Tonight, and for the um-teenth time, I ordered a scrumptious pint of my favorite beverage at the local pub. As I was watching it being poured, I saw something I have seen a thousand times before, but never question it till now:
Why does the Guinness tap handle go all the way down to the horizontal?
Tap handles for all other beers appear to stop at about 30 to 40 degrees from vertical, yet the Guinness stops at 90-degrees from vertical (i.e. horizontal).
Is there a technical reason for it? Does it have something to do with the nitrogen? Or perhaps it’s a marketing ploy just to “be different?”
It’s not a marketing ploy, but you are correct that it’s for the nitrogen. It’s actually called a nitrogen tap. Not just for guiness, but any beer that uses a nitrogen mixture. I can’t remember the mechanics behind it, but it’s different inside to give a certain attenuation to it that will not screw up the bubbles. Also, the real ones are “dual stage”. You pull it down to about a 90 degree angle, and then you can push it back about 30 degrees for a different flow rate, depending on the head you are going for… (save your sick puns you pervs). It’s what gives it the creamy texture. If you pull guiness from a normal CO2 tap, it will actually taste and feel quite different.