Sparkler, a small plastic fitting that can be affixed to the spout of a beer engine when dispensing cask-conditioned ales. The most common type of sparkler is essentially a cap perforated with several small holes. When the beer is poured, it sprays forcefully through the holes in the cap. Thus, aerated and agitated, the beer forms a thick cap of foam. In Britain, the home of cask-conditioned draught beer, opinions are sharply divided as to whether the sparkler enhances or diminishes the character of the ales poured through them. That dividing line, although fuzzy, seems to run across the country somewhere north of the Midlands and perhaps just south of Yorkshire. In the north, most cask beer drinkers feel that the sparkler softens, rounds, and opens the beer’s flavors while giving it an attractive head of foam. In the south, the sparkler is often seen as an abomination that shreds the light, natural carbonation out of the beer and reduces the appealing bitter characteristics of its hops. A properly conditioned cask ale, they argue, should not require the use of a sparkler to look and taste its best. So heated is the debate over the sparkler that even the usually bombastic Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) sidesteps the issue, saying that sparklers should only be used when the brewery has stated a preference for them. See campaign for real ale (camra). Sparklers are only used in association with beer engines, usually fitted with swan-neck spouts, and never affixed to taps used for gravity dispense.