The Institute of Beer’s Neal Cameron continues his series on the business of (good) beer, with the importance of the vessel of the brew.
This follows his doctrines:
Beer is Just Like Milk
What Lurks Below, and
Spend a moment thinking about what goes into getting beer into a glass for the punter to enjoy.
Consider the huge investment and cost of building and running a brewery, the equally enormous cost and complexity of running a pub, and then there’s the whole retailer/supplier supply chain thing with a million moving parts.
Fair to say, the fact that beer makes it to the glass, and into the hands of a customer in good order at all is a bit of miracle really. That’s assuming you’ve got punters in the pub at all, otherwise it all starts to breakdown somewhat.
Considering all this, how appalling is it if that beer goes into a glass that is not clean? That final step, that moment the producer and retailer have been striving so hard to achieve, the coming together of a thirsty, funded patron brimming with anticipation … and they get it served in a glass that’s still holding onto some substance from its last use; some KFC chicken fat, some dried-on IPA foam, or some unthinkable bodily secretion.
It’s like waiting three months to go to Tetsuyas and finding a fingernail in the ocean trout. Like picking up your new BMW and driving straight into a lamp-post, or finally finding the right one on eHarmony, only to have your pre-date stiffeners render you a gibbering moron.
So how hard is it to put that $8 worth of carefully-made and served beer in a glass that doesn’t have bubbles on the side – indicating traces of whatever was last in the glass remain, and killing delicate beer flavours? A glass that doesn’t have detergents on it, killing the beer foam stone dead, or is cloudy and scratched, rendering a sparklingly-filtered and well-kept beer a hazy ambiguity.
Good, clean glassware is at the heart of a good beer offering. And making sure that they’re really clean – that is, beer clean – requires a system, the right chemicals and a bit of effort, but no rocket science.
Must-dos for beer-clean glassware:
- After every use, cleaning in a dedicated glass-washer, using specialised glass cleaning chemicals
- The glass-washer should be well-maintained and get the glasses up to a legal 82-degrees C for 10 secs
- An understanding that beer glasses are for beer, only beer and nothing but beer
- Staff that put coffee cups or other items in the glass washer get firmly re-trained
- A weekly soak in a specialised glass soaker or a soak cycle on the glass washer (if it has one), and a manual scrub
- Any glass of beer with ANY bubbles sticking to the side should never be served to a customer but re-poured and the offending glass manually scrubbed before re-use
Neal Cameron is director of the Institute of Beer (IOB), brewing director for Beer Farm, and one of country’s most experienced brewers.
The Institute of Beer is the exclusive licensee of the globally renowned Cicerone training in Australia, and a venture formed by Cameron, former Woolworths national liquor purchasing & marketing director Ian Kingham, and brewery aficionado Dave Phillips.