What's a Beer Tap ?
Beer Tap, also known as a Beer Faucet, are what bartenders pull on to dispense draft beer from a beer tower , wall mount , or a kegerator.
Beer faucets come in a bunch of different styles, but I’m going to talk about a handful of ones I’ve used personally in the field building and installing beer systems across the country.
After 10 years of experience, I’ve put together a list of what I’d recommend if someone was looking to purchase a new beer faucet or beer tap.
How Does a Beer Tap Work ?
Beer taps work in conjunction with the draft beer system. Assuming the beer system is balanced properly. When the tap handle is pulled, and the faucet dispenses beer. Beer should be pouring clear and at a rate of 2 ounces per second.
What Is Needed For A Beer Tap ?
First, you’ll want to make sure you have a beer tower, a beer wall mount, or a kegerator. You’ll need a place for the beer faucet to thread into. So you can dispense beer.
Next, you’ll want to tighten the beer tap with a beer wrench ( spanner wrench) and you’ll want to tighten, turning counter clockwise until the faucet is snug up against the beer shank.
Secondly, make sure you have beer to pour, and gas to propel beer. Make sure the C02 or Nitrogen is turned on.
If you’re pouring stouts, coffee or draft wine remember... you’ll be using nitrogen. Not C02.
Lastly, make sure the walk-in cooler, or where your beer is stored, is at 38 degrees. Any other equipment needed to pour beer, for that specific system is in working order.
How Much Is A Beer Tap?
The pricing can range from around $ 20 dollars to $ 150 dollars with beer taps and faucets. The faucets I'm talking about are going to be in the range of $ 35 to $ 105 dollars.
Really, it’s more about having the right faucet for the job. This should be the priority, because if you have the wrong faucet, it’s detrimental to dispensing beer, wine, coffee or any other product.
For example, if you dispense beer using a chrome plated faucet. There's a very good chance the chrome will fall off leaving the brass underbody.
This will actually give the beer a different taste because it's in contact with brass on the faucet. Compromising the experience for a customer, and ruining the integrity of the beer being dispensed.
Secondly, this is why I strongly recommend using stainless steel faucets only. Stay away from chrome plated beer faucets.
I’ve put together a list of my favorite beer taps and faucets over the years below.
Best Overall-Perlick Flow Control
My best overall faucet is the Perlick Flow Control Faucet. What I really like about this faucet is the amount of flexibility you have with it.
If you want to pour small tasters you can do that. If you want to pour pints, no problem. Experiencing foamy beer, due to wrong restriction values? The Perlick flow control faucet can solve that.
The Faucet has a lever you can pull towards you to add more restriction...the farther you push the lever back the more it opens. Which is why it's so good. Ultimately, it gives users the capability to pour beers correctly, by matching the restriction value to applied pressure the faucet helps maximize keg yield.
It's also aesthetically pleasing and looks slick. The only downfall I have with this faucet is it doesn't work well with unfiltered beers. It gums up very easily with these type of beers and you'll need to clean out the body, shaft and around the coupling washer.
That's the only thing that could be better. However for the one con it has, it more than makes up for it with its capability.
The flow control faucets work great for home and commercial kegerators. You won't be disappointed.
Best Budget-Standard SS Faucet
You can never go wrong with the Standard Stainless Steel Faucet. Very reliable and probably the most popular tap you will see coming off of beer towers, wall mounts and kegerators.
Typically can pick them up from a few different manufacturers. Micromatic, is a company our company uses.
Priced on the lower end of the scale, but don’t let that fool you. It’s an overall great faucet and best if you’re on a budget.
Best Runner-Up - Perlick 630SS
Very clean looking beer faucet, and aesthetically pleasing. These stainless faucets are shaped to give the user a little cleaner pour than the standard faucet above. These are a little more expense than the standard faucet, but less than the flow control faucets.
All of our clients that have these in their pubs or breweries are very satisfied with these beer faucets. For someone that wants a little bit more than the basic package. Can’t go wrong with this well designed Perlick beer faucet.
Best Alternative- MicroMatic 304 Beer Faucet
This is another great stainless steel faucet designed by Micromatic. Elegant looking, but more importantly pours great. This is a great alternative to the choices above, and for someone that is looking for a beer faucet that’s an upgrade from the standard beer faucet talked about above.
This is also a great beer faucet to pour other products such as cider, and wine because it’s made with 304 stainless steel.
These faucets are very sturdy and well made. I’ve installed many Micromatic beer towers with these faucets on them and know they are a solid product. Price point is around 40 dollars.
Best Nitro Beer and Coffee Tap
Nitro faucets are super cool. They are specifically designed for nitrogenated products. That’s just a fancy word for products using nitrogen to dispense, such as beer and coffee. They are designed to infuse the product with nitrogen when poured, and due to that infusion at the dispense point. It causes the product to have a “ cascadian effect “.
These faucets are more of a specialty and are considerably more than a flow control faucet. However, they are designed to pour nitrogenated products and give them a creamy taste due to the infusion of nitrogen at the point of dispense.
My choice for the best Nitro faucet is the all stainless 304 Nitro Faucet from Micromatic. Very clean looking, all stainless contact with product.
Best Wine Tap - Micro Matic Euro Style Faucet
Euro Style 304 Easy Pour faucet from Micro Matic.
Sleek looking with European flair. Very easy to dispense wine from this tap, but can also be used to pour beer and cider. Solid construction, and built to last a long time.
I’ve installed a few draft wine systems and all of them were fitted with Micro Matic Euro Style 304 Faucets.
Maintenance And Cleaning
The biggest thing to remember maintaining the high quality performance of these faucets is to clean them regularly.
In the commercial industry, beer lines and equipment should be cleaned every 2 weeks. This is an industry standard.
If you plan on using the beer or wine faucets at home on your kegerator. I’d also recommend every 2 weeks or after each keg is finished at home.
If the faucets aren’t maintained and cleaned. They will start to stick and you won’t be able to pull the tap open.
This is due to beer and wine drying inside the faucet and the minerals locking the faucet in place.
I would recommend checking this post I wrote about 4 Tips to keep your faucet in shape. It discusses simple things you can do to keep your beer tap or beer faucet in great shape.
Steps for Cleaning a Beer Tap
- Take off the faucet with a beer wrench
- Take the faucet completely apart
- Place in cleaning solution ( 5 Star PBW )
- Let sit for 30 mins
- Use brush to brush areas
- Rinse Faucet with water
- Reattach all parts to faucet
- Hook faucet back up with tower. Using a beer wrench
Remember these are just a few things to keep in mind when picking a beer tap for your beer system. If you are in the market for beer taps click on the recommended products page, and you can pick them up.