Craft Beer Scene Which Is Freshest?

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By: Diane Keating, Seven Lakes News Reporter

Today’s craft beer scene is overwhelming. Even for those with a grasp on hop varieties and local breweries, combing through a tap list can induce decision paralysis. But if there’s one thing that should guide an order, it’s freshness. Draft beer has long been heralded as the best option, whether for mouthfeel, pressure control or a foamy head. Now that so many craft breweries are choosing cans over bottles and kegs, is draft still considered “better?”

The answer, it turns out, isn’t so clear cut. Style — specifically when it relates to a beer’s hop content — influences the shelf life of a beer, as does packaging. 

Bobbie Atkins, representative with R&D Brewing/Bull Durham Beer Co  a local craft beer brewery explains:

Is draft beer always better?  Draft beer is definitely better than bottled, but canned can be better than draft. It depends. If you look at trends, locally and nationally, most breweries are moving to canning beers. What that allows for is a proper seal. Even in a glass bottle, oxygen can leak in. So flushing cans with carbon dioxide and sealing a beer shut keeps it fresher for longer. Cans also prevent light from getting in, which can be an issue with bottles, even brown bottles. Light and oxygen are the enemies of beer.

Draft beers usually move faster, and if you’re replacing kegs more often, that usually means fresher beer. So, in terms of quality and turnover, it’s draft, then cans, then bottles.

Are there particular styles that move faster than others?  IPA‘s are

king. Pilsners tend to be very popular, too; and recently there are  more and more people asking for sours and fruit varieties on draft.

Generally speaking, for an IPA, you want to consume it within a month of it being brewed. Hop quality begins to fade after about 30 days. 

Are local beers usually indicative of freshness?  Yes and no. Local beer has a tendency to be more fresh, but it has to be good beer to be fresh enough that you’ll go through kegs of it.

What sort of questions should someone ask a bartender in order to get the best or freshest beer?

Let the bartender know what type of beer you like.  Knowing what kind of beer you like gives the bartender a starting point, even if it’s Heineken or Guinness. Any good beer bar will allow you a few tastes before deciding on a beer.  

R&D Brewing — Current Craft Beers

According to Bobbie Atkins, choosing the right bar is also really important. You want a staff that’s casual and approachable and knowledgeable, not snooty.  In Seven Lakes these craft beers can be found at the Lakehouse, Shell Friendly Mart and the Sandhills Winery.  The Resolution beer the golfers beer can be found locally at Foxfire Resort and Pinewild CC.

Their Flagship beer “Seven Saturdays“ an IPA @6.8 ABV you can always enjoy at “Seven Lakes.“

The Flagship beer won a Silver Medal at the US Open Beer Championship.  The brewing company also brews Storm Beer for the Carolina Hurricanes hockey team.

So when you are out and about in Seven Lakes make sure you try one of these awesome beers

By: Diane Keating, Seven Lakes News Reporter

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