There’s been a great deal of list-making in blogland of late, what with The Art of Drink’s “50 Signs You Are a Bad Bartender” and Jessie Jane’s supplemental 10 at Bar Stories, not to mention Jeffrey Morgenthaler’s borderline obsessive list-making and Waiter Rant’s three-part “50 Signs” series. So as the designated “Beer Guy” in the group, I thought I should chime in with…
The 10 Deadly Sins of Beer Bartending
1. Pouring Foam into a Reserve Glass for Later Use: Let me repeat my Mantra, “If warm, flat beer was what I wanted, then warm, flat beer is what I would have ordered!”
2. Pouring Multiple Pints by Holding the Glasses by Their Lips: I understand that you’re busy and may need to be working several orders at once, but I will be drinking from the lip of that glass and, quite frankly, I don’t know where your hands have been lately. And by the way, the same rule applies when you hand me my pint.
3. Serving Glass-Specific Bottled Beers with Straight Sided Pint Glasses: Many beers, particularly Belgian beers, require their specific glasses for proper pours and presentation. If you don’t have the exact glass available, please give me something similar or tell me before you pop the cap.
4. Frozen Pint Glasses: I know that everyone does it, but that doesn’t make it right. Mantra Number Two: “Cold kills flavor!”
5. Allowing Endless Streams of Foam to Flow Down the Drain: If a draft beer is foaming that much, it’s because there’s something wrong with the keg, coupler, gas, line or tap, and service of that particular brand should be stopped until it’s fixed. Besides, any beer you eventually serve after dumping all that foam is likely to be quite flat.
6. Serving “Substitute Beer” Without Telling the Customer: It is not up to you to decide that I’ll be happy with a pale ale after I’ve ordered an IPA. If you’re out of a particular beer, tell me and I’ll decide what I want instead.
7. Not Knowing Lager from Ale, Much Less Best Bitter from ESB from IPA: If you’re serving the stuff, you should understand it. Period.
8. Telling the Customer “That’s the Way it’s Supposed to Taste” When Receiving a Complaint About a Beer: Do you challenge customers who send back expensive wine because they say the bottle is corked? No. So why do you feel the need to tell me I’m wrong or ignorant when I want to return an off beer? (Exception made for customers who order lambics and rauchbiers without knowing what they’re getting into, but then again, you could and probably should have warned them.)
9. Keeping Green and Clear Bottles Beers Directly Underneath the Light Source in the Fridge: Time for another Mantra: “Light is the mortal enemy of beer!”
10. Serving Cask-Conditioned Ale Two Weeks After the Cask Has Been Tapped: I understand that it’s a relatively new and therefore not completely understood thing in these parts, but cask-conditioned ale goes off quickly. If there is no cask-breather on the line, expect a life span of 3 to 4 days; with a cask-breather, 7 to 8 days.