Over the weekend Beer Bitch and I went to a bar in Chicago.  It was not a “beer bar” they did have some craft options.  The bar had six drafts and about twenty bottle selections.  I always make a quick sweep of my draft options when walking in.  I asked the bartender what Brooklyn Brewery Beer was on tap.  He replied “Brooklyn”  and with a plain Brooklyn Brewery tap handle I had no idea which beer I just ordered.  It poured dark which indicated to me immediately it was either Brown or Oktoberfest, and I am pretty sure it was Oktoberfest.  (I am ignoring the fact that this is mid-February because seasonality is a completely different issue.)

Later in the evening I asked a second bartender for Noble Pils.   I said Noble Pils a second time, and she still had no clue.  I then asked for Sam Adams and she poured the Noble Pils from the clearly marked Sam Adams Seasonal Noble Pils tap handle.

In this case both bartenders had no clue what beer they actually had..  What could be done to avoid this?  First, I think breweries like Brooklyn should abandon generic taps.  At least a customer could look at a tap handle and answer their own question.  Sam Adams did adopt an identifying tap handle and I think there is little more they could do.  However, bar mangers need to stress the importance of knowing what is on tap.  Knowing which beers are available are just as important as knowing how to mix signature cocktails.  Profit is king in bars and beer is a money maker.  Knowing what your customers are asking for will result in quicker service which frees up staff to go onto the next customer and increase customer satisfaction.

So please bartenders when serving beer make sure you know what is there!




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