For most people, draft beer is typically beer that comes from the tap, normally housed in a keg or cask. Technically, draft beer is no different in ingredients used and consistency than regular beer found in cans or in bottles. However, since it does come from the tap, which allows a certain amount of air in when poured into a glass, certain measures must be made to prevent too much carbonation, which can ruin the taste and feel of the beer. For most beer drinkers, pouring the beer into the glass from the tap is an art that must be mastered to achieve the perfect mug or glass of beer. In fact, most guys are taught the basics while fraternizing in college, where draft beer is the beer of choice. Here are the basics in pouring the perfect mug of draft beer.
- Start with clean mug or glass. For bartenders, pouring draft beer in a clean mug or glass is half the battle. Most of the time, draft beer loses its value and taste simply because the glass or mug used has residue or contaminants left over, leaving the purity of the beer questionable. Avoid tainting the beer by always using a crystal clear glass.
To test if the glass or mug is clean and free of contaminants, do what the bartenders do. Dampen the inside of the mug with some water, add a pinch of salt, and shake. A clean glass will result in the salt sticking to the inside walls of the glass. A dirty glass will have the salt at the bottom as it cannot adhere to the glass due to residue. If the glass is clean, remove the salt by rinsing it in running water. If the glass is dirty, wash it with liquid detergent and water. Rinse well and dry with a clean towel. Test again to make sure it is free of contaminants.
- Angle it. Position the glass at an angle under the tap or hose. The distance between the angled opening of the glass and the bottommost part of the tap should not exceed 2 inches, the closer the better. The technique is to let the beer hit the angled glass and slide down towards the middle of the glass. Doing this correctly will eliminate the forming of air bubbles and will allow you to make the most out of the beer. When running the tap, make sure to open it smoothly. If the tap has some sort of control, letting the beer flow down in smaller but still continuous amounts is best.
As the glass fills up, you will be forced to gradually straighten it up. Straighten it up under the tap and watch the foam form. This is fine since draft beer is normally served and downed with about an inch of foam at the top. There you have it, a mug of draft beer poured to perfection.
As a side note, draft beer is never served with ice. Melting ice will introduce water into the beer, which will dilute the flavor. Instead, frost a mug or glass inside the freezer to serve the beer nicely chilled.