What Is Draft Beer? Everything You Need to Know

by Karl S Updated on March 12, 2022

Has the question “What is draft beer?” ever crossed your mind?

Were you ever curious about its origin story, the process, and the different kinds available?

Luckily, you’ve found the RIGHT ARTICLE! We’re giving you the full scoop all about draught beer or draft beer.

Get your kegs and caskets ready because we’re going to fill your bucket with everything you need to know about draft beers!

History of Draft Beer

One of the EARLIEST accounts regarding this beer storage technique was in 1691, in a London Gazette newspaper article describing a patent for “a very useful engine for starting of beer.

Based on early references, the historical background of draft beer began when medieval monks were one of the first groups to store beer into barrels.

Beer was transported and even served directly from barrels until Joseph Braham invented the beer engine in 1785.

20th Century

During the early 20th century, draft beer started to be served from pressurized containers.

In 1936, artificial carbonation was introduced in the UK.

From then on, this method had made its impact in Europe, where it quickly became the preferred method and spread to the rest of the world.

In modern times, the term “DRAUGHT BEER” is almost exclusively used for beer served from the pressurised containers instead of others who prefer traditional cask beer.

Overview of the Draft Beer

The term draft beer originates from the Old English term “dragan,” which means “to carry or pull.”

Dragan was the source of several different terms used in the U.K about pouring and serving beer, including:

  1. Draw
  2. Drag
  3. Draught

The term draft or draught beer started to be utilized not only for the process of serving the beer but for the type of beer itself, drawn from a keg or cask.

Draft beer is simply beer served straight from a keg or cask. It’s the kind that comes out of the pumps at a bar rather than in a can or bottle.

In short, draft beer is a pressurized beer that goes through a carbonation method that isn’t served as bottled beer or canned beer.

Draught Beer vs. Draft Beer

There is no difference between draft beer and draught beer. 

In the early 1970s, the term ‘’draught beer’’ became almost only referred to as beer served under pressure.

Draught beer generally TASTES BETTER than bottled beer because of the brewing process, storage, and dispensing factors.

Furthermore, draught beer is sometimes used for imported beers or the “beer on draught” at American, notably British establishments.

Nowadays, you will see draft beers poured from tap to glasses served straight from tap lines.

Why Is Draught Beer Better Than Bottled or Canned Beer?

Beer enthusiasts and experts note that unpasteurized and unfiltered brews have more flavor than canned or bottled beers.

Storing the beer in a cask or keg made from steel keeps the sunlight and carbon dioxide from ruining the beer’s freshness.

Many variables could affect the taste and quality of draught or draft beer, such as:

  • Not letting it rest after transport
  • Not maintaining the tap lines
  • Serving it at the wrong temperature

Is Draft Beer the Same as Real Ale?

There was a group called the Campaign for Real Ale, which was founded in 1971 to protect traditional beer and brewing methods.

This group came up with the term ‘’real ale’’ to distinguish between cask-served beer and beer served under pressure.

  • A cask or a keg can store draft beer.
  • Real ale, on the other hand, comes specifically from a cask.

The most important step is that the ale must be unpasteurized, unfiltered, and go into the cask while the yeast is still alive.

  • While it’s there, it continues a secondary fermentation.
  • Enthusiasts say this creates smooth beer and gives their preferred beverage a deeper flavor.

Unlike unpressurized beer stored in a cask or keg, no oxygen is added to real ale. The beer is less fizzy than what you’ll get from a keg but shouldn’t be completely flat.

What Is Keg Beer?

You may also be familiar with the term “keg beer.” This beer comes specifically from a pressurized keg.

REMEMBER: All keg beer is draft beer, but not all draft beer is keg beer.

Kegs became so popular in Europe and the UK that it replaced traditional cask beer because it required less handling care.

Keg beer is different from a cask. A keg only has one opening located where the flow pipe is connected.

Once fermentation is finished, kegs are also artificially pressurized with carbon dioxide or both carbon dioxide and nitrogen gas.

Additional Information

Nitrogen is used under high pressure when dispensing dry stout and other creamy beers. It replaces the CO2 to create a rich, thick head and a less carbonated taste.

The bottled gas for creamy beer is premixed and is usually around 75% nitrogen and 25% CO2. But this premixed bottled gas only works for creamy beers and is referred to as ‘’Beer gas’’.

If this beer gas is used to other beer styles, the last 5% to 10% of the beer keg will taste flat and lifeless!

At home, keg beer is stored in a Kegerator for easy access.

Keg vs. Cask Beer

Do you know what’s surprisingly funny? These two are brewed the EXACT SAME WAY.

The difference is that cask beer is only partially ready before it gets in the casket.

Like other beers, it will go through the second fermentation, which happens when it goes into the casket, and a small amount of sugar is added.

