Beer Tasters – Mea Culpa. Almost

A while ago I ranted about “Tasters” in pubs and at beer festivals…

Now, having worked a few beer festivals, my position has evolved somewhat – it also shines a big light on my own prejudices, which I will freely admit in the coming rambling.

So, while working behind numerous beer festival this year I’ve noticed I do something strange given my apparent principles..


Not just offer but recommend what someone should try, given a brief description of what the punter usually likes.

But one thing I am able to do while someone is have a taster, yep, I have the ability to serve someone else.

So maybe one of my prejudices is ill-thinking bar people who just stay avidly with one customer each time.

I read many rants by bar people about customers who don’t know what they want, or want the bar person “surprise them” and various other twatty behaviour that pissed me off when I, as a slightly less curmudgeonly teenager, used to see when I worked in a supermarket.

There are some idiots out there.

Worse, there are idiots who don’t know they are idiots. But they don’t need their idiocy compounding by bar staff who don’t have the fore-thought to serve someone else.

I think it’s the monopolising of bar staff time that was my initial peeve about it.

So now I admit, beer tasting in pubs and at beer festivals (and anywhere is else) is less of a bug bear for me, provided the staff serving are sensible too.

Yes, a caveat, but I’m not about to radically alter my previous position.

So what, if you care and/or wondered, is my inverse Road to Damascus moment, the prejudice I have brought to the fore and laid bare in front of me and I now admit to you?

Dandies, popularly known, currently, as Hipsters.

Now one of my main peeves with them is they’ve taken “my look”. Well, in so much as glasses and beard wearing.

Ironically of course, it is the clichéd image of real ale drinkers that these fools pour scorn on (and the feeling is obviously mutual, if the clichéd real ale drinkers would ever leave their dark corner of the pub long enough to look around at the ever-changing world).

Well, it’s a similar image without the tight jeans/jeans around the middle of the thighs showing off underwear that the younger versions now sport.

But working beer festivals you get all sorts – they are a bit less streamed than some pubs.

Best of all, from any person’s point of view who wishes for beer to remain popular and grow its audience, you get people who are mainly lager drinkers.

Granted most of these will usually be drinking the Ciders and Perries, but sometimes they do venture over to the real ale side of things.

I feel I am patronising these people, this is not the intention.

But these are the people who need the most “help” and need the tasters most. They are trying something new and should be commended for it.

The Dandy fuck-wits, on the other hand, are the idiots I mentioned above that don’t know they’re idiots.

I’ve read the complete works of Shakespeare, doesn’t mean I know all and everything or even anything about them, can act them, or could write anything similar.

It certainly doesn’t mean I’m cleverer than someone who hasn’t. I certainly wouldn’t debate them with some scholar or what-not.

If I wanted to hear some person’s views of the tastes and over-tones of beers, it would be the brewers and the sommeliers out there.

Not some unqualified cock-end who read one post on Melissa Cole’s or Brewdog’s blogs and thinks they know what is what.

What they really are is the less likeable, more frustrating version of Tim Lovejoy and the sods at Let There Be Beer.

While you’re busy telling the bar staff what you can taste, when you’ve finally decided which of the 5 beers you’ve tasted you actually want…when you turn around…this might just happen to you…

Well, that’s nice isn’t it – I thought this would be a more calm rant. Instead I make threats of violence, with underlying misogyny.* It would appear my hippy phase of enlightenment lasted now more than 700 words.

I’ll be back with an actual beer festival review (and finally some Australia stuff, at a later date) and in doing so will return to a more happy place.

*I have, nor will ever punch someone, even a Hipster beer taster, merely because they take too long. That scene is still one of the best punches in cinema history.


One thought on “Beer Tasters – Mea Culpa. Almost

  1. I think we’re on very similar ground here in respect to tasters (and hipsters nicking our look!)

    Having worked at Macclesfield beer festival for many years, a festival that attracts more non-beer types that most, I’m very much in the habit of giving tasters, leaving them to have a taste while I serve someone else.

    Giving tasters often saves people making a disastrous choice – often based on the name – and being put off from trying again. Often I can select something more suitable. The old “it’s an acquired taste, maybe you should have a try first” often brings a “thanks, I’ll have something else”.

    However I’m less patient when in a craft bar or pub where the bar staff devote swathes of time to one punter whilst I’m gasping and know exactly what I want.

    And as for those paying by card for a single drink…

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