The world of craft beer is a new and exciting one, with new micro-breweries opening each day across the country. The art of these local, homemade brews is that creativity is key and invention is next. In other words, large corporations have their place in the alcohol market, but local places are starting to take root and a whole new culture of beer is cropping up. If you are new to the scene, worry not, as there really are no hard and fast rules. There are, however, a few guidelines to help you feel more comfortable when ordering your first craft beer. Take a look at the following mistakes to avoid:
1. Failing to ask for samples.
A micro-brewery is going to depend on its patrons enjoying the alcohol. If you purchase one beer and hate it, chances are not great that you will return or speak highly of the establishment. That is why most bartenders are more than happy to dole out samples to the patrons who truly are interested in buying a good drink. So do not be afraid to ask for a sample or two. The general rule of thumb is remain honest with your critiques and keep your sample requests to non-busy times when the bartender can actually pay attention to your palate.
2. Asking the bartender for a recommendation without any explanation.
There is nothing wrong with asking for a recommendation. The problem, however, comes when your request is too broad. For instance, “What do you recommend?” is unfocused and far too broad. Every palate is different and no bartender is going to know exactly what your tastebuds prefer. If you would like to ask for some guidance, then tell your server what it is you like in a beer. Knowing whether you like light or dark beers is a great start. Pale ales is also a good jumping off point. And if you truly do not know, then go back to the samples and be honest about liking the sample. Or not.
3. Not telling the truth about a sample.
Again, refer to point number two. If you are requesting samples in order to determine which craft beer you should order, then you should be honest about whether you enjoyed the sample. If you did not prefer that sample, then do not be afraid to speak up. Tell the bartender as specifically as possible what it was that did not appeal to you. Just remember to be polite.
4. Expecting the brew to be ice-cold.
For many Americans, cold beer is about as good as it gets. And for a hot day at home, it isn’t such a big deal to have a cold one. But alcohol generally tastes better at room temperature. The flavors are able to present themselves without losing carbonation. Craft beers are generally crafted (pardon the pun) by locals who understand the art of brewing. Do not be surprised, then, to find that the beer is served at a room temperature.
5. Refusing to tip.
Finally, craft beer establishments operate like any other bar. Excellent service deserves excellent tips. Show your appreciation for your bartender, particularly if you requested samples and recommendations with an appropriate and classy tip.