So, what is beer on tap? Beer on tap is the house wines option of the beer world-the bar books would agree. Beer on tap can be cheap beer brands or unique draft beers you can only get at a particular restaurant establishment or bar business. Any type of beer on tap can be a victim of beer expiration. They're all perfect for the curious tastebuds of cicerones.
Most importantly, a beer tap is something you, as a bar or restaurant owner, can provide in ready supply. Keeping the taps flowing is a way to generate consistent consumer volume and keep them coming back for more. It’s a unique form of great customer service.
When your customer experience involves beer on tap, you’re able to cater to a whole new level of beer lovers. There are beers that taste better when they come from a tap. It also adds to the aesthetic of your bar. You can use old taps as decor along the ways, to match the 99 bottles of beer!
Choosing the best beer on tap is a key part of reaching your ideal customer base and establishing yourself as a great tap beer bar. What is beer on tap? Let's find out!
Best Beer on Tap
Choosing the best beer on tap for your bar or restaurant depends on several factors. They relate to your location and the goals you have for your business, as well as the customers you most want to please. Those factors include:
- Local and seasonal beers you can feature. These beer options make your tap variety more unique. They will help you draw in customers who are interested in a variety of beers, and keep your stock fresh in every sense of the word.
- Your key clientele and their preferences. When you start your bar, you’ll have a customer type in mind. As you go along, you’ll find your regulars and settle into a rhythm with the customers who are perfectly suited to your business. You can cater your beer on tap selections to those customers.
- The most cost-effective beers for your business budget. Now, this won’t be something that applies to every beer you have on tap. There are going to be plenty of options that aren’t the most cost-effective, but are still parts of your inventory because of how they fit in different parts of this list. The key is to keep your tap inventory balanced between the two categories.
- Classic beers that work for every customer. Classic beers for every type of customer tend to be in line with cost-effective beers for your budget. These classic beers tend to be the equivalent of house wines. They’re on the cheaper side, and are easy to pair with a variety of meals.
If you consider those factors when setting up your tap selection, you’ll end up with a well-rounded range of options.
Keep in mind as you read that these beers are examples of so many types of great beer. If you lean toward a particular style of beer, it’s a good idea to have multiple options of it on tap. If you’re just starting to discover the variety of beer available, a mix of many styles is the way to go.
15. Brooklyn Brewery Brown Ale
Brown ale is a quality brew for any night of the week and any meal. This is a unique twist on a brown ale, as most of them are made in England. This American option combines the best of English brown ales and gives it a twist with some firm hop flavor.
14. Station 26 Brewing Co. Juicy Banger
The term “banger” is used by Millennials, Gen Z, and younger generations to describe music that is extraordinary and full of life. That usage of the term suits the Juicy Banger from Station 26 Brewing, too. This light German beer is a perfect complement to a burger or something from an appetizer list.
13. Blue Moon Belgian White
The Blue Moon name is a classic in any bar or restaurant. Their famous Belgian White ale is a delicious light beer with just a hint of orange. For a summer evening, a cold winter’s night, or any time in between, this light, refreshing ale is a great choice. It’s a perfect option to always have on tap.
12. Victory Summer Love
Summer Love from Victory Brewing is, as their site says, “a taste of sunshine.” It’s a hoppy, surprisingly nuanced golden ale that is good all year round, not just in the summer months. That said, if you’ve got a bar with a summer patio, this option is the best one for summer choice.
11. Sierra Nevada Hazy Little Thing
For any lazy, hazy summer days, the Sierra Nevada Hazy Little Thing IPA is another perfect summer option for the best beers on tap. If you like a mix of an IPA and a light beer, this little thing with a big flavor will do the trick. If you’re looking to get into IPAs with ease–yes, they can be intense–this is a good option to start your journey.
10. Narragansett Brewing Co. Narragansett Lager
It’s okay if you can’t pronounce the name, you can still enjoy this lager and include it in your on-tap selections. Since 1890 Narragansett Brewing Co. has been making classic beers for every occasion. The classic lager will intrigue any beer drinker, and keep them coming back for more.
9. Breckenridge Vanilla Porter
The imperial vanilla porter from Breckenridge Brewery is a unique blend of flavors. Aged in rum barrels with vanilla beans in the mix, this porter is a rich brew. It's almost more of a dessert beer than anything else. Of course, it’s good no matter when you’re drinking it, especially when it’s straight from the tap.
8. BarrelHouse Brewing Co. Mango IPA
Who doesn’t love mango? Crazy people, that’s who! This mango IPA from BarrelHouse Brewing Co. is a standout favorite of many fans of a unique IPA that works for light beer fans. You can typically expect a certain level of bitterness from an IPA. If that’s not quite your jam, this smooth, light option is the IPA option for you.
7. Sam Adams Boston Lager
A classic for every occasion and every place, the original Samual Adams Boston Lager has been a popular beer since its inception in 1984. Of all the beers on this list, Sam Adams is the most consistently enjoyed by all beer lovers. This is a classic that will never go out of style.
6. 21st Amendment El Sully
To celebrate our right to drink in America post Prohibition and the rum runner legacy, 21st Amendment Brewery makes a mix of party-starting drinks. The El Sully lager is one of many great options. It makes the list here because it’s another option that is well-suited to many beer enthusiasts. Enjoy it with a sense of pride for the history of America and our beer lovers.
