Keep draught beer cold to ensure peak freshness and that it pours easily and profitably. The number one factor affecting how draught beer pours is temperature. At retail, even a few degrees increase above the ideal maximum of 38°F can create pouring problems, especially excessive foaming.
- Craft Beer Retailer Temperature Cheat Sheet: Keep beer at, or slightly below 38°F throughout the retail process.
- Warm Storage Causes Difficult Pouring: When improperly stored at ambient temperature, kegs of draught beer will warm quickly and become difficult to pour in just a few hours. Kegs that have been warmed can take a day or longer to achieve proper serving temperature.
The right gas at the right pressure is critical for pouring great draught beer. Your retailers (or system installers) likely know the correct operating pressure for the draught beer system.
- The Facts About Draught Line Carbonation: The rise, run and resistance of each draught beer system will determine the operating pressure and the perfect blend for that system. Using a default blend of 70% CO2 / 30% N2 is usually a better choice than 60%/40%.
- The Facts About Air Compressors: Air damages draught beer flavor, causing it to spoil rapidly and resulting in lost sales. Pushing beer with air is like stepping over $5 to pick up a penny. Only install CO2 or CO2/N2 blended gases for dispensing draught beer.
- The Facts About 25/75 Gas: High nitrogen blended gas, usually 25% CO2 / 75% N2 (G-Mix), is intended for nitro beers only, like stouts. Regular beers will quickly go flat when dispensed with G-Mix. Don’t use G-Mix to dispense regularly carbonated beer brands.
- Fountain Carbon Dioxide Quality Guidelines: This manual by the International Society of Beverage Techonolgists provides in-depth specifications on CO2 supply chain, possible sources of contamination, best practices for CO2 handling and safety recommendations.
- Solubility of Carbon Dioxide in Beer: A handy chart for relating dispensing pressure and temperature to arrive at the perfect carbonation level.
- Calculators for Draught Beer Dispense: Four downloadable calculators for determining the exact blend for any draught beer system, and a mobile app from McDantim, Inc.
Keep draught beer lines clean to maintain brewery fresh-flavor. The number one factor affecting draught beer quality is poor hygiene. Whether you as a wholesaler provide line cleaning service or not, it’s a good idea for you to play an active role in making sure lines are cleaned properly and regularly. Poor hygiene and improper cleaning and/or rinsing will result in loss of sales and reflects poorly on the entire industry.
- The Facts About Draught Line Cleaning: This document outlines the basics, and includes a line cleaning schedule. For more in-depth information, see pages 51-59 of the Draught Beer Quality Manual.
- Draught Beer Line Cleaning Log: Use this log to help your staff or the retailer’s chosen service provider document their work.
- “Draft Beer Quality Assurance – Line Cleaning”: In this presentation, Tom Geordt, director of training and new business development for Micro Matic, Inc., shares step by step instructions for successfully cleaning a draught beer line.
- Draft Cleaning 101 at The Olympic Tavern: Your competition takes their line cleaning seriously and are letting their customers know about their efforts. In this video, the line cleaning process at The Olympic Tavern in Rockford, Ill. is explained.
- Extreme Case of Improper Line Cleaning: Here’s visual evidence that poorly maintained lines will deliver infected beer that tastes very different from what the brewer intended, and from what the consumer expects.
Choice of glassware and how it’s handled makes a huge difference in beer sales.
- Draught Beer Basics: Four Keys to Excellent Beer Service: Cold beer, dispensed through clean lines, into beer-clean glassware, properly poured by knowledgeable staff is essential to success.
- The Right Beer Glass: A CraftBeer.com resource dedicated to helping you find the right glass to serve your draught beer.
- “Frosted Glassware Is Not Cool: Temperature Tips for Craft Beer Retailers”: This CraftBeer.com article discusses the importance of temperature to the draught beer system and how frosty glasses kill beer flavor and cause foaming.
- “Stainless steel vs. brass faucets: A study”: Encourage retailers to invest in high quality components such as barrier tubing (never use poly or vinyl in long-draw bundles), and stainless steel parts instead of brass.
- Glassware Management: Encourage retailers to invest in separate glass washing sinks. Avoid washing beer glassware in the same dishwasher as food dishes. For more in-depth information, see pages 46-48 of the Draught Beer Quality Manual.
- Trained, Passionate Sales, Delivery and Service Staff: Knowledgeable salesmen, delivery and service staff who love and understand beer will sell more, and will be able to match retailer and customer wants with the great beers on tap.
- CraftBeer.com: Website aimed to energize and engage craft beer enthusiasts and arm them with the resources to be active and educated appreciators of the ever-expanding craft beer movement.
- Beer 101: This one hour basic beer knowledge course from CraftBeer.com is $15 and comes with a certificate of completion.
- Cicerone® Certification Program: Basic, intermediate and advanced-level beer training for servers.
- Doemens Beer Sommelier: In-depth two week training course for beer servers and experts.
- Master Brewers Association of the America’s Associate Beer Steward Certificate: Online and on-site courses available.
- Brewers Association Beer Style Guidelines: Download in-depth descriptions of beer styles from around the world.