Draft beer when bars reopen

Discussion in 'COVID-19' started by ejimhof, May 15, 2020.

  1. ejimhof

    ejimhof Poo-Bah (1,629) Apr 12, 2004 Pennsylvania
    Society

    So I have been purchasing growlers for over a month from a local restaurant and always buy the same beer. The last two growlers I can tell the beer is starting to get flat. My question is what happens when bars reopen and try to sell old draft at premium prices? I know that a local Whole Foods drained poured all their draft when stay at home started but what about the kegs that have sat for a long period of time on tap? will people complain about off tasting beer or just be happy to be in a bar drinking again?
     
  2. Brugesman

    Brugesman Initiate (46) Apr 22, 2020 California
    Trader

    I don't think beer in tapped kegs will go flat. As long as the pressure is properly maintained. Bigger issue is cleaning the draft system lines. Any reputable place needs to do that before beer starts flowing again.
     
  3. ejimhof

    ejimhof Poo-Bah (1,629) Apr 12, 2004 Pennsylvania
    Society

    I am not an expert so if it is just the lines will you pay full price for beer from a dirty line? Is it ok to bitch about it with the current environment?
     
  4. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (7,151) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
    Society Trader

    I drank some draught beer twice this week. They tasted fine. @Old Chicago in Casper.
     
  5. ejimhof

    ejimhof Poo-Bah (1,629) Apr 12, 2004 Pennsylvania
    Society

    I'm sure a lot draft is still good and tastes fine. But I'm positive that a lot is flat and I am not willing to pay $10 a pint for off tasting beer. Just curious what other people are experiencing in areas where bars are open again.
     
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  6. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (7,151) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
    Society Trader

    $10 a pint?? Yikes.
     
  7. ejimhof

    ejimhof Poo-Bah (1,629) Apr 12, 2004 Pennsylvania
    Society

    Some places have discounted growlers for take out to $10. Others asking $77 for certain things. I'd like to know how many they sold.
     
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  8. scottakelly

    scottakelly Zealot (517) May 9, 2007 Ohio

    I'm not worried about it being flat, just the age. During our shutdown several places were pushing to-go growler sales that never did before in order to reduce their old inventory. As soon as the reopening dates were released they stopped. Reading between the lines I'll pass on on-premises draft sales for awhile.
     
  9. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,497) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    My recommendation to you is to request a sample taste prior to ordering your draft pint.

    Cheers!
     
  10. adrock314

    adrock314 Champion (800) Apr 14, 2006 Pennsylvania
    Society Trader

    I’m my experience the beer in the line will go “flat” if not poured for a day or two. Normally this would never be a problem at any place that does any amount of normal business. We’ve been selling deeply discounted growler fills but it seems like we’ll often have to clear a line before filling if it’s something that hasn’t been poured for 24-48 hours. Probably depends a lot on how far the draw is as well. Cheap growler or not - I’d ask for a sample first given the current situation.
     
  11. JuliusPepperwood

    JuliusPepperwood Aspirant (220) Jul 21, 2013 North Carolina

    Growlers are a little tricky. If they aren't filled correctly or consumed within a few days they can easily go flat.

    I agree the bigger concern will probably be clean beer lines during the shut down.
     
  12. mambossa

    mambossa Aspirant (213) Jun 30, 2015 Ohio

    I’m a beer and wine buyer at a Whole Foods. All of our bartenders (including me) were initially extremely confused why we were directed to run ALL the kegs out. Sure, we had a handful of IPAs, but there were many other beers on tap that would’ve been perfect. We had recently had our system re-evaluated, tweaked, and all questionable seals in tubing repaired. The whole nine. All of our kegs would’ve been fine. We offered growlers to TMs at a heavily discounted flat rate, until we sold 20 of them, ran out of growlers, and were told not to buy any more cases of growlers.

    It felt like pulling pitchers for ghosts, pouring those perfectly good beers just to walk a couple feet and dump them down the sink. In hindsight, it was a proper decision. It’s good to start fresh. And hey, it’s not my money that was going down the drain!
     
