Many beer enthusiasts have a particular affinity for draft beer. They especially like the fresh and crisp taste of this unique drink.
So, what is draft beer? It’s an ideal way of showcasing the incredible flavors and aroma of this popular alcoholic beverage. This article introduces you to what makes it stand out from the rest.
What is Draft Beer?
Beer served from a keg or cask is called draft beer. In some parts of the world, people call it draught beer. Many beer lovers agree that it has better quality than other types of beer. It may be because its secured vessel protects it from oxygen and sunlight.
What is the origin of draft beer?
In the olden times, medieval monks stored beer in huge barrels. For a long time, people used these vessels to transport and serve beer.
However, things changed in 1785 when an inventor named Joseph Braham created the “beer engine. His invention paved the way for more innovative versions of beer storage.
People started serving beer from pressurized containers at the dawn of the 20th century. Then in 1936, scientists introduced and commercialized artificial carbonation in the UK. It was the preferred technique by many brewers.
Soon, the method spread to many parts of the world. Then during the 1970s, the term “draught beer” was born. It refers to serving beer under pressure.
Are draft beer and draught beer the same?
Yes, draft beer and draught beer are the same. The difference between the two is just the spelling. The term draught beer is typical in Britain, Australia, New Zealand, and Ireland. It came from “dragan”, which means to pull or carry. On the other hand, Americans like to use the term draft.
How much alcohol does draft beer have?
Some think draft beer has more alcohol than canned or bottled beer. However, that is only sometimes the case. The basis of alcohol level would always be ABV (alcohol by volume). The range can go from 3% to 30%/
For example, the bottled version of the same beer brand may have an ABV of 5.6%. Meanwhile, its draft counterpart may only have 5%. The alcohol content depends on what’s inside the draft beer and not how it is kept.
How do you store draft beer?
The following are the ideal conditions for storing draft beer.
- A temperature of 38 degrees Fahrenheit
- An average pressure of 10-12 PSI
- Stable, dry, and secure storage area
How is Draft Beer Made?
Draft beer and bottled beer share almost the same manufacturing process. The difference lies in the vessel that contains the beer. Draft beer makers pour the beer in casks and kegs. Secondary fermentation occurs when the beer settles in the casket. Bartenders serve the beer through a beer faucet or a spout.
What is the draft beer brewing process?
Here are the primary methods of brewing draft beer.
- Crumble and squeeze malt grains to bring out the starch.
- Created a mash by adding hot water to the squashed grains.
- Rinse the mixture in water to bring out the sugar.
- Collect wort (malt grain liquid) and boil it.
- Add hops to make them flavorful and bitter.
- Allow the wort to cool down.
- Transfer to the fermentation vessel.
- Add the yeast.
- Transfer the beer into a keg or cask to turn it into draft beer.
Please check out this video to learn more about how draft beer is made. What Is Draft Beer?
What is keg beer?
Simply put, keg beer is beer stored and fermented in a metal barrel called a keg. Brewers filter and sterilize the beer before pouring it into the keg.
This method ensures prolonged shelf life and consistent taste. After fermentation, it is pressurized using nitrogen gas, carbon dioxide, or both.
You can dispense the beer using a valve located at the side of the keg. You will notice the keg beer doesn’t have the usual bubbles associated with beer.
What is cask beer?
Cask beer or cask ale is a beer placed in a wooden barrel called a cask. If you have been to a pub cellar, there’s a big chance you’ve seen a few.
This method allows the beer to go through secondary fermentation. The beer isn’t also pasteurized or filtered. It’s considered a live product that can mature inside the barrel.
The beer is allowed to carbonate naturally. The result is a deeper and richer flavor. It must also settle for a long time in the cask before serving it.
What’s the difference between keg beer and cask beer?
It is important to note that both keg and cask beers are draft beers. They also share the same brewing process.
However, keg beer tends to be fizzier than cask beer. Another difference is that cask beer carbonation comes from added yeast. On the other hand, keg beer’s fizz comes from pressurized gases.
What Makes Draft Beer Taste Good?
Many beer enthusiasts swear by the superior taste of draft beer. For them, kegs and casks aren’t just a novel way of storing and serving beer. It also highlights the beer’s ingredients, offering a more profound and richer taste.
