It’s Friday afternoon, and you’re finally off work. You’re sitting at a bar, enjoying a pint of your favorite draft beer. Things are good.

After a few sips of a delicious lager, your bliss is interrupted by the customer sitting a few barstools away. He doesn’t seem to be enjoying things quite as much as you are. This guy is coughing, wheezing, and sneezing up a storm. He must’ve caught that cold that’s going around. “Boy, sure hope I don’t catch that cold,” you think to yourself, quietly moving your barstool a few inches in the opposite direction.

Then, just as you’re taking a big swig of beer, you see something horrifying. The bartender grabs the sniffling patron’s empty glass, ducking to avoid a violent sneeze. Then, as you watch in agony, the bartender fills the sick customer’s used glass with your favorite brew… and the faucet spout is buried in the beer as it fills!

You begin cursing and mumbling to yourself: “ARGH!! What the… did you see… how could… gross… unbelievable!”

Soon after witnessing this, you notice a tingling sensation beginning at your head and then dropping to your toes. You are waiting for the chills to set in. You reach for a kleenex to blow your nose, and kick yourself for not getting a flu shot.

Conceding defeat, you pay for your beer (no tip for this bartender!) and head for the door. Next time, your promise yourself to at least check the place out before ordering.

Why do bartenders do this? Are they that busy that they can not keep an ample supply of “beer clean” glassware on hand? Or do they just not know? They might as well not clean the dinnerware. Just scrape off the chunks of leftover food, and serve the next customer! Oh sure, some customers want their glass refilled. No problem… but stop burying the spout in the beer, mister!

To be fair, most bartenders aren’t so keen to ignore basic hygiene principles. But sometimes even the most experienced bartender could use a quick reminder of the proper way to pour a “perfect pint”

The easiest and most hygienic method of dispensing draft beer from a keg is to angle the glass and drop it about an inch below the spout. Grab the lever as close to the body of the faucet as possible, and with a swift motion, open and allow beer to hit the inside glass wall about an inch in. Upright the glass (sooner for more foam head, later for less) while filling and allow the flow to stream into the center. When complete, swiftly close faucet.

Another reason not to cover the spout with the glass: if you do this, the flow of beer can’t be seen. When the beer is foamy or streaking at first and this enters the glass, you can kiss that pint goodbye. It is extremely difficult to dispense clear beer on top of this initial shot of foam. If visible, stop dispensing, pour the foam out and then rinse the glass with water. Then start with clear beer. (Another good reason to have the system tuned to eliminate this initial shot of crapola beer. Possibly consider installing a rinser drip tray.)

So, for the bartenders out there, please do us all a favor… never refill your customer’s glass! We draft beer lovers want to continue to enjoy the “best” version of our favorite beers without having to wonder if that H1N1 flu vaccine really works. And yes, we know you’re really busy. We all are. But there’s nothing better than plopping your butt down on a barstool to enjoy a crisp, clean draft pint. Particularly after watching the bartender utilize a fresh, “beer clean” glass every time…

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