If you’re not completely familiar with craft beers, it can be overwhelming when you approach a fully-stocked, beer-heavy bar. Before you dive into a sea of beers you’ve never heard of, follow this guide to become acquainted with craft beer.
Look In The Right Places
Find a bar that’s truly devoted to craft beer. This is where a little research may come in handy. They don’t have to have the best Imperial IPA in the world, but most bars or restaurants that take their beer seriously will have a really good pale ale, IPA, or pilsner.
First things first, the key to finding the right beer is being knowledgeable of beer in general. There are so many different kinds. Lagers and ales are the two families of beer, and within the lager styles of beer are the pilsners—one of the most popular. In both families, beer can range from being light to dark, and weak to strong. Do a little more research and try a bit of everything if you’re really serious about finding some great beer.
Even if you don’t recognize any of the beers on the list, don’t get discouraged. It may take trying several different brands of beer before you find something you really like. Don’t fall into the trap of ordering the same thing every time just because you’re afraid to try something new. Most bartenders get excited about helping you find something you’ll like, so don’t leave the bar without trying a craft beer you’ve never tried before.
But Not Too Open-Minded
If you have somewhat of an idea about what you like, asking the bartender for something similar will get you one step closer to finding a great beer. For example, tell the bartender what type of drinks you gravitate toward and what you like about them. They’re bound to point you in the right direction and find you something similar.
Ask For a Taste
Most people aren’t aware of this, but it’s totally fine to ask for a little sample from the tap before ordering. Just be mindful of the bartender if it’s busy.
Leave Your Inner Beer Snob at Home
Whether you actually know a lot about beer or know nothing at all, acting too knowledgeable can be a big pain in the butt for the bartender. Anything that you’ve tried, the bartender has likely tried too. Remember, they’re the experts.
Ask About Tap Cleaning
No one should be forced to drink out of a dirty tap. But believe it or not, some bartenders aren’t as OCD about keeping their bar clean as others. Don’t be afraid to inquire about tap cleaning frequency. Also, watch out for taps with Coors or Bud Light. These brands are often used more frequently; therefore, it’s likely your potential IPA’s tap hasn’t been cleaned in a while. Reason being, most people are drawn away from beers they don’t recognize.
Make sure you set up your ride beforehand, and don’t forget to tip!