I was fully prepared to dislike this article. It has all the hallmarks of a lazy back in my day column. It starts off with a shout out to a simpler time when going to a pub and ordering a beer was easy. It then shifts to present day dropping the dreaded, “hipster” into the conversation. Finally, there is a discussion of how things are different now. In this case, asking for samples.
However, the writer then shifts into giving some good common sense advice for people new to craft beer and craft beer bars. The writer comes up with six other “etiquette rules” that boil down to ask questions, have fun, and enjoy the beer.
One thing she could have put on there is, if the bar offers flights, don’t taste every beer on tap to pick your beers. Our bar has 36 taps and offers flights of five beers. Most people will come in to do a flight and ask what styles beers are and then write down five that sound cool or interesting. Then some people, don’t want to think and ask the bartender to write down five “good” beers to try. Here is a little note to people. When you do that the bartender often just picks the first five beers their eyes come across. They usually have too many other customers to hold your hand.
The final group of people that order flights are the type A overachievers who think everything is a test with a right answer. They pretty much want to taste everything on tap to get the perfect flight. Even on the slowest nights, I want to punch those people in the face. Why? For me, flights are for experimentation and fun. Our flights are over a pint of beer. If you pick something you don’t like, don’t drink it. We won’t judge you. Actually, we will make fun of you after you leave if you don’t drink something that is universally beloved because we are shallow people.
So, here is what I would add to that list: If you are in a place that offers flights, have fun with it. Pick beers you’ve never heard of before. Pick beers with the coolest names. Pick beers you’ve heard of but haven’t had the chance to try. Pick beers from one style. Just have fun.
Sometimes we forget that this is supposed to be fun. This is beer. I take beer a little more seriously them most people because my rent is dependent upon it. For the rest of the world, I don’t understand why people take it so damn seriously.
A few weeks ago, on a Tuesday or Wednesday night, a group of friends came into the bar. One of the guys is a craft beer fan who has been in the bar a few times and wanted to take his friends to get good beer. There were 5 of them all told. The first guy, the leader, orders his beer. The other guys are at the bar hemming and hawing asking for sample staring at the board and not making any decisions on what to drink. The leader guy and I had the same thought at the same time, but he could utter out loud because they were his friends. He sipped his beer, looked over at them with the disgust only a close friend can have for his friends and said, “It’s beer. Just pick a fucking beer that sounds good and order it.”