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  13. ejimhof

    ejimhof Poo-Bah (1,629) Apr 12, 2004 Pennsylvania
    Society

    Not Blaming you or anyone else for what Corporate tells you to do but I have bought a lot of flat growlers and really not interested in spending $77 for flat beer.
     
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  14. ejimhof

    ejimhof Poo-Bah (1,629) Apr 12, 2004 Pennsylvania
    Society

    Yes I agree I'm just talking about bars selling obviously outdated beer
     
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  15. Miles_in_beer_city

    Miles_in_beer_city Devotee (411) Jun 18, 2014 North Carolina
    Society

    I would worry about this in some bars and taverns, but not in a brewery tasting room. A craft brewery will not knowingly serve a bad beer to a customer. These owners are passionate about their craft.

    This will be a NON-ISSUE in Breweries that care about their product and they will dump beer that is past its prime. They are going to pour beer through clean taplines when they reopen. In fact if they are not using them for growler/crowler fills they are probably already clean and dry.

    I listened to a podcast the other day interviewing the owner of Hillman Brewery, and she said she requiring that staff only take the shorter life stuff (IPA's, etc.) home and not the stouts, porters, etc., that age much better.

    I have had an 'off' beer on rare occasions, and I take it back and tell them I think it is off. Every time they have tasted that beer, and every time they have taken off the tap handle. It's usually just that keg, and after connecting a new keg and flushing the old beer out, it has been fine. And every time they have given me a fresh pour of my choosing.
     
    #15 Miles_in_beer_city, May 16, 2020
    Last edited: May 16, 2020
  16. Miles_in_beer_city

    Miles_in_beer_city Devotee (411) Jun 18, 2014 North Carolina
    Society

    I'm not paying $10/pint unless it is something really special, and there are some that qualify, but those are usually served in 10oz pours.

    Flagships, seasonals, and other beers produced in quantity, nor take aging, or special steps... nope.
     
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  17. russpowell

    russpowell Poo-Bah (10,089) May 24, 2005 Arkansas
    Society Trader

    Were you guys really locked down? The only thing we couldn't do is go out to bars & eating joints to eat, If I was there doing to go food for people that would've been my take home incentive for my staff.
     
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  18. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (7,163) Sep 24, 2007 Montenegro
    Society Trader

    https://www.beeradvocate.com/commun...ts-happening-to-the-beer-left-in-pubs.637583/
     
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  19. JuliusPepperwood

    JuliusPepperwood Aspirant (220) Jul 21, 2013 North Carolina

    If a bar has any knowledge of beer then time really should not effect carbonation. If they uncoupled the kegs from their draft lines then the keg's seal will maintain its carbonation for a really long time, maybe years.

    If they left the kegs coupled then they should be attached to a CO2 draft system which will maintain the carbonation level. The beer in the lines will get flat (and possibly sour) if its left in there for too long. So they should empty and clean all lines before reopening. Again no effect on CO2.

    And if for any reason any kegs are are pouring flat after they reopen they can attach CO2 to it and force carbonate it overnight at 30-35 psi. Or if they are unable to they can return it to their distributor or the brewery.

    If you are consistently getting flat growlers from a location I'd assume they don't know how to fill them properly, regardless of the shutdown.
     
  20. russpowell

    russpowell Poo-Bah (10,089) May 24, 2005 Arkansas
    Society Trader

    Whoops meant to go beer
     
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  21. MrOH

    MrOH Meyvn (1,100) Jul 5, 2010 Maryland

    Bezos can afford it
     
  22. MrOH

    MrOH Meyvn (1,100) Jul 5, 2010 Maryland

    From my understanding breweries that are still producing have moved dang near all packaging to cans and bottles. There probably are a ton of kegs at distributors that aren't necessarily the freshest, but are kept refrigerated. So, maybe lay off the hoppy or delicate beers on draft for a couple of months after you feel safe to go to the bar again, but feel free to have a stout.

    If you're getting flat, stale, or sour (that's not supposed to be sour), or some other off-flavor, 99% of the time it's the fault of the premises. If you go to the bar for exquisite beer, find another one. If you go there because you like the atmosphere (there have been numerous dives that I loved that had dirty lines over the years), suck it up.
     
