Thursday, 3 June 2010

Arguments against sparklers (part 218)

I dropped into an unnamed pub (literally – the sign appears to have been taken down for refurbishment) the other day. It was a sunny day and the interior was pleasantly cool and quiet.

There were two beers on, one from Strathaven Ales and a Caledonian seasonal, Surf's Up. Like most of Caledonian's seasonals, it tastes pretty much the same as one of their other beers. Most of them are tweaked 80, but this one was slightly tweaked Deuchars.

The beer fobbed quite a bit coming out of the pump, causing the barmaid to complain about the condition of the beer.

"Better than having it too flat," quoth I.

"Oh, then you can always put the sparkler on and it gives it a nice head," says barmaid.

So there you go, in the minds of some pub staff, the sparkler is there to disguise flat beer.


  1. Huh. One anecdote ain't evidence. Loads of poor bar staff about and what's in their minds, goodness knows.

  2. Sounds like conclusive evidence to me! ;-)

  3. "Quoth I"? The Real Ale Twats membership card arrived then, Barm?

    Tandleman: knowing that the sparkler can be used to disguise flat beer marks out the barmaid as one of Glasgow's more real-ale knowledgable. Depressingly. And for that matter, a single observation does provide a sufficient sample for generalisable conclusions, bearing in mind the strict qualifer "some".

  4. Tandy has long promoted his position that sparklers can be used to good effect, when beer is well-looked after & has a good amount of condition. He's very experienced in the world of good beer & cask in particular, so I believe him, it's just that in my experience it's exceedingly rare & instead many many pubs actually use them in this much more cynical way - i.e. to make flat beer look more appetising.

    Trouble is all it is is a cosmetic fix - the beer doesn't taste any fresher or fizzier just because a tired pint is whipped up into a froth.

  5. Tandleman has stated elsewhere that a sparkler will make flat beer worse, and I agree with him on that; but unfortunately my experience coincides with yours.

  6. Mike and Barm - I agree with the general principle that you outline. The problem isn't sparklers, but poorly kept beer and general low standards.