So, what is in draft beer that makes it taste good? The following conditions make it.
An ideal temperature Extreme heat can spoil a beer’s taste and texture. Kegs and casks offer exceptional protection from sunlight and hot environments. Keeping it at an ideal temperature makes it crisp and vibrant.
- Less light exposure: Direct sunlight can also cause the beer to lose its refreshing taste. Fortunately, kegs and casks protect it from the sun’s rays and UV lights. Draft beer containers also need to be stored in a dark room. It’s a double protection meant to keep it fresh for a long time.
- Guaranteed freshness: Draft beer showcases flavors of fruits and vegetables. These flavors retain their luster when served via a keg or cask. Bars that serve draft beer need to refill their kegs frequently. This practice ensures that you get the freshest batch all the time.
- Consistent pressure: Bar owners who serve beer on tap can customize each keg’s pressure. The amount of pressure will depend on the type of beer. Once they’ve set it up, you can be sure you’re getting the right thickness, texture, fizz, and mouthfeel.
What will make draft beers taste bad?
Draft beers pass through an intricate draft system, including taps and lines. When these parts show neglect, the beer’s taste and texture get affected.
Beer that passes through filthy systems tastes like vinegar. It can also resemble a buttered popcorn taste. These unpleasant beer flavors come from chemicals inside the draft lines.
The draft beer may also be infected with bacteria due to unclean systems. These pathogens can spoil the beer.
They can also make the beer taste and smell bad. These cues may not be noticeable to the bartender, so a draft technician must check the system regularly.
Draft Beer vs. Other Beers
Bars and pubs nowadays offer a wide array of beer options. Draft beer is one of the most popular choices you’ll encounter.
Choosing which drink would give you the best experience can be overwhelming. So, we’ve compared draft beer versus other beers to guide you on your next bar crawl.
Draft Beer vs. Bottled Beer
One of the main differences between a draft and bottled beer is how they serve them. This significant contrast dictates the changes in flavors and freshness of both beers. Draft beers are commonly more flavorful. It is also more aromatic since the beverage can “breathe” in the glass after pouring.
Bottled beer is also more exposed to sunlight than draft beer. The sun’s rays make bottled beer more prone to damage. On the other, kegs and casks provide draft beers with sun protection. The containers help preserve the beer’s taste and aroma.
This video will reveal which one’s ahead of the pact, draft or bottled beer.
Draft Beer vs. Craft Beer
Draft beers may be famous for their freshness, smoothness, and consistent coldness. However, craft beer has a slight edge when it comes to taste. Craft beers have more vibrant flavors than draft beers. It is usually a testament to a craft beer brewer’s creativity and innovation.
Craft beers also have more alcohol than draft beers. These artisanal brews usually have 5%-10% ABV. Meanwhile, draft beers generally register at 3%-4% ABV.
Draft Beer vs. Lager
Contrary to what some people think, draft beer is not a type of beer. It is a way of serving and storing beer. Kegs and casks usually contain ale. So, we will compare ale with lager. Lager goes through pasteurization, while draft beer does not.
Bartenders need to maintain an ideal temperature when handling ale in kegs. On the other hand, lagers require a different amount of care.
Draft Beer vs. Canned Beer
Some beer connoisseurs may turn their noses up regarding canned beer. Usually, they associate them with cheap and mass-produced brands. However, there are canned beers that are equally good as draft beers.
Both draft and canned share the same protective qualities. Their containers shield the beer from sunlight. Between bottled and canned, the latter is better. However, if you’re after freshness and ideally cold beer, then draft beer reigns superior.
Draft Beer vs. Other Beers Comparison Chart
Ideal Serving Temperature
Knowing the answer to “what is draft beer?” is great. I hope you can try one on your next night out. It can be an excellent alternative to the usual bottle and canned options. Draft beers will enable you to enjoy the drink in its freshest state possible.
As a homebrewer, Michael would get frustrated about the lack of brewing information on the internet. After hundreds of gallons of spoilt batches, Micheal had enough. And he founded Unknown Brewing as a resource for homebrewers.