Why Does Draft Beer Taste Better Than Bottle Beer?

draft beer

If you have ever had bottles of your favorite beer run out, and you get the draft after, you may notice the flavor is much better. Since then, you have probably gotten a draft when it was available and a bottle only if it was not. The freshness that comes from a draft beer is unmatched by a bottle for several reasons. Knowing the difference between the keg and the bottle and how the beer is stored makes a difference in how you order.

Lack of Light

The amount of light that beer is exposed to has the ability to chemically change the taste of the drink. This is why only a handful of beer brands have clear bottles and a few more have tinted bottles. Most beer bottles, however, come in different shades of brown, with some being significantly dark. This is done to manipulate how much light the beer is exposed to until it is opened and enjoyed. The longer a bottle sits in the sun when stored or during the moving process, the more the taste is impacted. With draft beer, it does not have light exposure to impact the taste.


Another big difference that a keg and a bottle have is the amount of pressure that is found. In the bottle, there is not a lot of security with the pressure, so the carbonation could be negatively impacted by the time the beer is opened. This could leave a stale taste and make it much bitterer than it would be on draft. Also, bottled beer has the potential to be tossed around, shaken up, and dropped before it is served, reducing the pressure that the bottle did have. In the keg, the pressure is maintained within the beer, allowing more stable carbonation and an even better beer.


Bottles can be stored at room temperature for long periods of time before they are put into coolers to bring down the temperature of the beer. As the temperature of the beer changes from cool to warm, then cool again, there is a flatness that happens to the taste. They start to age quicker and no longer carry that fresh taste after a few weeks. Draft beer, however, maintains a steady cool temperature, which keeps the beer tasting fresh for up to 60 days after it was brewed.

Why Beer Taste Better At A Bar

One major factor that makes draft beer better than bottled or canned is beer tasting better in a bar.

A bar setting also plays a huge role in how your beer tastes, a major factor again is how the beer is served and stored.

In bars that serve beer by the keg and via the tap, when beer is being dispensed from the keg into a pint, Carbon Dioxide or CO2 is dispensed to the keg in order for the beer to move up the tubes and out the tap.

If you notice as well, bartenders would transfer the beer to the pint a bit slanted, this actually is the motion that gives your beer that foam on top that makes it ever so inviting.

Additionally, beer in bars has the temperature of the beer from the kegs at a controlled state. Have the beer too cold and it will taste like nothing and too light, have the beer too warm (who would want that?) and it will taste too strong and more bitter than usual.

This also means that the next time you see bars that serve beer at sub-zero temperature, maybe have a quick read first on what brands are being offered, sometimes there are beers that are best served extremely cold, while there are beers that aren’t. Most of the time these beers that are to be served at sub-zero temperature are bottled beers, while draft beers are kept at a controlled temperature for optimal enjoyment.

Draft beer is not just about the taste and the flavor, it’s also about the experience

Think of it, having a big pint of beer from the tap served to you from the bar, compared to a bottle of beer that came from a cooler.

We can go on and on about how ingredients play a huge role in the overall taste of beer, but nothing beats the experience of having a pint at the bar!

Don’t even think about arguing that the hangover of draft beer and bottle beer differ, they are both made the same.

Does Draft Beer Cause Worse Hangovers?

Directly, draft beer doesn’t cause worse hangovers than bottled or canned beer. But this is an experience a lot of people (maybe even you) have experienced. There are some other factors that can contribute to a worse hangover though. Draft beer you drink from a glass. And it can be easier to drink from a glass than a bottle or can, which can lead to you drinking faster. Consuming beer faster can contribute to a hangover feeling worse than if you drank a beer slower.

Another cause is being out and about in a social setting, like a bar, people tend to drink a little more. It may not feel like it, but a lot of times if you count the drinks out, a lot of people notice they drink more out and about than they would at home. And most people who drink draft beer would be drinking it at a bar.

The other factor is the size of your drinks. Your average beer at home might be a 12 oz bottle, but the drinks you have at a bar could be 16 or 24 oz. Sometimes we don’t realize why size we are being served at a bar unless it specifically spells it out on the menu

Keep in mind that a hangover is essentially alcohol poisoning.  The main factors are how much alcohol you consume and how fast you drink it. A Coors Light beer is going to have the same alcohol content in a 12 oz draft beer as a 12 oz bottle. But if you drink one faster than the other, that can definitely play a part in giving you a worse hangover

Final Thoughts

Having a great-tasting beer is important to many who enjoy these cold beverages of hops and grains. The keg has the ability to keep the beer in its freshest form and maintain that freshness through light, pressure, and temperature management. No matter which brand you prefer, getting it in the draft is always the best option and worth the price difference whether you are having a meal or enjoying a night at the bar.

Dan Specht

Dan has been homebrewing beer for 8 years and holds a level 2 certifiication as a Cicerone.

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