Ask the Experts

How to serve great beer

By Carina Perkins contact

- Last updated on GMT

Good cellar management is essential to serving quality beer
Good cellar management is essential to serving quality beer

Related tags: Alcoholic beverage, Brewing

Whether a hotel, restaurant or pub, the quality of beer served can have an impact on customer satisfaction, profits, sales and waste. Here, Steve Lakin of drinks dispense service Innserve gives his tips on good cellar management for great beer.

With 34 per cent of consumers admitting they would go to a different outlet if they were to be served a bad pint, it is essential that cellars are well maintained to ensure good quality beer is maintained at all times. But how do you ensure a cellar is well managed?

Temperature

Warm beer is unappetising and can lead to complaints, a loss of customers and a reduction in sales. The temperature in the cellar should be maintained between 11o​C and 13o​C to keep beer at its best and served at the optimum temperature. If the cellar exceeds the recommended temperature, it would result in stock having a shorter shelf life leading to more waste at the tap through fobbing. The temperature of the cellar should be checked daily, especially during periods of extreme weather –both hot and cold - to protect stock and quality.

Stock Checks

Checking stock is an essential part of guaranteeing quality. People forget that beer is a food product and needs to be treated as such. Before putting beer on dispense, the  ‘best before’ date should be checked. Staff should also ensure the container is clean and the cap removed. The keg or cask should be left in position in the cellar for 48 hours before being put on dispense to reach the correct temperature for serving. Once on dispense, a keg should be used for no more than five days and a cask no longer than three.

Training

Having knowledgeable staff is fundamental for the smooth running of any outlet. Recent research found that good quality cellar management training can improve yields by 3 per cent and sales by 7 per cent, a significant amount even in the smallest outlet. Staff should know how to correctly operate equipment, and should be confident in doing so. On-site training courses are the perfect solution, providing staff with the knowledge they need to manage and maintain equipment effectively.

Be Clean

A dirty cellar encourages the growth of wild yeast and bacteria. This can result in hazy and sour products, which are not fit for sale. By cleaning the cellar once a week, products will remain at their best.

Every seven days, outlets should also fully clean all their beer lines, from coupler right through to dispense tap, to prevent the build-up of yeast and biofilm which can contaminate the line. Remote coolers should be turned off prior to cleaning, to make sure that cleaning solutions don’t freeze in the lines.

Glassware

Up to 90 per cent of beer quality complaints are due to glass hygiene, making glassware an important part of serving great beer. Before glasses are put into a glass washer, they should be checked for bits of lemon or straw, a light brush should be used to clean out any dirt, and glasses that have had a creamy drink in, such as Bailey’s, should be rinsed out. At least every two months, appropriate cleaning products like ‘renovate’ should be used to refurbish glasses, and if glasses are old, they should be replaced.

By following simple guidance, the quality of beer will be protected, resulting not only in improved sales but also a reduction in waste and happy customers.  

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