Friday, 30 January 2009

Which side of the line?

Maybe I complain too much, yesterdays post complained about the worry of the year ahead in this economically uncertain time. Today we got customers, not many, but better than no customers. The first one had Budvar Dark, straight choice, no selling, fantastic. It was worth being open just for that.

I said I'd mention about full pints and stuff. I've been waiting to pull through the first pint on the handpulls, with sparkler, for a while now. Just so I can show you this. Although we serve our cask, or real ale in lined glasses, I'm not convinced of the merits of the idea. I like the idea here, because customers do notice and that helps my trade. However it costs me money.

The first picture here is a typical pint as served by me. Notice the liquid is actually slightly above the line. I'm generous, yes? Well it has to be at or above the line by law, because I serve in lined glasses.
Notice though the very same pint a couple of hours later. It's a good beer because the head is still there, if a little reduced. But notice where the liquid line is. That's free beer. I think I'm quite good to my customers.


Artist formerly known as Wurst said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Woolpack Dave said...

From Wurst,

"Dave, I don't understand this argument, never have. Over here we have a different system than in the UK. People don't try to add beer back into kegs(lager), or add slops back into cask ale. The idea is to make a profit, and this should be done without sacrificing quality to the customer. I'm not talking out my arse. I lived in England for 2 years. The quality control of beer was horrifying in the pub I worked at. Beer lines were rarely cleaned, all slops from the lager drip tray were added back to the keg. Same as the real ale. I mentioned this to the publican, but I was just some dumb yank, who felt it was his duty to wake up at 5:30 a.m. on Tuesday morning to receive beer from the dray. So that's why my flog is entitled Master of Ale. I've been on the forefront as a server and as a cellarman. I've witnessed all the nutty shit that comes with someone claiming the Guinness is off. I'd have to pound the keg with a rubber hammer to somehow render it satisfactory. I tried to explain that Guinness is a pasteurized product. So there you go, my credentials in a nutshell. **** all these people that just started drinking beer six months ago and thought it was a good idea to start a beer blog."

I know, I'm Mary Whitehouse reincarnated.

Woolpack Dave said...

I think what you are saying Wurst, is that quality is what is important, not price or volume. OK, maybe these other two factors are important, but the strong message sent to licensees is that beer is too expensive and pints should be full. The response by some is exactly what you explain. The problem is, that some people actually think it is OK.

People who do this are... well, I'm sure we could all come up with some nouns if we think for a microsecond.

Oh, and anybody who does not clean their lines at least once a week is asking for trouble. Even the pasteurised stuff needs to be done.

So Wurst, if these are the things you where saying to this chap, then you are not a dumb yank.

Brewers Union Local 180 said...

I cleaned my lines today.

Actually, that was yesterday, as it is 2:37 AM and as my chef is off having a baby, I think, (perhaps his wife is involved), and I'm done working for the moment and this is a run-on sentence and I don't know if he/she had the baby yet.

Tomorrow (today) I do some paperwork.

Did I mention there is a brown ale fermenting in FV1?

Oh, and my feet hurt from standing on concrete all day. And my wife went skiing. And corned beef and cabbage with lots of butter is yummy.

And about that line thing on the glass, it's simple - if you say you're pouring a pint, then pour a pint. Honesty is still a virtue.

Paul Garrard said...

With all the publicity given to CAMRA complaining about beer tax and supermarket prices it's no wonder that there is a perceived need to cut prices. People that buy by price tend not to be concerned by quality. Unless you are extremely expensive already I'd cost the 'above the line' into the price of your pints. "There's no such thing as a free lunch" or free beer come to that.

Woolpack Dave said...

Thanks guys, above the line it is then.

BUL180, tell the chef type person that I hope it didn't hurt too much. Did he try to make Cumberland Sausage yet? And yorkie puds?

I remember skiing - it's fun, until you break a leg.

Anything is yummy with lots of butter.

Paul, I think you've got it right. Maintain quality but charge the appropriate price for that quality - that's the answer.

Tyson said...

It's great to see lined glasses being used. Unfortunately, they can lead to confusion because you don't sse them that often. Personally I would make them compulsory. I agree with Paul-over the line but paid for.

