If like me you prefer your advice to be solicited, you may be slightly put out by bar staff offering guidance. Things such as "I like that one" when you are surveying the range of beers are, to me at least, a little bit unwelcome. While I may well turn to a trusted palate, generally what someone else likes, without knowing their predilections, is likely to be just as hit and miss as guessing and turning down their advice politely makes you seem churlish. Of course helpful advice such as "it is pale and hoppy, dark and stouty" etc. is more useful, but these can be written on a board and that, frankly is better, though hardly foolproof.
A couple of things occurred on Saturday which I'll share with you. In one pub after enjoying two sparkled pints of the same beer, I was so impressed with it and since neither me nor my companion were intent on moving on, why not order another? I looked around me, taking in the scene, as my pints were poured, not by the charming young lass who'd patiently offered us tasters, but by a bebearded hipster type. I looked at my pint. No head. I looked at the handpump. The sparkler had been removed. "What's going on. Where's the sparkler gone?" I asked. "I took it off" quoth he, "the brewer doesn't like sparklers."
Now that may or may not be the case and anyway, a brewer's preference is just like mine. A preference. He isn't Moses. It isn't written in tablets of stone. Bad form to change a customer's beer in that way mid stream and anyway, Manchester is the North and beer here is sparkled as a default. Later in a different pub, the reverse happened. Well sort of. There was no sparkler on my Buxton beer and when I asked for one, the barmaid tossed her head and advised me that "it doesn't need one." Hmm.
It goes back to the old adage that the customer is always right (even when he is wrong) and anyway, there is a simple way round presumption. Just ask.
Can I also slip in a big recommendation for Young's Winter Warmer? I only had a half, but it was delicious.
A bit of a CV. Tandleman is a veteran beer lover, local CAMRA Chairman and activist, beer writer, beer reviewer and pursuer of all things good in beer. He lives in the North West of England and London. Despite his CAMRA membership, he does not limit himself to cask conditioned beer, though he believes that cask conditioning, when done correctly and appropriately, brings a quality to beer that is hard to equal by any other kind of presentation. He is a strong supporter of Northern methods of beer dispense and avidly detests poorly presented beer and dislikes pasteurisation. He regularly visits Germany, has conducted corporate British and German beer tastings for CAMRA at the Great British Beer Festival where he has worked for years on Biere Sans Frontieres and was Deputy Organiser at CAMRA's very successful National Winter Ales Festival in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 and at the Manchester Beer and Cider Festival from 2013 to date. He admires good brewers wherever they are and has travelled extensively in pursuit of good beer to drink. He also judges beer at both the International Beer Challenge and the World Beer Awards.
This blog mentions specifics; pubs and beer, good and bad. The opinions will be forthright, but you can always disagree, just don't be offended. Comments from those mentioned are particularly welcome and a right of reply is hereby offered.
Read my information and links and then decide for yourself. You don't have to be Sherlock Holmes.
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Beer samples are welcome, but I cannot guarantee a good review. You, the brewer, on the other hand can.
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