Red, White, and Brewed: The Quest for the Perfect Pint

The Crafty Beer Guys want to ensure that your pint is as tasty as the brewer intended.

Christopher Osburnby Christopher Osburn

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The quest for the perfect pint is kind of a big deal to beer fans. It’s on par with the hunt for the Holy Grail or the search for Spock. When the perfect pint is found, it’s a thing of overwhelming beauty. So many bartenders don’t pour enough beer into your glass, pour too much or hand you a pint with two inches of froth. Even if the beer in your glass appears to be perfect, things might not be completely as they same. “There are so many variables,” says Shawn Richards, co-founder of the Crafty Beer Guys, a company that installs and maintains draft systems for bars.

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It starts with the brewer using the freshest ingredients and knowing his or her craft exceptionally well. “Once the beer is kegged and distributed, our job begins,” says Richards. The first matter of business is the delivery system. “We only install draft systems using stainless steel faucets and towers, and only use beer line that has a flavor lock protection.” These choices ensure that outside bacteria do not alter the flavor of the beer. Next, is the proper maintenance. Bartenders must clean beer lines and associated parts in accordance to the Brewers Association Guidelines, which prescribes cleaning all beer lines every two weeks with specially formulated caustic or acid solution. “Don’t worry – this process also includes flushing the lines with water and testing with pH strips to ensure all beer cleaning solution is out of the lines.” This process removes hop resins and beer stone that naturally build up in the lines. Both will alter a beer’s flavor if not appropriately cleaned. “I can say this, whether you are drinking a micro-brew or a mass produced pilsner, each company and brewery puts forth their best product and our job remains the same: to ensure that it tastes as the brewer intended.”

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Richards and the Crafty Beer Guys were featured in the YouTube mini-documentary Crafty Beer Guys: Locally Crafted Goods made by Windstream. “After agreeing to do the mini-documentary, we weren’t sure what to expect,” says Richards. In the back of his mind he thought it would be a couple of guys with GoPro cameras. “We would have been honored if that was what it turned out to be.” However, they were blown away when kbs+ and the Locally Crafted team from Windstream showed up. “They had top-notch equipment and were extremely professional. The end product, we think, speaks for itself.” A high-quality production that truly captured not only what we do, but also the passion we put behind our work at Crafty Beer Guys.

You can watch the video here

Windstream’s Locally Crafted Series

“To be honest, we were not aware of the series until we were contacted.” However, the guys are now hooked on watching the other mini-docs Windstream has done. “Each film is a wonderful spotlight on people and small businesses around the country, highlighting what they do and how it affects the communities around them.” The Crafty Beer Guys enjoyed learning about independent, local culture, from small business owners and craftsmen, to bloggers and
musicians.

They were contacted by kbs+, which is helping Windstream produce the “Locally Crafted” series. “At first we were a bit skeptical, but intrigued by the idea of a mini-documentary.” They ultimately thought it would be really nice to have something they could use to help explain what Crafty Beer Guys is all about.

Richards wants everyone to know the importance of having a clean draft system. “Beer is basically a food. It grows bacteria and mold.” The health department monitors food, but very few states monitor draft lines. “At Crafty Beer Guys, we proudly display the date when our beer lines were last cleaned.” He encourages everyone to ask their favorite bars and restaurants when the last time their lines were cleaned, to better ensure they are drinking the beer as the brewer intended.