Anything that has a history as rich and lengthy as beer, is bound to have several myths and misconceptions attached to it. As a bar owner, knowing the truth behind these tales will not only ensure your expertise on these products, but serves as a little trivia to impress your patrons.
There are several myths that swirl around craft beer, many of which you’ve probably heard before. The following are the 5 most common misconceptions about beer:
#1) Beer Should be Served as Cold as Possible
It’s not your fault if you believe this myth. We’ve all seen the Rocky Mountain Coors commercials, emphasizing icy cold beer. Truth be told, the style of the beer dictates the temperature. Serving beer that is icy cold, does a disservice in general, as the taste is greatly diminished by such frigid temps.
Temperatures can only be “suggested,” but brewers take this very seriously, and some will even go so far as to list the temp right on the label. Her are some examples of styles, and their suggested temperatures:
- Very Cold: 32-39°F – pale lager, golden ale, and American cider.
- Cold: 39-45°F – Hefeweizen, Pilsner, American dark lager
- Cool: 45-54°F – American Pale Ale, amber ale, Irish ale, Altbeir
- Cellar: 54-57°F – India and English Pale Ale, brown ale, bitter, Bock
- Warm: 57-61°F – barley wine, Imperial Stout, Double IPA, mead
- Hot: 158°F – spiced winter ale, Quelque Chose
#2) Bottled Beer is Better Than Canned Beer
An age-old myth that many people still follow, is the idea that bottled beer tastes better than canned beer. Some people even claim cans give off a metallic flavor. However, the aluminum cans used to package craft beer have a water-based polymer lining that protects the brew from any contamination.
Since there is a lining between the beer and the can, the only time you may taste anything besides the beer, is if you sip it from the can itself. Your bartenders should always be pre-pouring your craft beers for patrons, rather than handing them a glass on the side. Craft beer is meant to be enjoyed out of a glass, at all times.
#3) Beer Should be Served Fresh
Much like wine, some types of craft beer are best served after cellaring or aging. With time, the taste and other attributes is said to vastly improve. Keep in mind, lagers are fermented at lower temperatures, but delivered to you having changed temps at least once. So the term “fresh” is used rather loosely in the craft beer industry.
If you are so inclined to age a few batches before selling, the following are some guidelines for the process:
- Light: Keep all beer in the dark. Ultraviolet light can react with the compounds in the beer and develop a skunky flavor.
- Temperature: Warmer temperatures speed up the effects of aging.
- Beer Style: Choose a beer that has an ABV of 7 percent or more, with strong flavors.
#4) Dark Beer is Heavier Than Light Beer
Regardless of whether a dark beer contains more calories or body, color simply does not equate to “heavy.” The common myth about dark beer is they’re like “drinking a meal,” but in the craft beer industry, it is entirely incumbent upon taste. The only reason for the difference in color, is that the grains are roasted longer in dark beers.
In general, ales are often more full-bodied, than lagers, but it has nothing to do with the shade. Take the Schwarzbier, for example, which has an opaque black color, but is light-bodied with an ABV of only 4-5 percent.
#5) Skunked Beer
Temperature changes may lead to stale beer, but that is not what causes it to be skunked. The term “skunked” is derived from a process in which a beer becomes “light-struck.” When beer is exposed to light, it breaks down the hop molecules called isohumlones, This process emits a chemical that is related to the same kind a skunk sprays on it’s victims.
This is why, as a bar owner, it is imperative you store all of your beer in a dark, cool place. Unless, of course, you want to skunk your beer. Heineken purposely exposes their beer to give it that distinct, bitter flavor. That’s also why their bottles are green. Whatever the case may be, stale does not equate to skunked, which is a consequence of lighting.
A fun way to attract new patrons, and enlighten the craft beer community, is to hold a trivia night surrounding what you already stock, or any new brews you want to introduce. TapHunter is a program that allows your customers to receive push notifications every time you schedule an event, or tap a new craft beer. They can also send out blasts to all of your social media platforms. Education and engagement is a brilliant way to introduce everyone to the wonders of craft beer. Debunking these myths can invoke interest with your patrons, and ultimately add to your bottom line.
Bars and Restaurants – Want to save hours daily, drive thirsty patrons through your door and create an engaging experience for your customers? Learn more about how TapHunter can help your business today!