The Side Pull Tap… What Is It And Why Should We Care?

If you’re not familiar with the side pull tap we’re not surprised. While it can be found in a few breweries in PA, it hasn’t hit the mainstream quite yet.

For those who don’t know a side pull draft beer faucet (or Czech beer faucet) is used to control the flow of beer to create a creamy head, which is the traditional way of enjoying a Czech pilsner. The faucet is submerged into the mug to create a silky, sweet head of foam.

While it may look like a tap turned on its side, the handle is a bit more delicate than your traditional tap. Each slight movement of the handle changes the flow of beer; every degree of change increases or decreases the amount of liquid being poured into the glass.

Stick City Brewing pours from their side pull tap (photo courtesy Stick City)

The side pull may not have hit the mainstream of Pennsylvania craft beer just yet. However, a few breweries have installed such handles as a part of their offerings. We recently spoke with two breweries who have implemented the side pull tap to learn more about the benefits of the handle.

Stick City Brewing – Mars, PA

“After figuring out how to buy them, we primarily installed them for our pilsner beer.  The unique design of the faucet allows us to serve the beer in the traditional Czech format which is from the side-pull into a bowl mug.  This is how we prefer lager beers in place of the tall, narrow style glassware.  We have also served our English bitter and our amber ale from the faucet – it really enhanced the smoothness with these beers and the aroma from the foam cap is always nice.

The side pull faucet allows the beer to flow very smoothly and swiftly due to its larger diameter, then when you just open the tap, it has a foam screen on the inside that enables the faucet to pour straight, wet foam.  In fact, we even do the milk-style pours where you pour a full glass of wet foam.  

Having the side-pull faucet allows us to focus on a fuller experience rather than just the beer: fresh unfiltered, unpasteurized beer, proper faucet, proper well-rinsed glassware.  Some people have been confused when they get a glass with a big foam cap, but once we walk them through the story and reason, you can tell it adds a nice touch to their time drinking the beer.”

Nick Salkeld, Brewer/ Owner Stick City Brewing

As you can see below from a recent side pull pour at Stick City, the foam of the beer appears much creamier and heavier, allowing for a very unique drinking experience.

A recent side pull pour from Stick City (photo courtesy Stick City on Facebook)

Warick Farm Brewing – Jamison, PA

“We installed a side-pour faucet because we believe it’s the best way to serve a Pilsner. Pouring and glassware are two things that we believe shouldn’t be overlooked. Pilsners excite brewers because we understand the time and effort that goes into creating a solid lager. I believe it’s our job to make a beer that is typically “boring”…..exciting!

Giving customers a choice between a smooth or crisp pour already makes the style more interesting. Watching it be poured correctly is also more engaging than a typical faucet. Both pours change the flavor profile dramatically and the customers are able to experience that. The smooth pour mutes the bitterness and promotes a bigger mouthfeel. The crisp pour brings more carbonation out and enhances the hop flavor and aroma. We always recommend trying the smooth pour first if a customer isn’t familiar with the faucet.”

Ryan Seiz, Brewer/ Owner Warwick Farms

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Warwick Farm Brewing Owner/ Head Brewer Ryan Seiz pouring from the side pull tap  (Photo courtesy Warwick Farm on Instagram)

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