August 05, 2022
We've all heard it, some of us have said it "Wait till you taste it on draft". The truth is, beer almost always tastes better on draft versus from a can or bottle. Let's take a look at why beer tastes better on draft, but first let's pour a beer, all this typing is making me thirsty!
Beer has enemies, namely light, heat, oxygen, and in some cases time. Beer stored in kegs has rarely seen the light of day, same as with cans. Bottles however block some light but not all. Advantage, kegs and cans.
When it comes to oxygen draft beer and cans both do well to keep oxygen away from the beer until it is poured. Due to the way bottles are filled and capped, a small amount of oxygen can get in. Advantage, kegs and cans
Kegged beer is almost always kept cold right up until its poured into your glass. Cans and bottles on the other hand spend plenty of time in storage that isn't temperature controlled. Advantage kegs.
What makes draft beer taste different? It primarily comes down to 2 things, Freshness and carbonation. Most kegs don't spend much time in storage and make it to the tap room quickly. Plus a good tap room or bar takes great care to ensure their taps are kept fresh and rotated frequently. This is especially important for hop driven beer like IPAs, APAs, and double IPAs. The hop oils and aromas degrades over time and these beer styles are best enjoyed within 30 days of being brewed.
The second factor is carbonation. A well balanced tap will pour a perfect pint at the ideal serving pressure and temperature as specified by the style or brewer. This plays a big role in the mouth feel and aroma of a beer.
When you combine the protected environment that pressurized growlers provide with the freshness and ideal serving pressures you get the best way to enjoy most beer.
There are a few exceptions to the 'draft is better' rule. Beer that is best aged such as barleywines, Belgian Quads, and Imperial Stouts are some examples that often times get better after a couple of years in the cellar. Thanks for reading!
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