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Know your likes and dislikes…

Well, Janet pretty much summed up the night in a nutshell. Yuppies asking for Bass Ale (did you see Bass on the list?) were paired up with yuppies asking for a Sierra Nevada. As you know, I get extremely vocal when someone orders a “Sierra Nevada” from the bartender. You see, at a typical bar, they only serve one Sierra Nevada beer: their Pale Ale, which is the most famous beer made by Sierra Nevada… just like most bars only have one Anchor beer: their steam beer. However, Sierra Nevada makes around 8 different beers and Anchor regularly produces 5 beers. The Toronado always has at least 2 types of Anchor and 2 or 3 different varieties of Sierra Nevada on tap… and for the last few months, they have not had the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.

However, every time I am at the Toronado, someone invariably orders a Sierra Nevada, to which the bartender responds “which one? we have two…” This usually gets the following response: Which one is the popular one, to which the bartender replies “The Pale Ale, which we don’t have.” Then the customer then usually asks “I don’t know any of these other beers… what beer do you like?

Talk about an asinine question. I mean, come on. Ask Janet what her favorite beer is, and she would probably say Guinness. Ask me, and I would say Speakeasy Untouchable Lager. Ian, the Bartender would say Anchor Liberty Ale. Crab, the barfly would say Boont Amber. Asking what someone likes has no bearing on if you will like the beer. The question back usually is “What kind of beer do you normally drink” which then gives the bartender enough information to pick a beer that is to their tastes.

If you ask the average twenty-something what sort of wines they like, they can usually rattle off four or five varietals that they prefer, and they usually can pick a favorite winery out of a list at a restaurant. Please tell me why it is so hard for these people to make a decision at a beer bar. If you decide to make a trek out to a beer bar, why don’t you read up on the different beer varieties out there (just like you would before your first trip to the Wine Country)?

Only an ignorant asshole would ever walk into a restaurant and order a Gallo, Ravenswood or a Fetzer, but for some reason, they find it completely acceptable to walk into a bar and request a Sierra Nevada, Anchor or Anderson Valley.

I know I can be ruthless to newcomers at the Toronado, but just once I would like to see a yuppie come in and ask a bartender “I usually drink light lagers at home, but I enjoy beers like Pilsner Urquell and I also enjoy an occasional Sierra Nevada Pale Ale… what would you recommend?” That shows that he (or she) knows what he (or she) likes, and gives the bartender enough information to work off of. Would you walk into a wine bar and ask the sommelier “I like Beaulieu Vineyards and Turning Leaf, what do you recommend?” Of course not. You named brands, not wines. Both make chardonnays, cabernets and a whole selection of similar wines. The same goes if you ask “I like Anderson Valley and Sierra Nevada, what for you recommend?” Ask me that, and you could end up with a porter, pale ale, or a barleywine (which both breweries make).

But enough of me complaining. What was initially scheduled to be two or three beers became four beers due to the unexpected arrival of Birthday Boy Paul and his sister, Jocelyn. They arrived as we were finishing our last beers (I had a Magnolia Prescription Pale, an Anderson Valley Hop Ottin IPA and a Duvel while Janet had a pair of Guinnesses), which meant that Janet and I needed another beer so we didn’t run out before Paul finished his De Koninck. We decided to get a bottle of Kasteel Brown, and we split it with Ian, the bartender.

What was supposed to be a two hour trip to the bar ended at 1:45 am… it was (all in all) an enjoyable night, but relatively boring. Well, not boring… just sort of bleh. I really hope that something interesting happens there some time soon.

Posted in The Barfly Chronicles.

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