Draught beer has long been a cornerstone of the beer drinking experience, bringing with it a sense of tradition, community and unparalleled taste.
Enjoying a cold draught beer in a glass is the quintessential way to enjoy beer as it was intended by the brewer, offering a freshness and complexity that sets it apart from its bottled and canned counterparts. At its core, draught beer is simply beer that is served on tap, directly from a keg or cask.
The term draught originates from the Old English word dragan, which means to draw or to pull. This drawing process signifies the act of pulling the beer from the container to serve it, rather than relying on bottles or cans for distribution.
The key elements of draught beer lie in the storage, dispensing and serving process. Breweries package beer into kegs, which are sturdy, sealed containers designed to preserve the beer’s freshness and flavors. Draught kegs are then stored in coolers or refrigerated spaces to ensure the fresh beer is kept at the ideal temperature until it reaches the consumer’s glass.
To serve draught beer, a tap system is employed, consisting of a faucet or tap handle and tubes and lines that connect the keg to the tap. The system is pressurized with carbon dioxide (CO2) or a mixture of nitrogen and CO2, which helps push the draught beer out of the keg and into the glass. This process allows the beer to flow smoothly and consistently, maintaining the beer’s carbonation and preventing it from going flat.
One of the most significant advantages of draught beer is its freshness. By skipping the bottling and packaging process, the beer remains untouched by light and air, preserving its quality and taste. When poured, draught beer releases its full range of aromas, enhancing the drinking experience and allowing the beer’s unique character to shine through.
What’s So Great About Draught Beer?
Draught beer is considered to be the perfect way to drink and enjoy beer for many beer enthusiasts. Besides draught beer being the freshest beer, there are many benefits to consider when serving draught beer instead of beer packaged in cans or bottles. A few of the advantages of enjoying draught beer include:
Draught beer is fresher than bottled or canned beer. It’s stored in kegs under controlled conditions, ensuring that draught beer maintains its quality and flavor until it is served. Since it bypasses the packaging process, there is less exposure to light and air, which can affect the taste of the beer.
- Taste and Aroma:
Serving draught beer allows the flavors and aromas to be fully enjoyed. The beer doesn’t come into contact with the lining of a can or bottle, preserving its taste integrity. Additionally, the act of drawing the beer from the tap can release carbonation and enhance the aroma.
- Temperature Control:
Kegs are stored in temperature controlled environments, ensuring that the beer is served at the ideal temperature for that specific style. Different beer styles are best enjoyed at different temperatures and draught beer systems allow for precise control in this regard.
- Creaminess and Mouthfeel:
Some beer styles, like stouts and porters, benefit from being served on draught due to the creamy texture and smooth mouthfeel achieved through the tap system. The nitrogen or carbon dioxide used in the draught process contributes to a satisfying and unique drinking experience.
- Variety and Special Releases:
Many breweries offer exclusive or seasonal beers on draught, making it a great option for trying new and limited release brews. This variety allows beer enthusiasts to explore a wide range of flavors and styles that may not be available in bottles or cans.
- Social Experience:
Enjoying draught beer in a bar or pub creates a social atmosphere. The act of gathering around the bar, watching the bartender pour your drink and clinking glasses with friends fosters a sense of camaraderie and enjoyment.
- Environmentally Friendly:
Opting for draught beer can have a positive impact on the environment. Kegs are reusable, reducing the need for single use bottles and cans. This decreases waste and the carbon footprint associated with packaging and transportation.
These are just a few of the benefits of draught beer and why draught beer is better than canned or bottled beer and better for the environment.
How Do Draught Beer Systems Work?
Draught beer systems are designed to serve beer directly from kegs providing a convenient and consistent way to dispense beer in bars, restaurants and other establishments. These systems help maintain the quality and freshness of the beer while allowing for efficient and controlled dispensing.
The process begins with kegs, which are stainless steel containers filled with beer. These kegs can vary in size but are commonly found in sixtel, quarter barrel and half barrel capacities.
The kegs are stored in a refrigerated room or keg cooler to maintain the beer’s temperature and freshness. Proper cooling is essential to keep fresh draught beer at the desired serving temperature, typically between 36 to 38 degrees.
Draught beer systems use pressurized carbon dioxide (CO2) gas to dispense the beer. The CO2 gas is stored in a separate tank at high pressure and is connected to the kegs through a gas line.
