Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Beer List

We've all got our pet peeves; the little things that really drive us up the wall. One of mine is sitting down in a nice restaurant and asking to see their beer list, only to be told "Oh, we have everything!"

"Really? There are over 1400 breweries in the US alone, so a conservative estimate would be there are at least 7000+ beers brewed in the US! Not to mention all the cool imports out there. And you've got everything. That's impressive. OK, I'll have a 1988 Thomas Hardy Ale."

At this point the poor server usually realizes they are dealing with a beer geek and my wife sighs as she is again reminded that she was foolish enough to marry a smart-alec beer snob. The server then admits that by "everything" he or she really means "Bud, Bud Light, Miller, Miller Light, Coors, Coors Light, etc.", i.e. the same run-of-the-mill macro-brews that everyone else has. If I'm really lucky, they might have one local brew of some sort on tap or in a bottle. It will probably be served way too cold and may be so old that it does not taste anything like it should, but that's the way it goes, right? Can't expect to get what you're paying good money for, i.e. a quality craft beer.

What bothers me is that no self-respecting restaurant would ever respond to a request for its wine list by saying "we have everything". Nor would they think serving just a run-of-the-mill house white sufficient to satisfy the tastes of all their customers and pair with all their dishes. But they think nothing of treating beer in such a cavalier fashion.

So what's a beer lover to do?

I think the only thing which will cause this situation to change is feedback from customers. If you love beer and don't wish to see it mistreated, speak up! Let the server and/or the manager know if you're not happy with the beer choice or service. If your complaints are ignored, go spend your money someplace else. Conversely, if you find good beer properly served, let the folks doing it know how much you appreciate it. Positive feedback is just as important as negative feedback.

Let's put our money where our mouths are and teach people to Respect Beer!

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