If you have ever ordered a beer at a bar or been around beer enthusiasts for long, you have likely heard the term draft beer, or draught beer, being thrown around. Draft beer is cold, crisp, and perfectly coated with a layer of foam, making it a beer lover’s go-to option. But what exactly is draft beer?
This article will teach you everything you need to know about draft beer, including what it is and why it is the best way to drink beer while answering some commonly asked questions about it.
What is Draft Beer
Draft beer is stored in kegs and served from a tap. It is thought to be fresher and taste better than beer from a bottle or can. This type of beer has more body and is richer than varieties packaged in glass or a can. Usually, only a couple of days pass between kegging and delivery to the bar or restaurant.
The stainless steel walls of the kegs block sunlight from touching the beer, which would otherwise degrade the quality. They also keep oxygen out, keeping the beer crisp and fresh. Purchasing kegs of draft beer also allows restaurants to serve it in large quantities and rotate different varieties.
History of Draft Beer
It is believed that people have been putting beer into barrels since the Middle Ages when medieval monks were producing beer in huge quantities and had to develop a way to keep it fresh. People eventually began storing beer in pressurized kegs around the 20th-century, and thus, the draft beer was born.
How is Draft Beer Stored?
Draft beer is stored in a stainless steel barrel called a keg. Beer goes through filtration and pasteurization before being put in the keg.
Kegs make it easy to store beer and transport it from the brewery to bars. These barrels typically come in 5 liter, 20 liter, and 50-liter sizes for home consumption and large entertainment establishments.
Kegs are stored at cellar temperature (around 54 degrees) to keep the beer at a perfectly regulated temperature. If it gets too cool, the beer can lose its flavor and bubbles, become flat, and produce excessive amounts of foam when it is dispensed. If stored and served too warm, it can develop a sour taste and present an irregular appearance.
Non-pasteurized keg beer has a shelf life of up to 60 days, while pasteurized beer can last longer, between 90 to 120 days. After opening, though, a keg needs to be drunk that day, or it will go flat and lose its flavor.
Is Draft Beer Better Than Bottled Beer?
Ask almost anyone who drinks beer, and they will usually agree that draft beer is hundreds of times better than canned or bottled options. Draft beer tastes better for several reasons, including how it is brewed, stored, and dispensed.
Some bottled beer will try to label itself as draft beer, but that is an oxymoron and impossible. Companies will use that as a branding technique because draft beer is notably better than bottled beer. If it comes out of a can or a bottle, it cannot be draft beer.
Now, there are a few things to consider with draft beer to ensure that it retains all its features. If you do not let it rest for enough time after transport, it can be too foamy. If you serve it too warm or too cold, it can affect the flavor. If you do not have clean tap lines or don’t use your keg right away, you may find that it also affects the flavors. So, it comes with a few added instructions – but those who love it swear by it.
Is Craft Beer Different Than Draft Beer?
It is entirely possible to drink a craft draft beer. Craft beer is a custom-made artisanal beer where the brewer creates recipes and experiments with different flavors, typically in smaller and exclusive batches. Craft brewers tend to develop new, exciting, and interesting flavors that draw people in to present the results as either canned, bottled, or served on tap as a draft beer.
Are There Cons to Draft Beer?
While most people love draft beer, and the reviews are almost always positive, there are some cons to draft beer. Draft beer can easily be destroyed by barkeeping if the lines are not kept clean and pure, leaving the beer contaminated and tasting foul. Tap lines can be very long in some bars and keeping them all clean can be challenging.
Barrels have to be set for a certain amount of time before drawing the beer. It will need to stay at the right temperature, and if any of these things are not done correctly, the beer can come out tasting flat and lacking in flavor.
If you are a bar owner and your beer is coming out unsatisfactory, you may need to do some troubleshooting to discover what might be wrong.
Does Draft Beer Have Higher Alcohol Content?
It is a common question whether or not draft beer is more alcoholic than bottled or canned beer. In short, it depends. The alcoholic content of beer is measured in “alcohol by volume,” or ABV. ABV differs between brands and types and is determined by what percentage of the beer is alcohol.
Some beers have different alcohol content for the same beer in the draft version and the bottled versions. For example, Sierra Nevada’s canned Original Pale Ale has an ABV of 5.6 percent, but it has an ABV of 5 percent in its draft form. It is essential to be aware of these differences before consuming different beers or trying a new one for the first time, as the alcohol content can vary greatly.
So there you have it, everything you need to know about draft beer. It’s a pressurized beer with deeper flavors, stored in a keg and served on tap. Ultimately, it is fresher than canned or bottled beer. Next time you go to a restaurant or bar, ask them what they have on tap and try some draft beer for yourself. Cheers!