Bad Things Sometimes Happen
That America has become the best place in the world to drink beer comes with pitfalls. While a publican in England may have six beer lines to watch over, American bar owners take care of 20, 40, even hundreds. While a bier hall manager in Germany may serve beer from only a few miles away, many American bars offer beer from around the world.
Not long ago, we were in a restaurant/pub that we visit about once a year. We know the food and beer are good, and both ordered Kwak, the strong Belgian beer we first had on draft eight years before at Copa Too! in Philadelphia. Surprisingly, this time it was served by the pint.
Daria took a sip from her glass. “Whoa, is this off,” she said.
Stan took a sip from his. “I think this is what it is supposed to taste like,” he said.
The conversation turned away from beer. Daria took another sip. “This is not the beer I remember,” she said.
“Tastes like the beer I had from a bottle in Santa Fe last fall,” Stan said.
“Try this,” Daria said, handing over her glass. All it took was one whiff.
Stan took both glasses up to the bar. “Smell these,” he told the bartender. To her credit, she didn’t hesitate to replace the flawed pint. “Sorry about that, must have been a dirty glass or something,” she said.
In fact, it was surely “or something.” The beer was oxidized and tasted winey. Chances are that it sat in a line that hadn’t been cleaned for too long, which was surprising since we visited at the end of what appeared to be a busy weekend.
Why don’t we tell you the name of this place? After all, we’ve been in bars where the bartender checks each of the lines at the beginning of the shift. Obviously, that didn’t happen here. However, our food was good, the beer menu is outstanding, the décor is delightful, and we’ve always had excellent beer before.
The fact is, we can aim you at bars and brewpubs that serve outstanding beer, but it is up to you to make sure you get it. Don’t be afraid to ask what beers have been tapped most recently. And if you have a beer that doesn’t seem right, take it to the bartender and ask for another one.