  23. ejimhof

    ejimhof Poo-Bah (1,629) Apr 12, 2004 Pennsylvania
    Society

    So what do I tell the bar to do in order to get the keg properly carbonated?
     
  24. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (7,151) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
    Society Trader

    Yeah, to go beer and food ruled the roost until last week. I sure ate a lot of Indian and Thai dishes during the lockdown. :slight_smile:
     
  25. Singlefinpin

    Singlefinpin Defender (600) Jul 17, 2018 North Carolina
    Trader

    Off tasting beers I tend to find in restaurants, and the culprit is I suspect, dirty lines.
    In my experience at a restaurant if you complain about the beer being off they act like they don't care, guess what? I will never come back regardless of how good the food was.
    Tap rooms and Breweries make it right in my experience, but I can't remember that ever even being a problem, because they keep clean lines.
    I can't wait to sit in a brewery and drink fresh beer!
    Cheers!
     
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  26. ejimhof

    ejimhof Poo-Bah (1,629) Apr 12, 2004 Pennsylvania
    Society

    How long is too long?
     
  27. JuliusPepperwood

    JuliusPepperwood Aspirant (220) Jul 21, 2013 North Carolina

    Time-wise? I would figure 2-3 days of sitting in the draft lines beer would go flat. If it is a draft wall where the beer lines are going straight through the keg cooler wall to the tap then the lines are short enough where they can open the tap and let the flat beer pour out for a second before fresh carbonated beer comes out.

    If they have a long draft line setup to reach the keg cooler then it would take several pints of pouring to get to fresh carbed beer.


    I would first compare a beer poured on site to see if it tastes as flat as your growler filled beer. If it tastes fine then the issue is likely with how they filled the growler, how well your growler cap seals, or how long you waited to drink it.

    If the draft beer you drink on site is flat as well, I would politely ask if they're having any carbonation issues lately. Sadly my favorite beer bar back home started serving flat beer. I asked the first few times and they said their CO2 regulator went out. But after several more visits over a month span I gave up and quit going. They have since gone out of business. So if this bar cares about craft beer and their customers they hopefully will respond well to your feedback and fix the issue.

    Also here's a good video of how to fill a growler. If they fill growlers in front of you, you can see if they are doing it right.
     
  28. dukeandduke

    dukeandduke Meyvn (1,353) Feb 2, 2015 Illinois
    Society Trader

    I would suggest passing on purchasing growlers from places which didn't properly serve previous to the shutdowns. I was assured a fresh keg and clean tap lines yesterday from a local bar I was trying to help out with business. The dark beer (which I had before but will remain nameless since this wasn't the brewer's fault) was opened upon bringing home, was flat and tasted poor compared to previous versions.

    I have had many great growlers / crowlers over the years from breweries, but pass on amateur night, be it Saint Patrick's Day / Day before Thanksgiving / New Years / Super Bowl or a restaurant not equipped and or trained to fill to go packages correctly.
     
  29. erway

    erway Initiate (121) Jul 28, 2006 New Mexico
    Brewery

    This has been something that my team has been discussing at length. The fact is this is going to be an enormous problem for the entire industry. What to do with all of the draft beer??? Good breweries will insist on splitting the costs with wholesalers and they'll turn it into hand sanitizer. But there will be 100s of millions of $$$ of coded beer that gets bogo'd. Retailers will see a good deal and will buy it up by the pallet. And all of a sudden you're going to see that the local breweries IPA that you love is replaced with whatever nationally distributed IPA was being bogo'd that week. This is going to upend the on-premise more than anything in the history of craft beer and all of you educated consumers will get a front-row seat to the show. Which breweries will do the right thing and which ones will take the most convenient route? Its going to be hard to do a great deal of brand growth during this but plenty will do permanent damage to their brands in the interest of saving a buck... or a couple million bucks.

    At the end of the day, support the breweries you trust to do the right thing, look at BBD/COD/BOD because it will never be more important than in the upcoming months. Let the cheap shmucks buy up the $5.99 sixers and $3 pints.
     
