Guest Taps Present Internal Struggle
I am part of a running club at a local brewery. Because of my membership in this group and the fact that the brewery serves just as much as a community meeting center as it does a place to make beer, I have enjoyed many pints in the brewery’s tap room. But recently, I did something different—something I felt guilty about. I had a pint from one of the guest taps.
Despite my long patronage of the tap room, this was the first time that I had ordered a beer that was not made in the same building. I am the type of beer drinker who prefers to try something new every time the opportunity presents itself, but I drew the line on trying new brews if I had the chance to enjoy an old standard in its birthplace. So why did I get a pint from a guest tap? Other than seeing something new and shiny, which happens frequently, it beats me. All I knew was that I scoffed at people who asked for a beer that did not flow from the tanks on the other side of the glass, and now I was one of them.
As soon as the bartender pulled the foreign tap handle to fill my glass, I regretted my decision. Who was I to enter someone else’s house, a structure that stood for the purpose of crafting local goods around a local community, and enjoy a similar brand made elsewhere and by another person? I felt guilty for not paying homage to the brewers, cellarmen, barbacks, and visionaries who poured their hard work and passion into the twelve ounces that typically occupied my hand. I felt like I had visited a friend’s house for dinner, and instead of eating a meal that he slaved over for hours, I grabbed take-out from his refrigerator.
The brewery’s founder says that he offers guest taps from around the state because sometimes, people just “have a favorite or want to mix it up.” Though he is fine with offering other’s beer, this is like your mom saying, “You can have one of the brownies that I stayed up making late last night for you, or you can have one of the cookies that Mrs. Jones brings us every year.” Regardless of how delicious your desserts are Mrs. Jones, I’m choosing Mom’s.
My guest beer was as good as expected, but I could not shake the feeling of drinking someone else’s beer in lieu of what was brewed in the mash tun that stared back at me from across the room. Next time I visit the brewery, I will forgo the guilt trip, return to the beer made by the guy sitting beside me at the bar, and toast him for crafting the fruits of his labor in my community.