Walk into any neighbourhood pub and you’ll come across a number of colourful, sometimes oddly shaped beer taps.
Finding a seat, the first thing you ask, when the bartender comes around, is; “What’s on tap?” It’s this subtle dance you get into with the bartender, testing his ability to speak on brewing topics such as: hops, colour, bitterness, etc… that really counts. In the end, as always, you’ll form your own opinion.
Wikipedia, no surprise, has a page devoted to Beer Taps…
A beer tap is a valve, specifically a tap, for controlling the release of beer. While in other contexts, depending on location, a “tap” may be a “faucet”, “valve” or “spigot”, the use of “tap” for beer is almost universal. This may be because the word was originally coined for the wooden valve in traditional barrels. Beer served from a tap is largely known as draught beer, though beer served from a cask is more commonly called cask ale, while beer from a keg may specifically be called keg beer.
Yesterday, Mark and I were at Fionn MacCool’s. Peter, our trusted bartender, recommended a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. We always go with his recommendations on the first round. As usual, his explanation on the virtues of this beer were spot on. Very simply put… tasty. I don’t remember how he described this particular brew but I’m sure the words “a hint of this or a hint of that” were used.
When it was time for the second round… I chose the Goose Island India Pale Ale. I’ve written about Goose Island’s beer before, one of my favourites.
Looking at the photo above though, the big question is… does the tap sell the beer?