Wednesday 6 March 2019

In search of auto-vacs

It may be considered slightly odd to travel over 400 miles to find beer served with auto-vacs, but I take my Continuing Professional Development seriously. For those not familiar with the devices they suck beer out of the drip tray and recycle it back into your pint.

I have a certain morbid curiosity about them dating from when I briefly worked for a company that owned some pubs with them. God, that was an strange job. But not as strange as some of the people I worked with. The Technical Services Manager was sound as a pound though, and whenever he got the chance he'd remove them. This did once lead to us getting sent an email of complaint from one of the customers. Recycling beer that's run down the glass and fingers of the server may be unhygienic but some of those in thrall to the sparkler actually like the effect in has on the texture of the beer. The sucking round and recycling that is, hopefully the running over the fingers of the server doesn't affect the texture. Though that might depend on what's on their fingers.

After last years Heriot-Watt reunion I found out I'd been drinking in pubs with auto-vacs without even noticing it. It seems I'd been doing too much networking and not enough CPD. So this year I was determined to to seek them out and investigate their effect on beer.

When we got to the Blue Blazer I was ready but they'd actually put a tea towel over the drip tray:

So near but yet so far!

The view in the Bow Bar wasn't as good so I may have had success here but as I'm not certain I don't think I can really tick it off.

Nice clear view in the Guildford Arms though!

Where's that beer going?
So success was definitely achieved! As to the effect on the beer, I did think the it had some of the life knocked out of it. So a bit like sparklers really but with added hygiene issues.


  1. When I worked in a bar, the ullage ended up down the sink.... best place for it.

    If you want aged beer, age it properly!

  2. A big fan of them, myself. Tetley's doesn't taste right served any other way.