Less Taps v More Taps

Posted on March 11, 2011


So after going for beers last night the discussion came up over “those bars” with 100 taps that exist in the US and overseas. The aura of having more taps and less quality verse Less and Better quality came up in discussion. Do you prefer bars with a 100 taps or those with 10 quality beers?

As I got into beer I was impressed with the number of taps a bar, a bit like walking into a wine store and being able to order anything sitting on the shelf. Toronado was my first experience of a bar in which i felt like a ‘girly man’ and not knowing what to order. After buying a local in San Fran a few beers so he could help guide us, I still felt like a Hyundai Driver walking into a Ferrari convention in Las Vegas.

Today I’m quite lucky as I’m an analyst and got into beer from an anlytical perspective by asking questions of my beer nerd mates, bar owners and drinkers of people who buy clear bottles. My job at the moment is asking ‘What do you do? and what is the point of your department?” and yes I have to document the bullshit from the quality. Amazing how everyone is really running the company, and nobodys job is like their inital reason for employment. But back to beer, I kept asking the questions and learned about ‘Cask’ beer, IPA, Stouts’ and any other beer that people bought in bottles that you could try.

So beer is a topic that has overtaken my wine passion for the time being, though in Australia I have reverted back to Wine as the Beer is mostly crap, and over taxed by the government as Fosters & Tooheys that own the industry have done the political lobbying. Craft Beer in Australia has a tax rate equivalent to 40-70% so its $10-13 for a pint. Aus$ = US$.

Bars in Australia are pretty bad overall and all generally have 10-15 taps of ‘Generic’ Beer that is sold in quantity, not in Quality. There are few bars in Sydney in which to get a quality beer that is supporting the small craft brewers. Tonight I’m writing this from 4 Pines Brewpub in Manly on Sydneys North Shore. They have on tap Kolsch, Pale Ale, ESB, Hefeweizen. There are only a few beers on tap at this bar that is located amazingly for those who live in this part of Sydney (I Don’t) and the beer is fresh.

The freshness of beer is something that one of the owners of Boundary Bay Brewery in Washington spoke to me about after I had my wedding reception there.  Ed told me that he doesn’t want his IPA sitting in someones bar for 3 weeks on tap, so that someone tries the beer and said ‘Thats Shit, I hate Boundary Bay’ so he is very careful with who sells his beer to. It’s basically from the brewery or Beverage Place Bar – West Seattle that you can buy the beer. That point made me reconsider my whole idea of a bar such as Taphouse Grill in Seattle or Henrys Portland with over 100 taps where you can buy beers such as Russian River Pliny Elder, or Lost Abbey Bourbon Barrel where the beer is actually stale.

What is worse Stale Great Beer, or Fresh Average Beer?

The Key Point of this rambling BLOG Post is that Beer is best enjoyed Fresh, not sitting in a bar with 100 TAPS. SO as beer lovers we need to keep frequenting those bars with 10-30 taps of FRESH beer, and making the point that when its stale that the Bar Manager knows it is, and they shoudl drain the keg, not keep serving this beer. Again we beer drinkers aren’t running bars, but the managers and owners should be aware of this kind of knowledge.

What is my principle with beer? I am flying over the US from Australia to drink beer for 3 weeks.. why? so that i can drink fresh beer, directly from bars, breweries and brewpubs that make the beer as Beer Does not travel vast distances, nor does it sit well in Kegs on Bars for Weeks on end. Beer does not Travel and unfortunately for those living in Australia you have to fly to the US for the quality experience.

This was written while Japan suffered a major Earthquake & Tsunami so thoughts go out to the country..