Tandleman said...

Yes it's a no brainer. Cost it into the beer with a little margin for yourself. Nobody will know or care.

Oddly enough our pub uses a mixture of lined and not lined glasses. You take pot luck. I prefer for its shape the old style Lees glass (pre grip) so I usually have a brim measure. I don't care.

ChrisM said...

I was on a CAMRA trip in Northumberland on Saturday. One of the pubs we stopped at was using oversized glasses, and our secretary asked it to be topped up, not realising it was a lined measure. The landlord still obliged, and the measure was more than a pint. A very good pint of Yates Bitter, though, it has to be said!

As others have noted, oversized glasses are great, but don't let them eat your profit!

Tim said...
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Woolpack Dave said...

Tim left a comment that suggested the CAMRA chairman was a less that nice person. I was in the process of editing the comment and reposting it. I accidentally deleted. Sorry Tim, I didn't mean to go that far. But I have removed comment moderation as I want people to comment easily. When I see individuals called that, it offends. Sorry.

But I don't agree Tim. It's a mistake many make.

Woolpack Dave said...

Silly me, I can repost it. It's in my mail. Gosh I'm stupid.

"ChrisM, your CAMRA secretary sounds like a bit of a t***. Most people I know who make a point of getting an overflowing pint only do it to be provocative. No one is 'really' that passionate over half a mouthful, not even CAMRA die hards."

Tim said...

Sorry Dave, I didn't mean to cause offense. As nobody was specifically named I didn't feel that I was defaming anyone. I guess I made a bad judgement sorry.
Yes it was simply a misunderstanding with the lined glass, but I think it's still petty to go and ask for a top up on what is generally considered a full pint. I know a few people who associate with CAMRA who do it to make a point rather than they really feel that they are being ripped off. Nobody can really feel 'that' passionately about the issue but raise it anyway. That is what makes them 'T...s' in my opinion.

Woolpack Dave said...

Hey Tim, no problem, perhaps I make too much fuss, I'm not like this in real life. It's perhaps something to do with ancestors and all that. I'd like to think the dead ones might still be able to read this - yeh, stupid I know.

Anyway, as I see it there are a few issues here with the full pint thing. I can see the point you make about CAMRA members thinking they have a right to overstep the mark and ask for a top up unreasonably, just to make a point.

The thing is though, that most people are not used to a lined glass and it might be a pint to the line but if the head doesn't reach the rim of the glass, or they perceive the head to be too large, they can think they have a short pint.

Was this guy being unreasonable? I don't know, you might be right, I wasn't there.

Tim said...

Maybe I was being reversely closed minded to CAMRA? The situation of oversized glasses is a sticking point and the establishment did the right thing PR wise and obliged to top up the glass, even though they did appear to do the right thing in the first place.
I don't think I have the patience to have a career like you do Dave! keep it up.

ChrisM said...

Just to continue the debate...

The drink in question was nominally below the line to begin with, but, of course, well within the 95% of a pint that the government stipulate. It is true that people, even CAMRA members, aren't used to oversized glasses, and it is very easy not to notice that you have been given one, particularly if you have eyesight issues and can't see the line, as is the case with the gentleman on Saturday. I wouldn't call this being unreasonable. If I was the publican, though, I would've made a point of telling the customer that it was an oversized glass, rather than just topping it up...

Woolpack Dave said...

Tim, yes I agree, oversized glasses are a sticking point. Indeed, a reason I started my blog in the first place. My view is that 95% of a pint is very close to a pint. I could go on at length about this fictitious amount drinkers are being ripped off by. The full pint campaign forgets about what is lost in the drip tray as an inevitable by product of draft beers. A customer who politely asks for a top up when the head is more than 1cm is quite right; If pint to the brim measures are being used, of course. Unfortunately, a minority of CAMRA members make a point of doing this in an non polite maner and often unreasonably.

ChrisM, actually the law says that in a lined glass the liquid MUST come to the line. The 95% rule only applies to pint to the brim measures. However, your point about eyesight is valid. Some pint to the line glasses have a very faint etched line. Our pint glasses are very clear, but I often get annoyed at our wine glasses, which have a poor line.