Clean lines won’t single-handedly make a good beer program great. However unclean lines can, and often do, make an otherwise decent beer program mediocre.
Properly maintaining a draft system is a pain in the ass. There’s no way around it. I suppose there are other ways to phrase that more eloquently, but I want to be clear about the process and attention to detail that the Neighborhood Restaurant Group pays to its several hundred tap lines across the DC metro area.
Shorty after 10:30 AM on a weekday, I find Greg Engert and Nahem Simon calling out tap numbers in preparation for that night’s service. Behind this craft beer duo lay roughly twenty kegs of various sizes that need to be cataloged and moved to one of the various cold rooms for storage. For any onlooker, me included, it’s a chaotic scene. In a few short hours, these kegs will be moved, the dining room will be spotless, and the tap lines will be squeaky clean. Sure it’s chaotic, but the show must go on.
There are some things a beer program can lack and still be considered a good program. To some degree, you can look past a beer program’s lack of creativity, selection, proper glassware or perfect serving temperature and still consider that beer program a good one. But there is one aspect that cannot be overlooked, and that is the cleanliness of tap lines. Unclean tap lines negatively impact the taste and quality of the beer, which can reflect badly on everyone up the chain who was involved with its getting into your glass, all the way back to the brewer. Clean lines won’t single-handedly make a good beer program great. However unclean lines can, and often do, make an otherwise decent beer program mediocre.
Special thanks to Nahem for taking the time to show us the ropes, err, tap lines, and to ChurchKey and the Neighborhood Restaurant Group for having us over!