Friday, May 17, 2013
"Cheers!" to sudsy beer drinking innovation
I lied in yesterday’s post. I said my friends and I were going to Altoona. In fact, Altoona was not our ultimate destination.
Instead, we went to the future!
And we discovered it has a great big hole in the bottom of it.
I’m one of those guys who is frustrated by mankind’s lack of innovation. We are awash in problems that seem indubitably solvable.
Climate change. Highway gridlock. Runaway health care costs. Air travel that is at once chaotic, inconvenient and uncomfortable, and inefficient 19th century internal combustion engine technologies powering 21st century vehicles.
But yesterday we stumbled into a bastion of innovation at the last place I’d ever expected it: the beer stand at the Double A minor league ballpark for the Altoona Curve.
As mentioned previously, yesterday was Thirsty Thursday, where The Curve sell 16-ounce Yuengling lagers for $2 each. First pitch was at the unusual starting time of 10:30 a.m.
It promised to be a splendid day and we were alive with anticipation as we walked into the concourse on our way to our seats.
But first stop: brunch beers.
“We’ll take three, please,” said my buddy to the pretty college-age beer tender.
We were too busy taking in the scenery of the ball park to notice something was amiss. The stand had no beer taps.
The beer tap is a standard feature of every single bar and draught beer vending place in which I’ve ever set foot -- and I’ve been drinking beer since the fourth grade.
Here’s how it works. You put the glass or mug under the spigot and give the tap a tug, and I’m explaining this in case anyone reading today has never had a beer and is feeling crushed by a lifetime of sobriety.
That’s all it takes and then, hooray, beer!
I saw it first.
The girl took three plastic cups and slammed them down on silver mushroom-like pegs submerged just below the otherwise flat metallic surface.
Beer began gushing up from the bottom of the glass.
I was dumbfounded. It took a second for my buddies to notice. When they did, I thought they were going to vault over the stand and do something heroic to rescue the beer that was certainly in danger of spilling everywhere.
It did not. After about four seconds, the beer filled clear to the top, the girl removed the glass and handed them over. All three were perfect pours.
You could have knocked us over with a feather, well, if that feather was the size of a telephone pole being wielded by a Hercules intent on knocking over three beer-bellied middle aged men.
What just happened?
“It’s a new system called The Bottoms Up,” she said. “Each glass has a hole in it covered by a magnetized little souvenir disc. When I put the glass on it, the disc pops up while the beer goes in. Then it fills up automatically and the disc re-attaches to the magnet ring when I lift the glass.”
We took them in later for Happy Hour Show ‘n’ Tell when we got back to The Pond, our home bar in Latrobe.
It was the first time we’d ever had Happy Hour Show ‘n’ Tell and it was so much fun I’m hoping we can do it every Thursday. It’s just a fun way to share and learn about things certain to accelerate our inebriation.
Dave had heard about them. Turns out, the beer system we’ve been enjoying for more than 100 years is incredibly inefficient. You see it all the time.
Beer dispensation may be poorly regulated resulting in excessive foam that requires the bartender to waste a lot of beer to get the perfect pour. Or maybe it’s so slow that the bartender has to stand there while it dribbles out and his or her thirsty customers get agitated.
I checked out the Bottoms Up website that boasts it’s the most efficient beer-pouring system ever. It set the Guinness World Record by having one bartender pour 62 pints in one minute.
The stat makes venerable beer bongs look slow pokey.
And now today I’m changing my mind about the pace of innovation. The Bottoms Up Beer delivery system means all is right in the world.
With enough beer, who’ll give a crap about all the rest of the other problems?
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