the reverse. The beer MUST be properly conditioned otherwise a sparkler will make it worse. Nothing turns a beery pig's ear into a silk purse.

Check my blogs passim.

Erlangernick said...

Much more important is for you lot to get your glassware sorted: oversized, lined tulips.

That does look like nitro pour. Too extreme. And the other one's on the other extreme. Somewhere in the middle is better.

Honestly, I don't know which I like better. I need to come over and do some more side-by-side comparisons -- sparkled and un. I'll bring me thermometer.

I'll leave the hydrometer at home though.

Tandleman said...

Nick - It was a bit of a wind up; fun. Hence the extremes. But they were served to me this week.

Erlangernick said...

People like me don't get subtle humour, of course!

Interesting to learn about the new vs. old handpump cylinders too.

Gazza Prescott said...

"That does look like nitro pour"

I'm guessing it was from an economiser in Leeds or similar?

That's the only serving method I've ever seen to consistently give a pint as white as that when poured.

Paul Bailey said...

As a southerner, who spent several years living "up north", I do remember the "dog's dick" type sparklers, although until now I have never heard the phrase. Quite a good analogy, I have to admit.

Gazza, I was in one of Sam Smiths London pubs last week, but wasn't really paying much attention as my pint was being pulled. It was very smooth and creamy, and even I would have to admit that certain beers (only certain ones, mind you!), are better when served this way.

Jeff Frane said...

Amazing how many Brits can't tell when someone's taking the piss.

Martyn Cornell said...

Amazing how many Brits can't tell when someone's taking the piss.

Indeed. They just don't get irony in the UK, you know.

Personally, if I want a couple of inches of whipped cream on top of my glass, I'll order an Irish coffee.

Tandleman said...

Now then Martyn. You are the historian here. No doubt you know the history and provenance of heads on beer.

Clue? It isn't a recent thing. But I'm not a historian therefore I can allege, You are, so you can't.

Do tell.

Anonymous said...

As I said before the non sparkler brigade know nothing about beer or how it should be served. Pity the poor southern (mostly) fuckwits as they sip their pints of brown lifeless ditchwater in their sad little sticky carpeted hovels they call pubs down here. Witness the Sarfern contingencies twissup enthusiasm for norfern beer over this very weekend - there are few places dahn ere that could host a return event and receive as much praise.
It's fucking ace oop north! Thank god for the sparkler!

RedNev said...

I knew this was a jokey posting. How come so many others didn't?

Kieran Haslett-Moore said...

your wrong.

Kieran Haslett-Moore said...

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_FyzpRED8xTU/SXQfVONGDBI/AAAAAAAAA9E/ziSdbJ7hV2Y/s1600-h/P1180659.JPG

Coxy said...

Hey anon , its not us cockney bassstards fault there is bugger all to do than worry about sparklers up norf. You don't want flat beer cause you already have flat caps and thats enough, and there are a few pubs downt here that will Whippet a Sparkler on for you if you ask nicely and slowly. I lived in the norf for a few years and was always amazed at your politeness on telling me how unfriendly we are down here and how bloody friendly you all are , which was in fact Bobbins.

Mark said...

Question for you [Tandleman]. Assume two pints of beer in excellent condition, one served through a sparkler and one not, what makes the sparkled one better for you?

Just trying to understand where you're coming from on this. To me, a beer served without sparkler, in good condition, will lie somewhere between your two extreme photos and that’s the ideal way for me.

Do you just have a personal preference for tighter, smoother heads or do you think it actually improves the beer (regardless of style etc)?

Apologies if you've written a blog specifically on this, I had a look through your archive but couldn't find one.

BeerBirraBier.

Paul Garrard said...

There is no god!

Cooking Lager said...

just wanted to be the one that made comment numero 50.

Tyson said...

Keep it going folks. Only 103 posts to go to equal Tandleman's record. Dig deep.

RedNev said...

(continued) ... and still don't!

Tandleman said...

Mark. For me it is appearance and mouthfeel. I just like drinking my beer through the head.

Whether or not it "improves" the beer is subjective, but for me, it does.

Curmudgeon said...

Do you think that sparklering improves archetypal "Southern" beers like Harveys or Wadworths?

Tandleman said...

For me? Yes, but I'd probably make an exception for Harvey's. Had Wadworth beer sparkled many times. It was fine.

ChrisM said...

I've had far worse unsparkled beer than the one on the right... think no bubbles at all...

Mark said...

Ahh, ok. I can understand that. I know you intended this to be a fun post rather than a serious one, but there is an interesting (albeit old) debate in amongst all this.

I see it as a tool in the creation of a beer. The serving of a beer is part of the production process, in the same way as cellaring, brewing and fermenting are. As the owner of that process, the brewer should have as much control as possible. I think its the responsibility of the brewer to specify how their creation should be served and the obligation of the landlord to serve it in that way.

If the brewer intended a creamy head, they should specify that the beer should be served through a sparkler and the landlord should honour that etc.

Individual customer requests should then be handled in the same way as when you order food. "Can I have that £30 chateaubriand well done please".

Rockabilly Rebel said...

Without sparkler every time and I'm not from dahn Sahf, I'm from Scotland. I don't want to spend 10 mins watching something that looks like a pint of milk settle, plus when a pub is really busy, 3 or 4 deep at the bar the staff don't have time to top up, so you are left with something closer to a half pint than a pint. Providing the staff know how to pour a pint, you can get a perfectly good head on a pint even without the sparkler.
I particularly like gravity fed beer from the wood which sometimes comes out fairly flat, but there is no denying the superior flavour

Tandleman said...

Well even allowing that you are from Scotland, you are still absolutely and utterly wrong!

jesusjohn said...

A riposte, sir!

http://jesusjohn.blogspot.com/2010/10/sparkler-wars-ii-is-this-way-to-amarill.html

Anonymous said...

I've been in the pub trade 25 years and for the love of God where can I get a sparkler that does its job and also has a part that slides over to give flat beer too without taking it off???!!! Pleeeeeeease help