|22 Rules of Beer Etiquette
Etiquette - a code of behavior that delineates expectations for social
behavior according to contemporary norms with a society, social class
or group. Since beer lovers qualify as a group they too have an
unwritten code of proper behavior when drinking their favorite
beverage at home or at a pub. Well, the unwritten will now be written.
Here are my 22 rules to follow if you want to be better enjoy your
evening at the bar or just what to be the next Emily Post.
1. People are entitled to their own opinions about beer. Don’t order a
beer for someone just because you are the advanced beer fan in your
group and know which the best is for them. If your friend wants a soft,
light cream ale or sweet dark lager it’s okay.
2. If your group is buying rounds, don’t feel locked in by the second or
third one. People drink at different paces – it’s OK to order a beer on
your own if other folks aren’t ready; it’s certainly more polite than
sitting with an empty glass or forcing someone else to hurry up and
finish their beer faster than they want to.
3. Use a coaster. If your bartender or server doesn’t give you one, ask.
A beer glass sitting directly on the bar or table sets some people’s
teeth on edge – including mine.
4. Ask your server succinct questions about a beer you haven’t tried
before. If he or she doesn’t know, that may be a sign that the bar or
restaurant often has a number of new and interesting beers – that's a
5. When going to a new restaurant that offers limited variety of beer
try politely saying “We’d prefer to pick from a variety of beers with
dinner so we’d love to return when you bring in a wide range of
beers.” I think he'll get the message.
6. It’s about flavor. Alcohol is a component to flavor; beer is not an
alcohol delivery medium. Order based on flavor, not strength.
7. Some places will charge more based on rent, overhead,
neighborhood, and the beer’s cost to them, so don’t complain and
whine. If the price is too high try to find the same item somewhere else
for less money.
8. Be careful of generalizations like “I prefer dark beers.” It’s like
saying, “I like movies whose titles start with the letters A through L,” or
“I don’t like red foods.”
9. Never order “a beer,” – order by style, by variety, or by specific
name. (As the late Michael Jackson said, would you order “a plate of
10. Be grateful for the variety of beer that is out there. You are living in
the best beer time in history.
11. Ask if a brand you are unfamiliar with is independent, or whether it’
s owned by a large entity. When in doubt ,support your local craft
12. If you get a frosted mug or glass, politely ask your server if they
have any non-frosted glassware, maybe for the next round. Cold kills
13. Never assume that a dark beer is high in alcohol.
14. Remember that brewers make wort – yeast makes beer. Brewers
consider yeast to be something somewhere between a business
partner and a beloved pet . Respect yeast!
15. Push your chair or barstool in after you get up.
16. Always bring your ID. It's required by law you have it and asking
someone to break the law and risk losing their job because you forgot
your I.D. is ridiculous.
17. Be patient. Don't wave your money around or raise your hand
when you want a drink. It's rude. The bartender sees you. If you truly
feel it's well past your turn, it's better to simply tell the bartender in a
polite way that you have been waiting for a long time.
18. Know what you want. Bartenders don't have time to wait for you
to make up your mind. Have a backup drink order for when you aren't
sure. You can always get something else next time.
19. Trust your bartender. Before you order a beer you may dislike,
ask the bartender to recommend something to your taste or to give
you a small sample.
20. Never ask for a free drink. It's incredibly tacky
21. Tip appropriately. A minimum of a $1 per beer. If running a tab the
usual 15% to 20% is acceptable. Bartenders live off their tips; it’s not
fair for you to get a service and not pay for it.
22. Don’t drink and drive. Aside from the obvious reasons, bars don't
like patrons who are a liability. Your bartender will always know the
phone number of a cab company and will be happy to call it for you.