With many craft beer venues opting for constant tap rotation, The Hop Factory in Newcastle has recently gone the other direction, making most of its taps permanent fixtures.
Just four of The Hop Factory’s 20 taps are now devoted to rotating beers, licensee Matt Jeffery told Australian Brews News, following recent debate over the issue.
“We’re 18 months down the track now. Initially you open up and you put all these beers on trying them all, but I guess after this long you see which ones sell really well and which ones don’t,” he said.
“We’ve got 20 different taps anyway, which is a lot of choice. So I basically picked out 16 of my favourites to have a good spread of styles, keep them on permanent and then just have four taps that I am going to get a lot more rotation out of.”
Jeffrey said there is always going to be the temptation as a venue owner to put on every new and different beer as soon as it becomes available.
“Unfortunately you can’t always buy everything because you can’t always move it quick enough and beer should be fresh,” he said.
He said that with craft beer still in its infancy in Australia, it’s important to have approachable styles and recognisable brands permanently available such as Stone & Wood Pacific Ale, Feral Hop Hog and 4 Pines Pale Ale.
“People recognise them, especially people that don’t really recognise craft beer. You kind of need to have a lot of beers on that are going to suit most people,” he said.
“I’ve been a beer geek for ages but not all of us go out all the time. A lot of us go into a bottleshop and we’ll stock up and have those at home as opposed to going to a venue and drinking ‘out there’ beers.
But Jeffery said he would never go to the extreme of having all 20 taps as permanent, because rotation is part of the experience of craft beer.
“You want to always try new things but I still find myself that I go back to the ones I really like. It’s nice to be able to walk into a venue and know they’re pouring a beer you really love and you can get it there all the time,” he said.
You can see The Hop Factory’s current tap list here.