Why You Should Think Twice Before Ordering A Draft Beer

Like soda out of a soda gun, many people hold the belief that beer tastes better from a tap, and there's nothing better than a glass of draft beer after a long day. Some people swear that there's a difference in flavor between a beer that comes from a bottle, a can, and a tap, and in some instances, they may be correct.

Dirty tap lines can lead to a whole host of issues with the beer's flavor, and can completely ruin the experience for someone. According to VinePair, "a good draft technician will tell you that squeaky clean lines are as important to beer's flavor as its ingredients." While beer that is in a can or bottle has fewer opportunities to spoil, the beer that comes from a tap can easily be messed up by residue and bacteria that reside in a draft line that hasn't been cleaned. VinePair says that these deposits can begin building up in a matter of days, which is why regular line cleaning is so essential.

Dirty draft lines can ruin a beer

How noticeable is an unclean draft line, anyway? While sometimes customers can't tell, the off-flavors are noticeable if you know what you're looking for. VinePair writes that "a beer that's been through unclean draft lines or taps may have a slightly sour, vinegary flavor due to acetic acid, and a buttery flavor from a chemical called diacetyl."

Consuming a beer that comes from dirty draft lines won't do much except give the drinker a headache and a bad experience with the beer, but it's still a risk that you take when you get a draft beer, rather than one from a can or bottle that is sanitized and doesn't contain any off-flavors. According to Angela Steil, Advanced Cicerone (meaning, essentially, she's a beer professional, according to Cicerone.org), "If you really, truly want to taste beer the way that it was intended, or the way that the brewer made it, you have to pay attention." The best beer in the world can still taste bad if it's poured through bad lines.