How To Make Beer Your Guests Love
The secrets to ensuring superb product quality in every pint!
Brewing beer is both a craft and a science. You set out to flex your creativity and share your art with the world, but you need guests to love your beer so they come back again and you keep that bottom line growing.
So how do you ensure superb product quality in every pint?
First, Let’s Define High Quality Beer
With the wide variety of craft beer these days, it’s important to differentiate high quality from taste preferences. After all, your Coors Light-loving uncle may not be the best taste tester for your new handcrafted brews.
An expert Craft Beer Professionals panel defined high quality beer by the following criteria:
- Intentional: Beer that’s free of defects, is true to the intended style, and meets taste expectations is high quality.
- Consistency: Beer that tastes the same straight out of your brewery tap, in a can from the grocery store, and at a tasting room across the country is high quality.
- Enjoyable: While this is a variable measurement, a guest that enjoys their beer finishes the glass and may order another round of the same style.
“Enjoyable” somewhat marries intentional, consistent brews with taste preferences, but Lindsay Barr from DraughtLab said it best: High quality beer “translates what customers want in their language into what can be measured in the brewery.”
So let’s dive into how to make beer your guests love by tracking BoH (back of house) operations and translating that into a high quality product in the FoH (front of house).
BoH: Production Processes That Result In High Quality Beer
Serving consistently delicious beer starts behind the scenes in the BoH. There are countless tiny details that affect the quality of your brews, but below are 3 key strategies so you avoid the most common pitfalls in production.
Keep Thorough Brew Logs
Whether you’re experimenting with something new or whipping up your most classic style, make sure you meticulously track your process. Your brew logs should document timing, temperatures, and pH at every step to ensure consistency in production.
Here are some essential tools:
- Digital density meter
- Temperature probe
- pH meter
The Brewers Association teamed up with the American Society of Brewing Chemists (ASBC) on an incredibly informative video series covering brewing analysis, and this video in particular is worth a watch. You’ll learn how to use a pH meter to measure and report the pH of beer to the nearest 0.1.
Invest In In-Process Taste Tests
When it comes to in-process tasting, it’s important to do a lot of it with a lot of tasters.
Taste tests aren’t just for finished products. Beer is safe to test at any point during fermentation, and your team should frequently be testing how yeast and gravity are actively impacting each brew.
Leaning on a panel of folks instead of a solo taster is important because you shouldn’t trust a single palette. Get several knowledgeable staff members’ opinions and ensure that the next step is agreed upon.
Sensory training for your BoH staff is also encouraged! Not only does training help improve the quality of your beer, it’s an effective retention strategy to create staff buy-in for your brewery.
Ensure Your Packaging Process Is Controlled
Beware that good beer can go bad quickly if your packaging process isn’t controlled properly.
The hairiest issues to look out for is browning and mustiness, which you can avoid by measuring for both CO2 and dissolved oxygen. When you let oxygen into the beer during packaging, you risk the oxidation of ethanol and bacterial contamination.
Just as during production, make sure you track and document your packaging process to ensure the highest quality beer.
FoH: How Beer Is Named & Poured Matters To Guests
Beer production is only half the battle! Now it’s time to focus on your FoH ops to ensure guests love what you serve.
Taproom ambience and your steller staff of course support great guest experiences. But as far as maintaining high quality in your beer, you need to focus on what you name each brew and how it’s poured.
Name Your Beer With Novices In Mind
We all love a clever beer name. Little Machine’s Mexican-Style Lager, Sir Veza, flies off the tongue and off taps.
That said, your guests love beer they can understand. Brewing outside the box is certainly the name of the brewery game, but you want names that invite all types of beer drinkers to order them.
Kindsey, the General Manager of Austin Beerworks, recently shared an instance of needing to rename a beer based on the sales data. During the webinar GM’s Best Practices for POS, Kindsey explained how Arryved POS reports helped her determine that their Kristalweizen wasn’t meeting sales expectations.
The Austin Beerworks team realized that the average guest doesn’t know what Kristalweizen is, and instead renamed it something more folks recognize: a Sparkling Wheat. Now, Arryved data says Sparkling Wheat sales are off the charts!
Educating guests on your product and brand is incredibly important, but staff can’t always catch a first-timer before they order. You want all guests, including inexperienced beer drinkers, to feel welcome, so be careful not to intimidate anyone with overly cheeky or technical names.
Arryved offers reports aplenty when it comes to making data driven decisions for your brewery. Check out the following resources if you’re itching to number crunch:
Beverage Production Data Your Team Needs: Arryved reports and integrations you need to streamline BoH ops.
6 Essential Taproom Reports: Identify your best sellers, like Kindsey did, and learn how to use other FoH-focused reports such as Revenue to Labor Cost Percentage.
High Quality Pours Result In High Quality Beers
Here’s some essential training for your FoH staff: pouring the perfect pint. These techniques actually make a big difference in how beer tastes, so don’t assume that everyone knows how!
- Keg temperatures should be cold! Always.
- Pull from the bottom of the tap handle.
- Don’t pour and dump to get the right amount of foam—it’ll increase your pour costs and look unprofessional. If carbonation levels are off, check that your draft lines are balanced.
- Pour with the glass at a 45 degree angle.
Ta-da! Your guest is sure to love it.
Now that you have beer your guests love, what about a point of sale system that your staff loves? Learn more here: How To Choose a POS System Your Staff Will Love