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Since 2010, I have been preparing and hosting the Ontario Brewer Podcast series for the Ontario Craft Brewers Association. These podcast feature interviews with Ontario brewers on a range of different topics.

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Draught issues…

Posted June 28, 2012 | 12:40 pm, by Mirella

I was down in the U.S. last week, completing an Advance Draught Training course with Micro Matic. My thinking was that if I’m at a pub or restaurant to consult on the beer list and food pairing, it would be nice if I had the knowledge and equipment necessary to troubleshoot a fussy/foaming tap.

The course was excellent and I learned a lot. The class was not about troubleshooting, it was about understanding how to install and maintain a balanced draught system. It really brought into focus the fact that draught systems are multi-faceted and, having completed the class, I understand why there are so many issues with draught systems.

Foaming beer is one thing, but the greater issue in Toronto is dirty lines. Ever since I started running my off-flavours class, I have become a lot more sensitive to the aroma and flavour of beer that comes out of dirty beer lines and I’m finding it increasingly difficult to drink beers that are in rough shape. To raise awareness about the issue, I posted this great investigative report about dirty lines in Ohio on my Facebook page earlier this year.

I’d love to do more to address this issue, because it is a big problem. The off-flavour classes are a great start, because they make more people aware of the flavour indicators. One of the main reasons that pub owners will neglect their lines is because they haven’t received complaints from customers and feel that “customers are happy with the beer.”

Luckily, there are others who have joined me in this quest and are addressing this issue in more direct ways. One of these people is my friend and fellow Certified CiceroneTM Steve Riley. He’s running an excellent company called Better Beer.com. Better Beer.com inspects the quality of draught systems and certifies establishments. It also conducts monthly follow-up visits to make sure that standards are being met.

Here’s a great way to start tackling the issue of dirty lines in Toronto:

  • Support BetterBeer.com certified establishments & keep an eye out for the Better Beer Certified Establishment sticker; if you’re wandering into a new pub, it’s a guarantee that the lines are clean & the beer will be in good condition.
  • Let pub & bar owners know when their lines are dirty. Not sure? Join me in my next off-flavour class so that you can confidently identify off-flavours and their causes.

It’s going to require a group effort if we want to resolve this particular issue…

 

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