Craft Beer Pet Peeves

For BeerNexus.com


Craft beer is wonderful! It’s great to be able to go out to a bar or taproom and taste
some delicious and tasty craft brews but there are a few things that bug me…
Any beer where it takes me longer to read the brewer’s ingredients and description
than it does to drink the beer. Yes I understand it’s all about what’s new and different
now, but hey this isn’t mama’s meatloaf for dinner or Sunday morning quiche, where
you look in the fridge to see what you’re going to throw in. So how long did the
brewer spend trying to figure out what all to throw in to get to whatever taste he/she
wanted; or maybe it was a vision or more likely a nightmare. Seriously, just make
good beer and stop trying to impress me with how many different flavor enhancing
ingredients you can add.

And even if it’s only a one or two additives or ingredients do I really want any of these
in my beer?? Let’s see lobster, no, I don’t care if it’s from ME, only in the shell or on a
roll; Oreo’s, no I dunk them in milk; testicles, look us older guys may be a little low on
our testosterone level but I’m not looking to increase it with testicles brewing in my
beer; ghost or any other hot peppers, no I’m into pleasurable beer drinking; ramen,
no isn’t that like a soup dish; and I’m sure there are way too many to list that I have
absolutely no interest coming anywhere near the brewing process.

Then there are the ones that try to taste like something else we know; say for
instance Orange Creamsicle or Lucky Charms or Pastrami on Rye. Okay so I had
those as a kid but it wasn’t a beer and I don’t want beer that tastes like ice cream or
cereal or a sandwich. Sure enough a brewery recently came out with two Carvel
flavors; Cookie Puss and Fudgie the Whale. I don’t know how they get their beers to
taste like that, but I absolutely positively without question do now want any artificial
flavorings in my beer to get to a specific taste. I want it brewed with natural ingredients
So I know it’s a challenge and just a one off and you’re looking to be recognized
since there are over 7,000 of you now, but I’m not all that interested.

And don’t be afraid to put READABLE/UNDERSTANDABLE packaging or freshness
dates on your beer; it’s actually better for you. If I have a beer and it’s not as good as
I expected and I see it may be a little past it’s prime, then I’m much more likely to try it
again as opposed to just thinking it’s not a good beer. Yes it means you need to work
with distributors who understand this and work at it keeping everybody’s beer fresh.

Oh and another thing; when I come into your taproom, try your beer, like it enough to
want to buy some and take out my growler, please don’t tell me you only fill YOUR
growlers. Seriously, it has to have your name on it for you to fill it! You can’t claim
cleanliness as if I bring yours back you’ll give it the sniff test and maybe rinse it, so
don’t try that excuse. And if it’s got your name on it, you’re still going to put a tag on it
that tells me which of your beers it is, usually with a date, so it’s not like we have no
clue what it is. You could also be creative and produce stickers that you slap on the
side with your name and a space for you to fill out the beer and date. You just want
to sell more of the actual glass containers and that doesn’t make my wallet or my
pantry at home happy as I rather not spend my money on items I already have
enough of, so cut the nonsense.

Enough about the brewers, let’s talk about craft beer bars..whoa baby is there a lot
to talk about:

So you want to be part of the club and offer craft beers and do a nice job decorating,
have a decent number of taps and a good lineup. So here I am ready to check you
out and what do you hand me; a menu with a list of your drafts with the beer name,
brewery, ABV and calories. Wow that’s just wonderful, so do I pick up a wee gee
board at the door to figure out how many ounces you’ll be pouring and how much you’
re charging for each one? And if I ask, the server needs to go over to the register
and look each one up and if you have twenty four taps and I’m interested in a few
different beers I have to inquire and I need to write them down somewhere…aren’t we
wasting a lot of my time where I’d rather spend it drinking the beer. So okay maybe
you didn’t have time to get a full bore menu ready before your grand opening but if
you continue this for a few weeks then I’m really not interested in your excuse and
you really don’t want my business. When was the last time you walked into a
restaurant and their menu listed all their entrees without prices? And would you go
back???