A CO2 regulator is used to control the pressure of the gas entering the keg. The pressure needs to be set correctly to ensure the beer flows smoothly and doesn’t become over carbonated or under carbonated.
From each keg, there is a beer line that runs from the keg’s outlet to the tap. These lines are typically made of food grade tubing and the length and diameter are carefully calculated to balance pressure and prevent foaming.
The beer lines are connected to a beer tower or tap system, which is the visible part that customers interact with. The beer tower is mounted on the bar counter and contains multiple taps allowing for the dispensing of different beer varieties.
At the end of each beer line there is a faucet and a tap handle. When the bartender pulls the tap handle, it opens the faucet allowing the beer to flow through the lines and out of the tap into the customer’s glass. A drip tray is placed under the beer taps to catch any spills or drips ensuring the bar remains clean and tidy.
Some draught systems have return lines that recirculate the beer back to the keg, preventing excessive foaming and maintaining a consistent temperature. Regular cleaning and maintenance are essential to keep the system hygienic and ensure the beer’s quality.
Lines and taps should be cleaned at least every couple weeks and every time a keg is changed out to prevent the buildup of bacteria, yeast and mold. With draught beer systems, bars and restaurants can offer a wide selection of beers on tap, maintain freshness and provide customers with a satisfying beer drinking experience.
How to Find Fresh Craft Brewed Draught Beer Near Me
Is the price of your favorite beer at the local Family Markets grocery store rising like a rocket into space? Can’t afford to pay the high price for a case of beer at the Minute Mart?
Why not look around your town and find a local brewery selling fresh draught beer to take home? You’ll be amazed at how cheap draught beer from your local brewery is. If you’re looking to find fresh craft brewed draught beer near you, follow these steps:
- Search Online:
Use search engines like Google or Bing to look for craft breweries, brewpubs or bars in your area. Type in keywords like “draught beer near me” “craft brewed beer near me” “craft breweries near me” “craft beer bars” or “brewpubs in [your city].” This will give you a list of establishments that likely serve fresh craft brewed draught beer.
- Craft Beer Apps:
There are several smartphone apps dedicated to craft beer enthusiasts that can help you locate nearby breweries and bars. Apps like Untappd, BeerAdvocate and Taphunter allow users to search for venues serving specific craft beers including draught options.
- Check Brewery Websites:
If you have a particular craft brewery in mind, visit their website. Many breweries have a Find Us or Locations page where they list bars, restaurants and retailers that serve or sell their draught beer. Some breweries even offer a beer finder tool on their website to help you locate their products near you.
- Beer Events and Festivals:
Keep an eye out for local beer events, beer festivals or tap takeovers. These events often showcase a wide range of fresh craft brewed draught beers from different breweries.
- Social Media:
Follow local craft breweries and bars on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Breweries often post updates about their latest beer releases and where you can find their beers on draught.
- Ask Local Beer Enthusiasts:
Join online beer communities or forums specific to your area. Ask fellow beer enthusiasts for recommendations on where to find fresh craft brewed draught beer near you. They may have insider tips on the best places to check out.
- Visit Local Craft Beer Bars:
Explore bars and pubs known for their craft beer selection. These establishments typically have rotating taps with a variety of craft brewed draught beers from local and regional breweries.
- Check Beer Menus Online:
Some bars and restaurants publish their beer menus online. Browse through their selections to see if they offer craft brewed draught beer.
- Call Ahead:
If you find a bar or restaurant that you think might have fresh craft brewed draught beer give them a call to confirm their current offerings. Draught beer selections can change frequently so it’s a good idea to check before you visit.
By using these methods, you’ll be well on your way to finding and enjoying fresh craft brewed draught beer near you. Remember to drink responsibly and savor the flavors of the craft beer community in your area. Cheers!
Beyond the exceptional taste, draught beer fosters a sense of community and conviviality. Enjoying a pint at a local bar or pub brings people together, encouraging conversation and camaraderie. It’s an experience that transcends cultures and generations connecting beer enthusiasts worldwide.
Draught beer is more than just a pour from a tap, it embodies a tradition of craftsmanship, a commitment to quality and a celebration of shared moments. Draught beer offers a chance to indulge in the full flavor profile of the beer while partaking in a social experience that has stood the test of time.