Wayland Brewing are putting an emphasis on their lager program with the release of Foray Czech Pale Lager and Ember Czech Amber Lager, both of which are available on tap now via new Lukr beer faucets, specialized side pull taps designed to heighten the experience of craft beer, specifically lagers.
Unlike vertical taps, which have a plunger valve, side-pour taps are built around a ball valve. The side pull faucet allows the beer to flow very smoothly due to its larger diameter. The side-pour tap is ideal for pouring lager because it ensures there’s always plenty of dense, wet foam. Inside the faucet there’s a small screen, which aerates the beer and makes the foam thicker.
“At first I was skeptical and assumed the faucets were purely an aesthetic thing – they do look cool,” Wayland head brewer PJ Dunn admits. “As I saw them become more common, I started to educate myself, which then started me down a bit of a Czech beer rabbit hole.”
As Dunn explains, these Lukr side pull faucets really do allow for more control over the beer that is being poured as opposed to a normal beer tap, adding that they enhance the experience of the beer with the creation of a unique dense, wet foam, as opposed to the normal white foamy head you get with a normally poured pint.
“Lukr’s are designed and perform quite a bit differently than a more typical faucet,” Dunn says. “A normal beer faucet is generally open or shut/on or off. The Lukr’s on the other hand are more like a ball valve, in that you can really control the flow by how wide open the faucet is. A little open will produce foam, and full open will introduce liquid beer. The faucets also include a separate flow control, and an aerating screen right where the beer exits – they really provide the server a lot of control over the pour. The foam itself is also pretty unique – it is much more dense (smaller, tighter bubbles) and really is more like cream in texture than normal beer foam. I’ve come to agree that they do present the beer differently, and accentuate certain characteristics. The same beer poured out of a normal faucet vs. a Lukr will taste similar, but you’ll get to experience different textures and in my opinion, a highlighted hop experience off of a Lukr pour.”
Foray pours pale yellow with a dense, persistent white foam. It’s medium bodied with mildly sweet, crisp bready malt character balanced by floral hops. Similarly, Ember is constructed from carefully selected imported ingredients and the same clean lager yeast. It pours a clear medium amber with a dense white foam and has a honey-like sweetness that’s highlighted by notes of toasted bread crust and caramel.
“When my brewery teammates (Erika Talbot, Jesse Boyle) and I started to look ahead and discuss other styles we’d like to introduce at Wayland, Czech lagers were near the top of the list,” Dunn says. “We took a trip up to Godspeed in Toronto (who make world class Czech lagers) to taste and get inspired. Our team then set out to select raw materials, design the recipes and ultimately brew the beers. Both Foray and Ember utilize high quality imported malts, Czech-grown and processed Saaz hops, and a super clean fermenting Czech lager yeast. We also gave them both around 7-8 weeks of lagering, before carefully transferring and packaging the beers. With the effort that we put into the beers, and Wayland’s focus on hospitality and guest experience, we felt like we really had an opportunity to do these styles justice. That’s where we decided to purchase and install the Lukr faucets.”
Both beers are available in 12oz. 6-pack cans, as well as on tap on Wayland’s new Lukr beer faucets. Right now, both beers will be served in a traditional Czech dimpled mug, which includes 16oz. of beer and around two fingers of foam (the mugs are 24.25oz.).
As for what’s next for Wayland’s Lukr beer taps, Dunn says that while only Ember and Foray are available on side pull, for now, perhaps the brewery will experiment a bit more moving forward. The sky’s the limit, right?
“For now, it is just these two beers that we are serving this way – everything else is still on a standard faucet,” he says. “That said, I have had German beers and even IPAs served on a Lukr, and I wouldn’t rule out experimenting more with them in the future.”
Brian Campbell is co-founder and Brand Manager of the Buffalo Beer League, and writes the weekly Buffalo Beer Buzz column. If you have beer news that should be included in the Beer Buzz, Brian can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter (@buffbeerleague), Instagram (@buffalobeerleague), and Facebook (@thebuffalobeerleague).