Many beer lovers feel a mysterious allegiance to draft beer, and I’m definitely one of them.
We have an enduring fascination with beer dispensed from barrels and kegs. When preparing to travel abroad, you can bet we’ll forget our toothbrushes, but learn the words for “what’s on draft?” in the local language prior to departure
The tap attraction is only enhanced when there’s an opportunity to experience old-school methods of pouring, like when cask-conditioned ale is pumped from a cool cellar, or perhaps via the simplest method of all, dispensed by gravity feed from a vessel propped up atop the back bar.
At the same time it’s almost impossible to imagine a world without beer in cans and bottles. They’re easily conveyable, and go where draft beer’s sheer bulk cannot. From a commercial perspective, these (mostly) single-use units enable an efficient use of space and a diversity of choice.
When it comes to planning the overall beer program at an establishment like Common Haus Hall, there are as many conceivable strategies for organizing the selection as planners to brainstorm them (over a few good draft beers, of course).
As previously noted, Common Haus came to us equipped with the rudiments of a usable 18-tap draft system in place for supplying the second floor “Biergarten” service area. It has been completely refurbished by the esteemed technicians at Drinkwell, and augmented with two new keg boxes for downstairs dining area draft service.
While there’d be sufficient refrigeration to support a selection of cans and bottles available throughout the building, with hundreds of brands available for choosing, for now we’ve decided to keep it simple at Common Haus.
A reminder: Common Haus is conceived as a celebration of the German ethos in food and drink, and consequently, the German “family tree” of beer styles forms the basis of the beer selection.
And, in Germany and Central Europe, traditional on-premise (and in-garten) experiences overwhelmingly feature draft beer.
Here is what we know.
- Common Haus has been built to sell quite a lot of draft beer, and as such, draft is the point of primary emphasis.
- Our sister pub Pints&union will continue to emphasize 60-odd cans and bottles alongside its ten draft lines.
- My previous career of cage-rattling aside, I understand that ideals of dining and drinking democratization are not facilitated by excluding popular American beer brands.
- There’ll be ample future opportunities at Common Haus to bring in cans and bottles for tastings and special occasions, on a limited basis.
The starting list of cans and bottles will look something like this, once the beers all arrive.
Bitburger Drive Non-Alcoholic 11.2 oz btl
Bud Light 16 oz ALNR
Coors Banquet 16 oz cans
Michelob Ultra 16 oz ALNR
Miller Lite 16 oz ALNR
Radeberger Pilsner 16.9 oz cans
Stella Artois 11.2 oz cans
RADLERS (PALE LAGER w/FRUIT)
Clausthaler Grapefruit Non-Alcoholic 11.2 oz btl
Stiegl Grapefruit Radler 16.9 oz cans
Stiegl Raspberry Radler 16.9 oz cans
Stiegl Zitrone Radler 16.9 oz cans
Anderson Valley Brewing Co. Holy Gose 12 oz cans
Bembel Apfelwein Gold Cider 16.9 oz cans
Bembel Cherry Cider 16.9 oz cans
Bembel Pur Cider 16.9 oz cans
That’s it, to start. A few notes:
- As with Falls City Kentucky Common on draft, Radeberger Pilsner (when it arrives) will be the “popular priced” everyday German lager in a can. It is brewed near Dresden.
- Non-alcoholic beers are growing in popularity. Accordingly, our NA selection is likely to grow if sales justify it, and I believe they will.
- We’ll be introducing house-mixed Radler (draft beer and fruit juice or soda), but Stiegl’s popular pre-mixed and imported line will be offered in cans.
- The word for cider in German is “Apfelwein,” and the Bembel ciders are produced near Heidelberg.
Yes, Virginia, there is a beer plan at Common Haus, and ultimately, the configuration of the selection depends on our clientele. The program is going to be solid from the opening bell, but at the same time it will be kept purposely incomplete, with space and breathing room sufficient to allow necessary changes.
If there is any one thing we’ve learned during the build-out, the planet is in a changeable mood lately, whether we like it or not. It’s best to be nimble and accept the vagaries.
I realize we’ve been saying Common Haus is “opening soon” for quite some time, and apart from observing that we continue to meet the unanticipated challenges from near and far with determination and aplomb, it lies outside my area of responsibility to venture a guess.
I’d say we’re only days away, but as the 1970s-era ketchup advertisement correctly posited, anticipation keeps us waiting – all of us, owners, workers and customers alike.
My stance on the matter is bullish, and Common Haus is going to be worth the wait.