Having a beer at Potent Potables‘ Thirsty Thursday, I noticed a new piece of information on their draft chalkboard: Line Cleaned, with a listing of the last date each of the tap lines were cleaned. Potent’s owner, Steve Kim, said that he started putting the information up a little over a month ago and that he hopes to clean the lines every time he switches a keg.
Why is this noteworthy? Well, one of the biggest contributors to off flavors in draft beer are dirty lines, so one of the most important things a brewery, bar or retailer can do to ensure they are pouring you a proper draft is to keep their lines clean. Most craft beer places should be cleaning their lines at least a couple times a month, and if you ask, they should be able to tell you when they were last cleaned. If your bar can’t or won’t tell you, then you may want to find a new bar.
What I love about Steve’s idea is that it puts this information right out there in the open, and it holds him accountable to cleaning on a regular basis, since no one wants to see a Last Cleaned date a month or two in the past. It lets the customer know that the beer they’re getting was delivered cleanly and correctly, and it gives the bartender an opportunity to educate drinkers that may not know about the importance of a clean line.