That draft beer you had when you were out on the town, the one that tasted a little off, well there’s a very unpleasant reason for that.
Here’s the deal…
Few things are better than a craft beer on draft. They’re usually fresher, cleaner and smoother than any beer in cans and bottles, a truly transcendental experience that sometimes is not. That beer buzzkill might be the fault of the bar you’re at, and nd the fact that the quality of draft beer can be significantly altered by dirty draft lines carrying the beer between the keg and the tap.
As LA-based Walt’s Bar owner Jeff Johnsen explained to The Takeout dirty beer systems don’t just put the beer at risk, but the customer’s health, too.
“I’ve worked in bars my whole life—so has my dad,” saysbJohnsen. “Draft beer lines need cleaned and changed super regularly. That’s something I saw a lot of: nasty draft beer systems that weren’t well taken care of.”
Often enough, it is easy to detect a dirty beer line simply by looking at it. Moldy faucets, cloudy lines, and old beer residue and mold on underbar couplers are sure signs that the equipment is not clean.
Bar staff should be thoroughly familiar with the Brewers Association’s Draught Beer Quality Manual and management should be diligent about enforcing cleaning policies.
The minimum frequency of cleaning is every two weeks, but weekly cleaning is necessary for high volume draft systems. That’s also the case if the draft lines are longer than 25 feet. Prior to cleaning, all the beer must be flushed from the lines with water.
Perlick, who are pros at these kinds of things, recommends using an electric pump to circulate the cleaning solution throughout the entire system and thoroughly flushing water through the system once again.
Bacteria and yeast can grow in a beer line and spoil the beer in even the most maintained draft system, so bars need to stay vigilant.
Because a dirty draft line is a Beer Buzzkill of major proportions.
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