Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Here's a Good Idea




Last night at the Baum in Rochdale, I was taking a few trial pictures before starting our presentation to them as CAMRA Pub of the Year. Hence this one of the bar. Note the little sample glasses in front of the pumps. For some time now the Baum has these dinky little glasses to show the customers what the beers on offer look like. I'm forever asking bar staff the colour of an unfamiliar beer (most have no idea of course.) Here's a simple and elegant solution, which provides great and cheap customer service and makes life easier all round.

I am not sure if I've seen it before, but isn't this a good idea?

Maybe that's why the Baum is such a good pub. 

31 comments:

beerfortheweekend said...

One of the pubs (the best quite frankly) on our darts circuit does similar.

Beyond giving the colour it also seems to promote conversation about the beer, which the landlord is more than happy to engage in, and gives the impression the pub cares about what it is serving.

More real ale pubs should do this.

sean liquorish said...

Old Ship Inn in Brighouse, West Yorkshire have been doing this for years, and it does avoid asking the colour question.

Tandleman said...

Thanks Guys. Let's hope more do so and I'm certainly gratified to know some already do.

Can't be many though.

Rabidbarfly said...

Very good idea! Might try it at Tap East.

wowninjas said...

I find the problem of colour can also be solved by the inclusion of the beer style at some point on the pump clip.

Tandleman said...

Not nearly as precise as actually seeing it though? Take porters which can be anything from light brown to jet black.

Steve Lamond said...

I've seen it in a few pubs before, in fact I think a few wetherspoon pubs do it during festivals

PS you need to get your subscribe to comments fucntion back!

Bailey said...

Great idea. Makes them look really appetising, too, as long as the samples are kept fairly fresh.

Cooking Lager said...

Whatever next, scratch and sniff pump clips?

Bailey said...

CL -- you joke, but we've seen pics of bars which put bowls of hops and malt on the counter. Hops smell so nice. More places should do it.

Simon Johnson said...

Sheffield Tap do this as well. Much better than trying to categorise 'colour' on a beer list.

Ghost Drinker said...

The Hunters down in Pool used to do it all the time until they changed hands. It's a same because it is a really good idea.

Matt said...

It would be a lot easier to chalk up the beers on a blackboard in appropriate colours, as the Magnet in Stockport among others does.

Tandleman said...

I can't see how it would either easier or better Matt. You'd need some clever chalking subtleties to copy the colours precisely.

Better an exact idea than a rough idea surely?

Mark Dredge said...

Never seen this in a pub before but it's a good idea! I wonder how many people pick them up and have a sniff?!

Tandleman said...

There always one that goes too far Mark. :-)

Saga Of Nails said...

The Bag of Nails used to do this a few years ago, before it closed and I took over. I don't do it.
If you are open all day, the beer will have gone off by the end of the day, and having beer hanging around in such a way encourages beerflys around the bar. I don't like it and think that it looks a bit shit.
It's a pretty lazy way of informing the customers what sort of beers you have on sale. Here's what we do; We talk to them, inquire what styles and strengths of ale they prefer, and tell them about what we have on offer. And offer them samples of the ones that they are likely to want. It's not that difficult to spot customers who are a little baffled about the range available.
But it is a good way of avoiding verbally engaging your customers before they choose to order, so I can see why JBW would like it.

Tandleman said...

Well. Firstly, you could change the beer from time to time. Secondly these little samplers are no more likely to attract beers flies than any other beer being drunk and anyway if you have beer flies in the bar then there is something far wrong. You will see from the photo that the Baum shines like a new pin. They offer samples too.

As for engaging customers, there is more than one way to do it. Nor have I ever seen this practice in any JDW which is, I suppose, what you mean.

Saga Of Nails said...

I'm not trying to criticise that pub, which (apart from having optics and not keeping their baby mixers in the fridge) indeed looks like a fine place to drink. I just think that the idea of deliberately having beer hanging around is a bad one.

Anyway, I just did a test, which was to fill a small shot glass, and then the bottom half of a pint glass with the same beer. The one in the shot glass looks significantly lighter than the other. This practice actually fools the customer a little. They end up getting a darker beer than the one they think they are.

Simon Johnson said...

@matt Surely if you chalk the beers up on a blackboard in appropriate colours, the stouts would be invisible ;-)

Birkonian said...

The Sportsman in Hudderfield does this also.
I'll be trying Baum in Rochdale a week on Tuesday when Tranmere play there. A large group of us were disappointed when we turned up there on New Year's Day to find it shut so better luck this time.

Erlangernick said...

I encountered this on my last couple of trips to England, both in the north and south, indeed at the Sportsman and Sheffield Tap. I think it's a great idea. Could also serve as a conversation-starter.

What -- picking them up and sniffing them would be frowned upon? No wonder there were awkward moments when I tasted a few.

Coxy said...

You could add one to five hops in front of the glass to see how hoppy it is, playing cards with the strength on them as its always to small on clip,various snacks to show what food goes best with it and above the clip and calendar to show you when it came on. Most importantly a picture of a southerner getting shot if its served without a sparkler, or you could just talk which pubs are good for.

Tandleman said...

Nick. Brilliant. You are doing irony. You are aren't you? Once you have confirmed this, I'll let the Snobs know.

Coxy. Got out of bed on the wrong side today?

Tandleman said...

Birkonian: Let me know how you get on.

dave u said...

the answer to the beer going stale is to do what the Ropewalk in Notts does - they put them in upturned minature jam jars. Though as Luke says there will always be the issue of the beer in the glass/jar looking paler than in a half or pint glass

as for the info on pumpclips - we put both EBC and IBU on ours, the trouble is 99% of people don't know what either mean!

Erlangernick said...

You Britons and your inability to sense irony! I think I've sniffed one or two here or there, but I'm not brash enough to *taste* one.

Curmudgeon said...

It all seems a bit unhygienic to me, and there must be a risk of them being knocked over and spilt. Plus by the end of the session the beer in them will be distinctly manky.

I would have thought the 1-5 colour scale on a blackboard made more sense.

It wouldn't work in the Magnet anyway, as half the pumps are in one room, and half in the other.

Tandleman said...

Mudgie - Why unhygienic? Why manky? Unless you drink it of course. Looking at these in the picture, they seem pretty fresh in a sparkling pub - that comes across in the photo does it not?

You'd clearly rather have someone's subjective judgement of colour than your own eyes. And they might get spilled? It's a pub. Beer gets spilt and mopped up. Nobody dies.

I dare say in some flea pits it wouldn't work, but to me - it's a pretty decent option.

Coxy said...

Not at all, only joking, It's my birthday today, had a lovely lunch at the Lytton in Knebworth including some fine pints of dark star pale ale, what a beer that is, and what a consistent brewer, maybe a small glass in front that said bloody marvellous would suffice.

Tandleman said...

Belated Happy Birthday Coxy.