Tuesday, 19 November 2019

Inside a 1920s bar (part two)

Yeah. We've got to the heast of a pub:its beer engines.

Part seems so have a weird aversion to to certain types of handpulls.

"The beer pulls, which should be of wood, and not the familiar ivory or composition, which is ugly, should not be hidden—because customers think they are being cheated if anything is done out of their view, and sometimes they are right. The sink, in the engine, should be sectioned off, with separate waste pipes to each section to carry off the waste beer, which should not all be put into the mild, porter, or stout, but carefully through a filter into the same cask to which it belongs.

The beer engine should be of the best, with patent drip taps, and, if necessary, a locking bar.

Under the bar-counter will be ranged wash-up bowls, and sinks, and wide shelves for bottled beers.

If the beer sale is large, it is better to have the engine in two groups of four pulls each, than a larger number of pulls together, to avoid congestion.

One set of pulls should be towards the centre of the counter.

If the conditions allow of it, draw beer direct from the wood, but this is seldom possible, owing to the difficulty of securing the right temperature in a bar. Beer, and particularly the beers of Burton, is far better so drawn.

At the back of the bar, shelves, some nine inches deep, are required, ranged at intervals, and these are best made of thick plate glass.

I do not recommend the use of urns for any class of trade, unless very large, but inverted bottles, with Irwin or Optic measures, which are automatically filled, and knave and fool-proof, as regards accurate measure."
"The Art and Practice of Innkeeping" by Alexander Francis Part, published by Heinemann London, 1922, page 209.

This section is so important.  Hard evidence that slops were retutrned to barrels. Stuff like this is rare.

Interesting that the recommendation is not to return all slops to the Mild, Porter or Stout. A sure indication that this is what many publicans did. It's making me think that my crazy theory about Mild going dark because of the lack of cheap dark draught beers when Porter disappeared, is perhaps not so crazy.

I wonder why Burton beer was better served by gravity? No idea, myself.


Phil said...

Wouldn't the mild already need to be dark at this stage, in order for the mild barrel to be a possible dumping-ground for waste beer?

As for the beer from the wood, my immediate thought is that it loses condition quicker that way! Perhaps the writer is just one of those who like their beer slack and heavy - 'big' beers especially.

Ron Pattinson said...


the book mostly seems to be discussing London. (You wouldn't have found draught Porter anywhere else in England, for example.) And by this point most Mild in London was at least semi-dark.

Unknown said...

I wonder whether Mild went dark simply for the purpose of having a low gravity place to send the slops. “Light colored mild would be too obvious we’re sending the slops there. Let’s darken it up so no one knows that’s where the slops are going.”

Ron Pattinson said...


"I wonder whether Mild went dark simply for the purpose of having a low gravity place to send the slops." That's exactly what I said at the end of the post.

Steve N said...

I might have made this comment before, but my sister was behind the bar for a while in the late 90's in Liverpool at a pretty renowned pub. They employed a cellarman, who generally kept the beers in reasonable nick. But all the slops went back into the Marston's Pedigree. And by slops I mean all the waste from all the beers, including all the half empty pints collected through the evening or left at the end of the night. Anything from the customer side went through a sieve - fag ends, plastic from cigarette packets, whatever. Everything went into the Pedigree. Funny that it was the only pint I used to send back for tasting a bit funny from time to time.

Mike in NSW said...

In Cardiff in the early to mid 1970s I became a Brains convert. The beer was heavily pumped through a tight sparkler - initially the glass would be full of tight froth that looked like modern nitro beers as they pour, and a lot of it spilled over the sides and into the trough and back to the cask until the glass started to clear then was handed over the bar. At busy Brains pubs such as the Heath Hotel where my housemate was a part time barman and showed me the process one quiet afternoon, they would go through casks of bitter in particular very quickly so the slops didn't have a chance to stale the beer.
The vast majority of draught sales were SA, Bitter and Dark, with one lager and maybe a single keg such as Tudor so I guess it was easy to control the process compared to the wide ranges in pubs nowadays.

Ron Pattinson said...

Mike in NSW,

that sounds very much loke the univacs they used in Leeds. Tetley's Mild only ever tasted right served that way.