Do you remember the show “Cheers,” where you would always see the bartender wiping out a glass with a bar towel? This is wrong in so many ways, mostly because all the dirt and grime that gathers on the towel when the bar top is wiped down transfers to the glass in which they serve draft beer. When it comes to the serving the perfect pint of draft beer, a clean glass just is not good enough. What you really need is to make sure you are serving your beer in “beer clean” glassware.
Beer clean is an industry term describing a glass that is free of any impurities that would give CO2 a place to cling to, ensuring the beer’s best look and taste. The Brewer’s Association Draught Beer Quality Manual (DBQM) defines a beer clean glass as one that: “Forms a proper foam head, allows lacing during consumption, and never shows patches of bubbles stuck to the side of the glass in the liquid beer.”
According to the Draught Beer Quality Manual, there are two acceptable, effective ways to clean your bar glassware for guaranteed beer clean results: manually washing in a three-tub sink or using a dedicated automatic glass washer.
For manual cleaning, it is important to clean sinks and work area prior to cleaning the glassware. First, clean the glass in hot water with a detergent that is not fat, or oil based. Make sure not to empty any water from the glass into the cleaning water so cleaning solutions are not diluted. Second, scrub the entire glass (interior, exterior surfaces, and the bottom of glass) with a cleaning brush to remove film and residue. Using motorized cleaning brushes will allow for a more thorough washing. Then, make sure to rinse in cold water. Finally, sanitize the glass in the third sink filled with hot water and an appropriate beer clean sanitizer.
If using a glass washing machine, it is imperative that you dedicate this machine to beer and bar glassware only. Wash glasses at a hot temperature (between 130º and 140º) and use the correct detergent, sanitizing, and/or rinsing agents. Check concentrations daily and regularly service the machine to keep its performance where it needs to be.
Maintain soap and sanitizer frequently during a busy shift. Have the right brushes and make sure they are suitable for the glassware that you are using (make sure they are long enough). Watch to make sure the brushes are in decent shape to do what they are supposed to do.
Wash – Rinse – Sanitize. Let the glassware air dry. This allows the sanitizer to really work to its fullest capacity. Get with your local health officials for what they expect from you, it may be different than our suggestions here.
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