Beers in Restaurants

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by Nosybear, Sep 22, 2012.

  1. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    This week I went to a couple of fairly nice restaurants in Denver. At the first one, I had a draft Stone IPA. As I sat and sipped and the beer warmed, I began to notice.... That distinctive band-aid flavor that indicates phenols. With a sigh, I finished the beer. Then the next night I had a draft Negra Modelo at a different recipe. The first off-note I noticed was green apple - nothing the restaurant could do about that. Then, again, I began to notice band-aid.

    Two restaurants, two consecutive nights, two off-flavored beers. Given the quality controls these two breweries likely use, I rather doubt either was fermented too warm or used over-chlorinated water. My hypothesis is dirty tap lines. Okay, guys, what do you think could have caused the off-flavor in the professionally brewed beers?
     
  2. LarryBrewer

    LarryBrewer Active Member

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    Dirty tap lines is a strong possibility.

    Stone Brewing going to hell is another... there is a LOT of competition out there, and they are probably cutting costs. I was expecting much better beer when I toured in 2011.
     
  3. The Brew Mentor

    The Brew Mentor Well-Known Member

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    This is very interesting to me.
    A few months ago, a local HBA had a field rep from Sierra Nevada do a presentation on beer line cleanliness.
    The reps job was to go to bars and restaurants that served their beer and make sure it was being served properly.
    We discussed the frequency that the beer lines should be cleaned and also the difference of serving through brass based faucets verses stainless steel faucets.
    He actually set up a jockey box with different faucets to pour beer through and the difference was very noticeable.
    Although it was costly, I was convinced to change my kegerator over to all SS faucets and fittings. There was that much difference!
    All this being said, I highly doubt that high end beers are being improperly made, but most likely served though less than perfect lines and faucets.

    Brian
     
  4. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    My thought as well, still, Racine's in Denver is not exactly a shabby place. They should be doing better with the beer. They had the Stone and it was barely phenolic when cold, worse as it warmed. I did better today - my assignment downtown over, I visited Prost Brewing - Bill Eye's new venture since leaving the Dry Dock. And since I had to pick up supplies for my pumpkin spice ale and the shop is at the Dry Dock, had one (or two) there. These guys know how to clean their tap lines!
     
  5. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Larry, I doubt the beer was bad initially - a rookie wouldn't have released that for sale (unless they couldn't taste phenols - it happens...). I suspect it was a handling problem. Still, disappointing.
     
  6. LarryBrewer

    LarryBrewer Active Member

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    So, how often should lines be cleaned according to the pros?

    +1 for stainless steel fittings. Did you have brass before? I'm amazed that it would impart any flavor. So, do you think you were drinking brass, or was it something else causing the flavor difference?
     
  7. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Larry, it wasn't mine and it was definitely "band-aid" phenolic. Hence my infection/dirty lines hypothesis. The taste wasn't prevalent enough for me to suspect bad beer. It was two different Denver-area restaurants and two completely different beers.
     
  8. The Brew Mentor

    The Brew Mentor Well-Known Member

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    On my kegerator,I had chrome plated brass fittings and I didn't clean them as often as suggested. They seemed fine when cleaned, but the 1st pour wasn't always pleasant.

    In the demonstration, the taste difference side by side, comparing SS vs. Brass, there was a noticeable difference. The only difference was the faucet. It shocked me.
     
  9. Altbier bitte

    Altbier bitte New Member

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    This bears in restaurants thing is just a silly fad, and it won't last. Okay, I just reread the thread title - never mind.
     
  10. chessking

    chessking New Member

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    Actually, Bears in restaurants are a bad idea. They can be dangerous animals. Beers on the other hand......
     
  11. JAMC

    JAMC Member

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    Maybe it's due to the prevalent pub culture here, but it's unusual for a restaurant in the UK to carry microbrewery beers on draught. They'll carry a comprehensive wine list, but beer is quite often an afterthought in a lot of places. Generally speaking you'd find mass produced European lagers like Heineken, Kronenbourg or Stella Artois. If you're lucky they might stretch to a tap for Guinness.

    The one saving grace is that a lot of the more clued-up restaurants will carry a significant choice of bottled beers. Again, a lot of these will be lagers (things like Nastro Azzurro or Amstel) but some places will stock more interesting offerings, particularly if they're located in an area with a well known local brewery.

    Never had a spoiled beer from a restaurant though. I get the impression that bar staff are drilled from day one about the importance of clean lines, proper sanitation procedures and serving technique - many will have started in pubs and moved on to restaurants, and in pubs this kind of thing is gospel.
     
  12. BrewHop

    BrewHop New Member

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    I would say bad beer lines is possible. It also could be that they put out a bad batch. I had a brew from a smaller brewery the other day and it was a diactyl bomb. It made me wonder why they would put it out when it tasted like that but it could be that they can't afford not too and a lot of people wouldn't really notice or not know it was an off flavor.
     

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