Monday, August 23, 2010

Soap in the tap lines!?

There is a national chain beer bar near my house that I enjoy going to. I have met the main bartender many times and he's a great guy who strikes a nice balance between his beer and his markets beer. The manager too. In a town known for its devotion to Red Bull and Michelob Golden Draft Light, the Bell's, Sierra Nevada, Lift Bridge and Summit on tap here are an oasis.

Sadly, the water's not always just right at this oasis. Over the last 6 months to a year, I have noticed that the beer often tastes soapy/chemically. I have ALWAYS brought it up to the bartender and have always gotten my beer replaced. I'm not the only person who notices this by far. From people drinking Two Hearted to Leinie's to Coors Light, I have seen many comment on the taste. But still, it's such a good bar to go to. Affordable, decent selection, friendly staff. What's a beer geek to do?

I've chosen to keep going. Occasionally. And I say something every time, both bad when the beer tastes too strongly of sanitizer, and good when it doesn't. I think it's important to reward a place for having good beer since I want to drink good beer. I also think it's important to "punish" a place by not spending as much money as I could there when they have beer problems. But I make sure it's known what I am doing. As an Economist, it's obvious that the market will work this problem out. If the bad beer ruins the experience for a set of people, they won't go there, the bar with either fix the problem, switch their selection target, or close. But what the market doesn't automatically supply is perfect information. Are people not buying these beers because they aren't "cool" any more? Did our staff upset some people? Or is it the soapy taps? I try and provide my part of that information, please do the same.

Or better yet, how do you deal with a bar/business that isn't doing things just right in your mind? Tell me on Twitter @StCloudBeerGeek


  1. It goes along with places that serve Guiness too quickly or ice cold or as one downtown establishment does, charges the line with pure CO2.
    There is much pleasure in the ceremony around drinking the best beers, if I didn't want that then I would drink bud light lime....

  2. I have been noticing this as well, but what I have noticed is not so much in the beer lines but in the glasses that the beer is served in. The bar I frequent a lot uses a lot of sanitizer(i.e. bleach) in the dishwasher for their glasses. I turn away quite a few glasses because I smell them first and some even have a soap/sanitizer residue in them. I'm from Hutchinson and I have never been to the Oasis to know first hand if that is what their issue is as well. I think more bars that serve a good variety of beers should invest in those glass washers right at the tap that they are suppose to rinse each glass first before pouring the beer into it.