Editorial, Quality of Beer from Brewery to Glass

     Today as I sit in my chair staring down at the recent addition to our house (an orange calico kitten we named Dante) I looked up to read some headlines when I came across a notice regarding a draft manual from the Brewer’s Association. In this manual was a guide to storing, dispensing, and presenting draught beer to your customer. I have read this manual (which I have downloaded) and I was a skeptical in part of its effectiveness because the world of beverage doesn't seem to operate within the same cleanliness standards that a kitchen does.

     For example its a well known fact that no bar will ever keep the same beer on tap forever and at some point they will change the keg to something either close in comparison or completely different. A Coors Blue Moon macro one day might a Bud' tomorrow and yet only the discerning palette will be able to tell that suddenly their beer is different. Yet this is what we as craft beer enthusiasts deal almost weekly always with the larger question, "am I am really drinking something as if I am at the brewery"?

     Now I have been to bars that provided a wonderful atmosphere, filled with large High Definition televisions that broadcast baseball, football, or basketball games. Sure they provide entertainment with all sorts of music and occasionally you strike up a conversation with your local pub attendant, but its still about the beer. I won't name any names in the interest of appearing pointed (and you know who you are) but I have been to some "alehouses" that know nothing of presenting an authentic straight-from-the-brewery experience. Instead they use clogged lines that are so bad that would even make a cardiovascular surgeon puke his buffalo wings up. Other establishments use the opposite approach choosing instead to amputate the lifeline between the keg and the handle every single time, thus ensuring a fresh experience with each replacement but is this equally unnecessary?

    What I propose is that as part of acquiring a beer and wine license, an addendum include an assurance similar to a vehicle warranty in that you either clean the line with each keg change or after a period of no more than one month whichever comes first. I understand that some publicans might say "but you know nothing of the cost to do what you propose" which I can honestly say no I don’t. However, how would feel if you went to the trouble of ordering a six or seven dollar Russian River Consecration Pike Entire only to taste coriander or lemon zest where such characteristics should not be?

     The devils advocate argument to this question might be, don't drink from a bar you don't trust. To which I reply, ok fair enough but then what about all those loyal acolytes out there that continue like lemmings drinking the same bad beer from the same bad lines all because their watering hole provides distractions from the beer they are sipping? Do we wait until one day a friend at a party with a growler or a bottle hands them a sip and they realize, I have missed out on a great beer all these years? In the end its about the experience from the brewery, to the keg, to the fridge, to the glass. I think all of us can agree it feel so much more rewarding when you can drink a pint of something you can put your trust in.

Let me hear your thoughts on this, I know I am off kilter somehow in my logic.


Brewer’s Association Draught Quality Manual
Brewer’s Association website

Please visit our sponsors