So I took this amazing all day course from Micro Matic on designing and creating a draft system.  I’ll probably write about some of the technical things that I learned down the road, but for now i’ll just explain on how to create a beer clean glass to allow for a perfect pour.  Bear in mind that this is my interpretation—forgive if I’ve gotten any of the minutia wrong.

Assumptions about all the things that need to be done before the beer actually pours abound.  Correct temperature if vital.  As is the balance between PSI and G-PSI.  (Who knew that there were two different psi that need to equal for a system to be in balance?  I now know there is.)  The beer lines should be cleaned at least every 14 days, much sooner if the kegs are turned quickly.  The lines should be at proper temperature from keg to tap, never varying by less than a degree Fahrenheit without risk of foam.

So how to clean glassware?  There should be 3 sinks in your bar.  The first has a funnel leading directly to the drain and is full of warm water with a non-petroleum, low suds detergent and a 3-part scrubber.  Using something like Dawn will actually reduce the glass’ ability to promote head.  The second sink is continually filling with cool water for rinsing.  The third contains a sanitizer mixed with cool water.

Take your glass and empty anything remaining in the funnel to drain.  Submerge the glass completely in the detergent.  Scrub the glass vigorously, making sure that all surfaces are scrubbed.

Dunk the glass HEEL DOWN in the rinse water until it is entirely submerged.  It’s very important to do this heel down.  If you dunk opening down, you’ll only create an air bubble and not actually rinse the glass.

Dunk the glass HEEL DOWN in the third sink.  Again, making sure that the glass is entirely submerged.  The glass should then be placed mouth down on a corrugated drain board to dry and should be allowed to dry for at least two minutes.

So here’s some things to look for next time you go out.  Is the bar keep submerging the glass heel or mouth down?  if it’s mouth down, the glass isn’t getting clean.  Or rinsed properly.

Is the bar keep using the 3rd sink?  If not, the glass isn’t being sanitized.

Is the bar keep immediately using the glass after the 3rd sink?  if so, you’re drinking sanitizer.

Is the bar keep putting the glass into a freezer after washed or sanitized?  There’s tons of reasons why this is wrong, but the bar keep is either freezing sanitizer for your next beer or rinse water.  (Don’t even think about what is happening if the beer wasn’t cleaned butt down.)

Is the bar keep drying the glass with a towel?  Even if the towel is clean, they are either removing the sanitizer or simply re-dirtying the glass.

So why is this a big deal?  The better the beer looks, the better it tastes.  We eat with our eyes first, then thru smell before even tasting. .  A properly poured pint glass (16 ounces) should have an inch and a half head on it.  Visually this is appealing.  It also helps to keep the volatile aroma in check.  But there’s a more important reason.  That 16 ounce glass with an inch an a half head actually only contains 14.5 ounces of beer!  Properly pour nine pints and the bar is getting a “free” pint to sell.  And at $6 or $7 a pint, that extra income can come in handy.

So now you know.

Here’s a fun fact: a pint of beer is held in 10 foot of beer line.  How far away do you think your local watering hole has it’s cold room?  And how many of those places have the line refrigerated to proper temperature the full run?