When the first really big craft bars started opening up with 75 or 80 or 90 or 100 draft
lines I thought they would be heavenly; here’s a place where there will always be
something new to taste or something that I know I already enjoy. But that
presupposes a couple of things; one you have enough business to support all those
draft lines and two, you understand that some will not sell as fast as others and you
may need to help them move by offering discounts or special flights OR you just
leave them on forever and they begin to taste like, well old, not so fresh beer. So
what I’m saying is you have a responsibility to make sure your beers are turning over
so they’re fresh. And yes we all understand the stouts and barrel aged beers don’t
need to move as fast as the NEIPAs, but they also don’t taste fresh forever. I did
have an experience in an unnamed almost one hundred tap bar where I was
disappointed with a beer. The brewer actually read and responded to my Untappd
post and said the beer was well past its prime. If they said that to me about a beer I
had at the Cloverleaf I would think they’re just covering for themselves since I know
they turn over their inventory, but that wasn’t the case here.

And whether you have 24 or 94 lines there is no excuse for not cleaning your lines.
It’s just miserable when you’re ready to take your first sip and the taste is off, it just
ruins the beer. And by the way I’m paying good money for those drafts today, this
ain’t no $2 tall boy of Nattie Light, so I expect to get a fresh beer poured through a
clean line. And if you were foolish enough to put on the Not Your Father’s Root beer
and then put another beer on before cleaning the line fifty times I don’t want that
lingering taste on each subsequent beer; put the Coors Light on that line.

And for the liquor/beverage stores and distributors I have a few choice words:
ROTATE YOUR STOCK and make sure you’re not selling me really old beer. When I
walk into a store and bottles/cans are dusty I sense there is a problem. Yes its work
and you hope the distributor really cares about the product on your shelves and will
encourage you to put something on sale before it gets old or they really need to take
it back, but it’s part of your responsibility to me, the consumer.

And to the craft beer drinkers/lovers:-
Stop complaining there are too many IPAs! Guess what, if the market was over
saturated and sales were not increasing brewers would turn to other styles; but
they’re not. And think about it, there are over one hundred different hops available
now and they each have their own flavor profile so there are numerous ways to
combine and brew with them to affect the taste which is another reason there are so
many. That’s just not possible with some other styles like pilsner, kolsch or lager. If
you don’t like IPAs it’s not like there’s no other styles available for you; there’s been
an explosion of brewers trying numerous styles even besides the basic lager, ales,
porters and stouts, like saison, gose, brown ales, red ales, porters, barrel aged,
wheat, Scottish-style, bock and of course the specialty like the always lovable
pumpkin beer.

I have a few friends who write down every beer they taste, then they go home and
enter into a spreadsheet. Now to their credit they have been doing this for years so
have an extensive list of the craft beers they’ve tasted, and yes they started to
record their beers before the advent of Untappd and RateBeer and Beer Advocate.
But there is something to be said for keeping up the times. In fact isn’t that what
they’re doing with craft beer by tasting new craft beers as they come out. And yes it
may be true that they can enter more information and do quick sorts or searches on
their spreadsheet, but come on guys let’s keep up with the times. Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh
I forgot they don’t have smart phones; they still have flip phones that don’t connect to
the Internet…never mind.

And another thing, doesn’t it really frost your cookies when you drive out of the car
wash and the plastic between your mirror and the car is still dirty! Didn’t I just spend
$12 for you to clean the whole car? Wait what does that have to do with craft beer
you say? Oh, okay well maybe I just lost my train of thought there and just decided to
keep listing some of my other pet peeves. So guess I’m done,

I feel better now…time for a nice refreshing craft beer…




Glenn DeLuca writes about beer and culture of drinking. He may
be reached by writing thebigG@beernexus.com.

***   ***   ***
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