The Great Beer Mystery

I was just reminded again of a mysterious thing in Yokohama, that some readers may be able to help with. One of the first nights we were in Yokohama, I went up to the bar on the 70th floor, just to see what it was like. I was neither cool enough nor rich enough to really be there, but they let me sit at the bar and listen to the jazz band they had playing.

When I sat down, I asked the bartender what sort of draft beer they had, and he said “Budweiser.” I said “I see a tap over there that says “Guinness,” so bring me a Guinness.”

Then I watched him go to a cooler, take out a bottle, and pour a completely flat glass of Guinness. Which he took down to the other end of the bar, and didn’t bring back for a few minutes. When he did come back, it had a very nice head on it– you could’ve used it for an ad shoot.

Well, I was baffled by this. So, of course, I ordered another, to see what was going on. Actually, I got two more, and I’m still not sure…

After pouring the beer from the bottle into a pint glass, they would take it over to what looked like a tap, and set it down on a little platform. Then they would walk away, and the beer would foam up– the whole glass would fill with bubbles, as if you had just filled it from an over-pressured tap. Then, slowly, the foam would settle down into a very nice head, at which point somebody would retreive the glass, and bring it to me.

I have no idea what was going on there. They didn’t put anything into the glass, and the pseudo-tap thing didn’t even extend over the area where they put the glass. They just set it on a platform, and stuff happened.

So, does anybody know what the deal is? I wasn’t hallucinating this, or at least I’m not the only one who hallucinated it, because I mentioned it to some Aussies a few nights later, and they had seen the same thing at a different bar. and, like me, ordered several more rounds in the interest of science, without a definitive answer.

I’d really love to know what the trick is. So, if you have any ideas, leave them in the comments.