Keg beer is more like a GIANT CAN of beer, and the beer is filtered and generally sterilized before going into the keg, so it becomes drinking beer.

Cask beers tend to be less fizzy and are served at around 11°C. Keg beer is usually fizzier and served at a cooler temperature. Casket beers should be stored at a temperature of 10°C-14°C.

Beer Keg Sizes

There are commercially-sized beer kegs that are available from 20L to 50L. These are ideal for big crowded events or if you have an enormous draft beer storage for giant-sized kegs.

There are also smaller mini-kegs perfect for smaller groups of individuals. A mini-keg usually comes in a 5L size, containing about 10 pints. These are typically refered to as pressurized growlers.

How Is Draft Beer Made?

Believe it or not, draft beer is made the same as bottled beer!

The only difference is that you fill the beer in a BOTTLE instead of a keg or a cask.

Some beers go through a cold filtering system,while there are some basic steps that some bottle beers go through in the brewing process.

Here is the full beer-making basic step process:

  1. The malted grains are crushed to expose their STARCH inside.
  2. Hot water is added to the crushed malt grains afterward, which becomes MASH.
  3. After the conversion, the sugar comes out of the grains by rinsing again with water.
  4. After sparging and collecting wort (the liquid extracted from mashing), the wort is boiled in a kettle.
  5. The boiling is important because the hops add flavor and bitterness.
  6. The wort is cooled down to around fermentation temperature and is transferred into a fermentation vessel.
  7. The yeast fermentation goes under active fermentation and maturation.

Draft Beer Storage and Temperature

Draft beer in traditional kegs should be stored and served at a cellar temperature of 12°C (54°F).

If they become TOO COLD, they will taste bland, but dispensing will create too much foam. On the other hand, serving it TOO HOT will also affect the taste and appearance of the beer.

Beer companies suggest that flavored varieties should be served warm to fully absorb the flavors.

Does Draft Beer Have a Stronger Taste?

Many people say that draft beer is stronger than craft beer and bottled beer. To find out how much of a strong taste your brew has is to check its alcohol content.

Certified brew lovers will be able to tell the difference when it comes to the taste of:

  • Tap beer
  • Bottle beer
  • Craft Beer
  • Different kinds of alcohol

However, it’s not just the alcohol content that will determine how brew affects you. Another key factor is HOW QUICKLY you drink it.

Draft beer needs to go through the tap lines and into the glass. It makes the brew slightly less fizzy and smoother. On the other hand, you can be drunk faster when you drink 2 beer bottles!

Overall, draft beers are not stronger than other kinds, but it is less expensive.

How Does Draft Beer Taste Different From Varieties in Bottles?

Aside from the fact that it comes with a different mouth feel than when they drink it in a can, what else makes draft beer taste different?

It Has Fresher Taste

You’ll get a glimpse of fruits and vegetables when you drink draft brew!

Once a bar taps a keg, it will remain fresh for around two days. The bar must order more of them frequently.

The draft tap options should be fresher than the can or bottle options if you drink at a quality bar.

Nonetheless, this does not mean that others don’t stand up as a good beer!

They Protect Against Light and Temperature

Draft brews and kegs must be stored in a dark room and away from sun leakage.

Kegs are superior transportation devices when moving beer. They prevent all exposure to sunlight, which extends the overall shelf life of the product.

More Consistent Pressure

Different kinds of brews and even those in bottles have their ideal temperature and pressure point for serving.

Taps allow the bar owners to customize the amount of pressure placed on each different keg. Doing so changes the overall mouthfeel, texture, thickness, and the number of bubbles.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are the most frequently asked questions about the topic! If you think the article did NOT answer ALL of your questions and concerns, we hope this section will!

Is Draft Beer Pasteurized?

It is a type of beer that has not undergone the pasteurization process. It should be KEPT COLDat a temperature between 0°C and 2°C.

Since it does not go under sterilization, it retains the full flavor, nutrients, and natural beneficial bacteria. It alsokeeps the dirty draft lines from forming.

Do Kegs Have an Expiration Date?

For unpasteurized kegs, they can last for 45-60 days. Pasteurized kegs can be kept from 90 to 120 days.

However, it will be fresh for about 8-12 hours if opened.

Is Draft Brew Carbonated?

It depends on the TAPPING SYSTEM.

Depending on which tapping system, the foam can grow thicker. A well-handled, fresh keg will likely have better carbonation and taste than the same brew in bottles.

Final Verdict: Is Draft Beer Worth a Try?


If you have never experienced fresher beer types and retained their full flavor, you are missing out!

The only thing left for you to do is to try it yourself!

We hope you enjoyed learning all there is to know about draft beer! Always remember to drink responsibly and moderate your alcohol consumption!