3 Essential Features of a Great Restaurant Beer Program

Restaurants need to have a great beer list. With so many high-quality beers available on the market it’s easy for restaurants to put together a top notch beer program that can meet the tastes of all beer drinkers. There’s more reason than just taste preference to stock craft beers. Working with local brewers is a great way to support small businesses in your own community, and when your guests have a connection to your beer list, they will order will likely order those beers. Here are some great tips for putting together an innovative yet approachable beer program.

With the craft beer boom still well underway, there are some simple ways that Uncorkd can help you ride on the wave. A few easy steps are focusing on season and flavors. Quickly adding refreshing craft beer selections to your rotating spring menu of options will add both variety and depth. Brewers are making beers with fruity, floral, and citrus tones to match this season of thawing. Include these flavors in the notes description for easy entree pairing.

Beer Pairings can add a whole new depth to your beer program

Speaking of craft beer and entree pairing, it’s all the rage. Even craft beer and cheese pairings are becoming more commonplace. Just like with wine pairings, intensity is key; but more so in regards to flavor than body (like with wines). Another difference is that while wine is typically paired based on weight and contrasting attributes, beer can be paired based on contrast tastes or similar flavor reinforcement. Some argue beer pairings are even easier to make than wine pairings!

A full-proof way to match a beer with any food is to match the main flavors in the beer to the primary flavors in the dish, cheese, snack, or anything edible really. The possibilities with craft beer are limitless. Craft Beer and Brewing has even gone so far as to find perfect pairings for beer and Girl Scout cookies!

Another cheat-sheet way of pairing beers and meals is to match a beer from a particular region to dishes from that same region. This works so well because historically, beers were brewed to go well with local foods. Some other typical pairings to keep in mind this spring season are:

  • Pale Ales with salads and seafood
  • India Pale Ales with lighter dishes like seafood and salad as well, but also with more flavorful and rich foods like pizza and fried chicken. Beware, when paired with spice, it’ll turn up the heat!
  • Wheat Beer for fruit dishes and desserts with warm spices like cinnamon.
  • Stouts and Porters with barbecue.

Think about these combinations as you update your spring food and wine lists to help better your craft beer and overall bar program. Another quick way to instantly update your beer program is adding beer flights to the menu. Give patrons the option to try small portions of your tap selections consecutively. These sets of beer are typically arranged from light to dark (and drunk that way as well); unless the beers look very similar. You can implement a flight with a wide variety of beer styles or a series of similar beers that allows guests to taste the variations. The possibilities are endless and Uncorkd makes changing menu options easy.

With Uncorkd digital menus, you add in-depth tasting notes and beer descriptions, without worrying about limited menu space. Learn how you can make your dream beer menu without the clutter.

Add a nitro beer line to your tap system

Nitro beers are another upgrade worth investigating to better your bar. The fermentation process that makes beers alcoholic also infuses them with carbon dioxide (a fermentation byproduct). While most beers are typically further infused with added CO2, a lucky few are instead treated with nitrogen, creating tiny creamy bubbles (a certain beer from Dublin should come to mind). Nitrogen is a mostly water-insoluble, flavorless gas. Nitrogenating beer alters mouthfeel, texture, and flavor. Setting up a nitrogen tap would give your current brew lineup some extra pizaaz.

Collaborate with local brewers to throw awesome events

Nitro not your thing? Teaming up with local breweries and having a tap takeover is a great way to keep guests excited and requesting more pours. Uncorkd will keep track of what’s getting attention. Showcasing a beer of the month is another great way to increase sales and strike interest in under-requested brews. Something as simple as featuring an image with informative text or a special on that particular brew for the month can send sales through the roof.

Incorporating fun events into your venue calendar like hosting a beer pairings dinner event or a miniature beer fest can really get crowds gathered at your tap. With the weather warming up, nothing beats taking some time for a good brew (or many!). Using these suggestions will help keep your tap flowing.

Kiana Gonzalez

Kiana Gonzalez

Intern at Uncorkd
Kiana is a Chicago native putting the finishing touches on a marketing and psychology degree from DePaul University. In her spare time, she enjoys drinking sangria and watching Spanish novelas.
Kiana Gonzalez