Joe’s On Broadway, a great hole in the wall bar that has been around for.. well, a long damn time; it also shares the distinction of being very close to my house. While frequenting Joe’s recently I decided to have another go at Anchor Steam, the progenitor of the craft brewing explosion in America.
Rewind about 5 years and you would have found me turning up my nose at Anchor Steam. I would have shared with you that it tastes flat, like wet newspaper, no characteristics that I find appealing, in other words don’t buy one. So when I saw that Joe’s had it on tap in a mug for $3.75, I thought, “What the hell, I can spend the money to see if I still don’t like it.” What a great investment! Turns out that I really like this beer!
As I was sitting and reflecting on how a person’s tastes can change over the course of time (which certainly can happen), something occurred to me. I don’t think that my tastes or the beer changed at all over the past five years. I think I was a victim of poor tap sanitation when I first had Anchor Steam 5 years ago.
I was reading up on tap system cleanliness and read that poorly maintained draft lines can lead to infected beer that will most certainly give off flavors and give beer a poor showing. The too bad part about it is that I blamed the brewery for creating a beer I didn’t like. It never crossed my mind that the beer was fine it was the bar’s fault. I think this happens more often then people think. How often are you really considering the impact the delivery system of your beer has vs. the inherent characteristics of the beer?
With this revival of my interest in Anchor Steam, I think I owe it to myself to try a beer at least twice if I think I don’t like it. Once at the bar and once at home. What better system could I hope for to have a steady supply of beer at home and get to try new beers at the bar!
For anyone interested in reading more on draft system care: https://cicerone.org/sites/default/files/draft_savvy.pdf