5. Rogue Ales Shakespeare Stout Nitro
If you’re looking for something rogueish for your lineup, the Shakespeare Stout Nitro from Rogue Ales is the beer for you. It’s an oatmeal stout that will draw in beer and Shakespeare fans alike. With a mix of chocolate, oat, and barley flavors, this stout is one you don’t want to miss.
4. New Belgium Fat Tire
Another all-time classic, the New Belgium Fat Tire amber ale is a great option. It can be served up with salmon, burgers, or steak. Even a steak wine pairing could learn from this combo. It could be a light pairing with some fries or onion rings. Whatever food you’re serving up, the Fat Tire ale is the perfect companion to always have on hand.
3. The Alchemist Focal Banger
No, no alchemy was involved in the creation of the Focal Banger. It is, however, pretty out of this world. Another great America IPA, the Focal Banger is a rich, flavor-bud-tingling IPA that will leave you wanting more. To mix something truly unique in with your pint, this is a great choice.
2. Firestone Walker Union Jack IPA
To mix some English style with a classic west coast IPA, the Firestone Walker Union Jack IPA is a perfect choice. Of all the IPAs on this list, this one is hailed as one of the best across a variety of beer-loving communities. It’s an intense experience for anyone looking to celebrate with the best beer.
1. Widmer Brothers Hefeweizen
For customers that drink good beer, a great hefeweizen, or hefe as it's affectionately known, is always a stellar tap beer choice. The Widmer Brothers hefe has been a favorite for years since the brothers made their name in craft beer. This delicious, nuanced hefe deserves a spot on every tap equipment in every bar.
"Key Takeaway: When your customer experience involves beer on tap, you’re able to cater to a whole new level of beer lovers. There are beers that taste better when they come from a tap. It also adds to the aesthetic of your bar."
Frequently Asked Questions About What Is Beer on Tap?
What is beer on tap? In essence, beer on tap is a simple joy of a fresh beer out at your favorite bar or restaurant. However, there is always more to learn. Our answers to these frequently asked questions will give you some background on the thoughts behind beer on tap.
These questions are helpful for bartenders, mixologists, bar owners, and bar patrons. If you’re learning more about beer in any capacity, these questions can serve as a jumping off point for furthering your education. The best way to learn about beer, of course, is to do a bit of reading over a pint!
Is Beer on Tap Better?
Beer on tap isn’t necessarily better than bottled or canned beer, but it can often be more unique, and potentially fresher. For example, a lot of customers prefer a Guinness from the tap. This is because you get the intense foam head you miss out on when you drink it from a bottle or can.
What Is the Difference Between Bottled Beer and Beer on Tap?
Bottled beer is packaged in a bottle by the manufacturer, while beer on tap is packaged in a keg. You can end up having both in a glass at a bar, restaurant, or lounge. However, the packaging difference can change the flavor and presentation of the beer.
Why Do People Prefer Beer on Tap?
People often prefer beer on tap because it is, in many cases, a fresher option over being canned or bottled. There isn’t anything wrong with a bottle or can, but pouring beer from a tap can be a special going-out treat.
If it’s your absolute favorite way of enjoying your drink, you can even set up a tap system at home. Then you can enjoy fresh beer every time you have a drink. If that’s a route you want to take, you should learn about keg sizing to fit the keg to your home.
Which Draught Beer is Best?
There are various draught beers available. However, the one you dispense in your bar should be based on what your customers love to drink. Here’s a top 5 list of some of the best draught beers your customers will appreciate:
- Widmer Brothers Hefeweizen
- Firestone Walker Union Jack IPA
- The Alchemist Focal Banger
- New Belgium Fat Tire
- Rogue Ales Shakespeare Stout Nitro
These beers have been around for a while. They, or any of the beers in this BinWise blog, will make for good choices among your beer on tap.
How to Order Tap Beer?
You can order tap beer from an online liquor shop or by just walking into a bar, pub, or restaurant. Before placing your order, browse the bar menu to discover which craft beer the bar serves. You can also scan handles to see what drink is available.
When you order, the bartender or server may ask if you’re interested in bottled, canned, or tap beer. If they don’t ask and you see the beer you’re interested in on the tap selection, you can expect a tall glass of beer.
Does Draft Beer Have More Calories?
A pint of draft beer has up to 182 calories. This is a bit more calories than what light beer contains. However, draft beer has 15% fewer calories than bottled beer. Overall, when you’re choosing beer as your beverage, you’ve got to commit to a few calories, no matter which type of beer you drink.
What Is Beer on Tap? Tap the Kegs!
For any bar or restaurant or speakeasy, having a unique selection of beer on tap is a great way to draw in all the beer-loving crowds. You can’t predict with certainty what everyone will want to drink. Having a range of beer on tap is a good way to keep most–if not everyone–happy.
You can pair your beer on tap with red wine types, types of white wine, popular cocktails, and a range of mocktails. Having the best beer on tap is just another way of making your bar the place to be every night of the week-especially during happy hour. You can welcome in a community of beer lovers and build your business up with regulars who appreciate your curated selection.