The draught beer you’re drinking is only as good as the lines it flows through. While an afterthought when done right, every craft beer drinker knows the risks of drinking in a new haunt and waiting to taste that first sip of beer with trepidation.
Enter the Clean Beer Project.
This week on Beer Sessions Radio™, host Jimmy Carbone welcomes professional line cleaner Sean Lynch who launched his Clean Beer Project a year ago (after working professionally cleaning lines for three years). While geared at promoting his small business, the Clean Beer Project has loftier goals of making sure that bars are keeping their lines free of both organic residue and calcium deposits that can alter the taste of draught beer.
Unlike many states that require distributors to keep lines clean, NY State doesn’t require lines to be kept up. This means cleanliness is next to beer “goodliness”!
Alongside Jimmy and Sean are Lindsey Ronchi (Bar Manager of Bondurants); Patrick Donagher of Fool’s Gold, The Jeffrey, Alewife, among others; and Yvon Pasquarello from Bell’s Brewery.
What does it taste like when you drink from an unclean line? Buttery off-flavors, and a strong smell of Diacetyl (don’t worry if you can’t pronounce it, you’ll know it when you drink from a dirty line).
Patrick, whose establishments do cleaning in-house (going so far as taking apart their sinks on a regular basis) started cleaning lines as a young boy in his father’s pub (the Jeffrey currently cleans its lines about 100 times per week with every keg change). He’s also working on a NYC Beer Trail as a guideline for “go to” beer locations in NY State (and locally, of course, you have the Good Beer Seal!).
Sean uses a special soap to clean lines daily (of organic build-up) and a phospheric acid to clean every six months (to remove what’s known as “beer stone,” a calcium build-up). Yvon speaks to the importance of not letting down your brewers, who make every effort to get beers to the retailer in the best shape possible. Lindsey offers tips how to determine if a bar is using good practices in keeping their equipment clean.
And the panel discusses a recent Men’s Journal article about Best Bar Behavior and pet peeves. Hear what the panel has to say about hospitality on both ends as career and patron.
You can listen to the full episode here (and you might not want to eat – or drink draught from a strange bar – while listening… an important episode for beer drinkers and purveyors alike!).