If you run a bar or restaurant, you know that your beer selection is just as important as your food menu. Customers expect to find a variety of cold beers on tap, and the quality of your taps can make or break their drinking experience. In this article, we’ll take a look at the five best beer taps for your establishment.
What are beer taps?
Beer taps, also known as draft dispensers, are devices used to dispense beer from kegs. They come in different styles, sizes, and materials, and can accommodate one or several beer lines. Most taps use CO2 or nitrogen gas to pressurize the keg and push the beer through the lines and into the glass.
1. Traditional Taps
Traditional taps, also called flow-control taps, are the most common type of tap found in bars and restaurants. They work by manually opening and closing a valve to control the flow of beer. These taps are reliable, easy to use, and come in a variety of designs to match your décor. However, they require regular maintenance, cleaning, and calibration to ensure consistent pour quality.
2. Perlick Taps
Perlick taps are a high-end alternative to traditional taps. They feature a forward-sealing design that prevents beer from sticking to the faucet and creating off-flavors. They also have a smooth operation that reduces foam and allows for precise pouring. Perlick taps are more expensive than traditional taps but offer superior performance and durability.
3. Growler Filling Stations
Growler filling stations are becoming increasingly popular in bars and restaurants that cater to craft beer enthusiasts. These stations allow customers to fill their own reusable growlers with fresh, cold beer from your taps. Growler filling stations are a great way to increase customer loyalty, reduce waste, and showcase your beer selection. However, they require proper cleaning and sanitation to prevent contamination.
4. Glycol-Cooled Taps
Glycol-cooled taps are ideal for bars and restaurants that need to dispense beer over long distances or multiple floors. They use a glycol chiller to keep the beer lines cold, preventing foaming and ensuring consistent pour quality. Glycol-cooled taps also allow you to have several beers on tap without sacrificing taste or temperature. However, they require professional installation and maintenance, and can be expensive to operate.
5. Portable Taps
Portable taps, also known as jockey boxes, are perfect for outdoor events, festivals, or pop-up bars. They feature a compact design that can be easily transported and set up anywhere you need them. Portable taps come in different sizes and configurations, and can be customized to fit your specific needs. However, they require frequent cleaning and sanitizing to prevent contamination and maintain freshness.
How to Choose the Right Beer Taps for Your Bar or Restaurant
Choosing the right beer taps for your establishment depends on several factors, such as:
- The size of your bar or restaurant
- The type of beer you want to serve
- The number of beers on tap
- The level of experience of your staff
- Your budget
- Your customers’ preferences
To make an informed decision, consider consulting with a professional draft technician who can help you assess your needs and recommend the best equipment for your business.
The Best Practices for Maintaining Beer Taps
Regardless of the type of beer taps you choose, proper maintenance is essential to ensure consistent pour quality and avoid contamination. Here are some best practices for maintaining your beer taps:
- Clean your taps regularly with hot water and detergent.
- Sanitize your taps with a food-grade sanitizer solution.
- Check for leaks, cracks, or signs of wear on your beer lines and connections.
- Replace your beer lines every three to six months.
- Calibrate your taps regularly to ensure proper pressure and flow.
By following these practices, you can keep your beer taps in top condition and serve your customers the best-tasting beer possible.
Choosing the right beer taps for your bar or restaurant can be challenging, but it’s a critical decision that can affect your business’s success. Whether you opt for traditional taps, Perlick taps, growler filling stations, glycol-cooled taps, or portable taps, make sure to consider your specific needs and budget. Also, don’t forget to maintain your taps regularly to provide your customers with the highest quality beer experience possible.
Q1. How often should I clean my beer taps?
A1. You should clean your beer taps every two weeks at a minimum, or more frequently if you notice any off-flavors or contamination.
Q2. Can I use different types of gas to dispense beer?
A2. Yes, you can use CO2 or nitrogen gas to pressurize your keg, but each gas has different properties that can affect the taste and texture of your beer. CO2 is the most common gas used and provides a crisp, carbonated mouthfeel. Nitrogen gas is less soluble and creates a smoother, creamier head.
Q3. How many beers should I have on tap?
A3. The number of beers you should have on tap depends on the size of your bar or restaurant and your customers’ preferences. However, having at least six to eight beers on tap is recommended to provide variety and accommodate different tastes.
Q4. Can I install beer taps myself?
A4. While it’s possible to install beer taps yourself, it’s recommended to hire a professional draft technician for proper installation and maintenance. Improper installation can result in leaks, contamination, and poor pour quality.
Q5. What’s the difference between kegerators and beer taps?
A5. Kegerators are refrigerated cabinets that hold kegs and dispense beer through taps. They are designed for home use and are usually smaller than commercial beer taps. Beer taps, on the other hand, are dispensers that attach to kegs and dispense beer through a faucet. They are designed for commercial use and come in different sizes and configurations.