Tug the rope showdown; Holly vs Troy the westie, who do you want to win?
Ah the sparkler argument, that old chestnut.
For those who don't know. A sparkler is small plastic device that can be attached to a swan neck of a beer engine that disperses beer as it's pulled to create a creamy head. This removes CO2 from the liquid and into the head. Carbonation has obvious effects on flavour perception. For a start it reduces the perception of bitterness, which has understandable benefits for Yorkshire beers. The claim that it reduces aroma makes sense but I've still had plenty of sparkled pints with a decent aroma.
To be honest, when I first started drinking hand pulled beer I was completely unaware of sparklers or the difference between sparkled and non-sparkled beer. I take every pint as I get it. But being involved in a beer drinking community you realise that some people hate sparklers, whereas others demand them.
Some good opposing views can be found here and here. I myself would like to say I'm on the fence but recently I've been weighing-up the pros and cons. For instance I prefer mild ales and Yorkshire bitter served sparkled. But sometimes the sparkler effect can be overdone. Another advantage is that say for example you decided to borrow a hand pump and pin from work (perks of the job) to fill your home brew with and take to a party where you only had 3 or 4 hours to vent your beer, a sparklers offers a collar of foam to the unconditioned pint.
But to be honest. To be really honest, if I was a landlord and had a perfectly conditioned quality cask beer to die for, I would take that sparkler off. So whats your preference sparkler or no sparkler? The argument between old CAMRA folks can be just as dramatic as watching Holly vs Troy playing tug the rope. Who wins? Well that's just a matter of opinion, that's as relevant as the outcome of the Holly vs Troy stand off?
In the end though I do believe it was Troy that was victorious.