Friday, 25 May 2012
Earlier this week, one hot sunny day, I found myself in a beer garden of my local, just hours after reading Boak & Bailey's blog posts, The John Smith's Experiment. Lucky me, my local serves John Smith's or... John Smith's, or Strongbow for the really adventurous. Since it needs ticking, and there were no other choices, I decided to see what I thought about John Smith's brew. There were two positives. First, it wasn't offensive. Second, it was creamy and smooth, with a really good head on it. That's all I can really say on it.
Halfway through my half, I commented on the head, and how I thought the lady behind the bar was a bit rubbish because she wasted about a quarter of a pint pouring over the side in order to get a good head. Mr T then explained. Explained the horrendous system that is the autovac. For those that don't know, the autovac system recycles beer that goes over the side of your pint, back into the barrel. Apparently this process makes your beer have a good head. Well. I wasn't sure what to think except for being a bit horrified. I was half way through my drink which had gone over the hands of countless people who may have been picking their nose, or scratching themselves...
Before I continue, I wish to clarify I'm not a clean freak, as anyone who has ever visited my house will testify to. But I'm not filthy.
So. I know that chef's handle food. And I know that although they should be, they might not all be hygiene sticklers. But, food generally is cooked after handling, and food which isn't, is only briefly touched by one person. Autovac, where a liquid runs over every nook, cranny and crevice of several bar staff member's hands and nails, taking with it dead skin, bacteria and I dread to think about the other grossness which lurks there... is a whole other kettle of fish. Yuk.
Now I know. Blissful ignorance is no more. Now, there are questions to be answered.
Am I really that unobservant that for my entire adult life that I have failed to notice this? Or is it not that common practice?
Does it make the head of the beer better?
Can I survive as a beerticker and avoid autovac beer, or am I going to have to suck it up and stop moaning?
And... I did finish my beer... does that make me a hypocrite?