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  30. JuliusPepperwood

    JuliusPepperwood Aspirant (220) Jul 21, 2013 North Carolina

    Where did you hear that? Your average brewhouse is not capable of creating alcohol high enough proof to be used for hand sanitizer. You would need distilling equipment to get the necessary 60%.

    And it would be horribly expensive to collect sixtel and half barrels of 5-7% beer, empty them back into boil kettle, de-gas the CO2 out of the beer, and then distill it. It would be way cheaper to start with isopropyl alcohol and add aloe vera gel to it.

    If you see any breweries producing hand sanitizer they likely also distill their own liquor and can make high proof alcohol themselves from scratch.
     
  31. eppCOS

    eppCOS Meyvn (1,271) Jun 27, 2015 Colorado
    Society

    Guess we'll have to get some news out of Wisconsin to "see/hear" what actually happened to all that beer, rather than throwing out these hypotheticals.
    All I know is that if my local doesn't throw a $1/pint special in their first week open, I wouldn't do it. :wink:
     
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  32. erway

    erway Initiate (121) Jul 28, 2006 New Mexico
    Brewery

    Our brewery has partnered with local distilleries and has already converted over 50 bbls of beer into hand sanitizer and that has been donated to the Navajo Nation and Bernalillo County Fire Department. The same distilleries are accepting coded kegs from distributors and doing the same and have said they would even consider taking coded cans. They are also selling the sanitizer to the public at fair market value. I know of 100s of breweries around the country that have done this with distillery partners. No reason to let the alcohol go down the drain when we have a major shortage of isopropyl.
     
  33. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,497) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    Jeff, thank you for your contribution here.

    We all can make a difference.

    Cheers!
     
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  34. erway

    erway Initiate (121) Jul 28, 2006 New Mexico
    Brewery

    Honestly, I can't take much of any of the credit. My partner's wife is Navajo and I was a teacher out there for 5 years, they need help more than just about anyplace else on earth, so that was a no brainer. Our sales manager coordinated with the distilleries who have been doing this non-stop, so shout out to Palmer, Broken Trail and Safehouse distilleries for going way above and beyond. All I did was brew an 11% TIPA on March 12th... bad timing... and provide some kegged beer that would have otherwise ended up down the drain. At least my loss can be somebody's gain. Cheers.
     
    #34 erway, May 22, 2020
    Last edited: May 22, 2020
  35. Relik

    Relik Initiate (117) Apr 20, 2011 Nova Scotia (Canada)

    True not many breweries are capable/equipped/licensed to produce ethyl alcohol to a min of 70%. but that doesn't mean they cannot partner with a distiller to use their product as part of a wash to produce hand sanitizer ( TTB sent out guidelines for how to report this on taxation).

    collecting sixtels/ kegs is pretty easy if you have decent keg managment you know whats out where. next step would be bleed off the remaining beer into an ICB tote, boiling the beer in the wash will decarb it easily.
    Isopropyl is in low supply and is the reason many distilleries are producing hand sanitizers to fill the gaps.

    If you buy a beer and its flat/off/or unsatisfactory inform the brewery give them where you bought the beer and when and what brand. They would rather the feedback even if its beyond their control like a pandemic.
     
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  36. JuliusPepperwood

    JuliusPepperwood Aspirant (220) Jul 21, 2013 North Carolina

    @Relik That's pretty cool, I was just skeptical because our owners and some customers expected us to make hand sanitizer just because we can brew beer. But if you have a means to get your beer to a distillery or have the equipment yourself, then that's great!

    There is a small distillery not to far from us that takes certain batches of our beer to make liquor. But we haven't partnered with them to make sanitizer yet.
     
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  37. Nbrock24

    Nbrock24 Disciple (384) Mar 11, 2016 Illinois
    Trader

    The small, popular breweries that make haze are still doing a small amount of kegs in Chicagoland. Basically the craft shops sell out of the cans on delivery day and then they fill howlers for those who missed out (at a higher $ per dollar). Not a ton of volume being produced there but kegs still being filled nonetheless. So when draft reopens it may be smart to stick with new releases over flagships for a bit
     
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