"whats on tap" news and stories
Photo: House of Sims/Flickr
A weekly look at the draft selection in beer-friendly bars across the country.
Imagine walking into a bar with 39 beers on tap, four more on cask. Limiting things down to your favorite style doesn't help: There are 10 IPAs available on draft alone.
As more and more establishments become beer-friendly and focus on offering up as many taps as possible, this scenario is not uncommon. It plays out at beer bars all across the country. In fact, the initial example is precisely what happened to this writer last night.
Luckily, this particular bar has drinkers best interests in mind. New York City's Rattle N Hum is one of many establishments that have taken to offering beer flights, small (yet reasonable) pours of a number of the different brews available. Rattle N Hum ups the ante by make their flights affordable. Patrons can procure 4 ozs. of any four drafts for the same price as a pint.
And why not? 16 ounces of beer is 16 ounces of beer. Flights might take a little more pouring and glassware to accommodate, but the bartender is still moving product at the same cost per ounce. And is it any more work than serving up an infinite number of free tasters many drinkers demand before investing in a full glass? Drinkers appreciate the effort, and those four ounce pours can go down pretty fast, causing big beer drinkers to go for more. Plus trying his new favorite brew might just be the reason a person buys that next drink.
Photo: pheaber, Flickr
Smack dab in the middle of the country, nestled up against the Iowa border is the United States' 40th largest city, Omaha, Neb.
Back in the 19th century, Nebraska was home to a number of thriving breweries. But by the 20th century, Omaha's beer culture had stagnated. So in 1996, when Bill Baburek opened the Crescent Moon Ale House, he was a trendsetter.
"At the time, we were probably a little ahead of the curve," said Baburek, before adding, "for this town, not necessarily for the country. But for Omaha, to open up a beer bar without any mainstream domestic on draft was pretty much unheard of."
| Image: jclyde.com
This week's column could be more accurately called "What's on Cask." Why? Well, there are three types of beer drinkers in the world: people who love cask ale, people who hate cask ale, and people who have never tried cask ale. In America, the third group is by far the largest. One reason is that cask-conditioned beer can be nearly impossible to find here in the States.
In England, any good pub has at least a couple beer engines serving ales the way nature intended: unfiltered, with natural carbonation, and at cellar temperature (instead of being cooled by refrigeration). Though many Yanks' distaste for the cask comes from the stereotype that Brits enjoy warm beer, these cask brews actually allow for an entirely different drinking experience, bringing out nuanced flavors that are otherwise concealed at lower temperatures and with additional gas.
| Photo: Buffalo Wild Wings
Craft beer at corporate chains? It may seem a bit like an oxymoron, but a lot of restaurants could learn a lesson from national eatery Buffalo Wild Wings.
Franchises in the Buffalo Wild Wings family are able to stock whichever beers they like, so when Sam Hookway took over as bar manager at the Indianapolis location back in February, he had one thing in mind: "to have the best draft beer selection in the city."
Since the restaurant is part of a large, nationwide chain, Coors, Miller and Bud Light will probably always top the Buffalo sales list, but Hookway saw opportunities in other areas: "I got rid of beers like Peroni and Molson, which aren't that different from the other light lagers we sell."
The plan has worked: About half the beer they sell is craft, enticing patrons who might otherwise not frequent such an establishment. And how about beer lovers who scoff at the notion of sipping indie suds on a corporate-controlled stool? "That's a battle I've been trying to fight," Hookway says.
| Photo: Bobbique |
In New York City, August struck for real last Saturday. With the last bastion of summer upon us and only a few more weeks of heat before the weather starts to cool off, all the remaining weekends are "getaway day" musts!
For America's largest city, getting away often means heading to the shores of Long Island. In the waterfront village of Patchogue, patrons at Bobbique can grab great barbecue and great beer all in one spot ... and hear live blues music on the side. Brews, blues and barbecues: If those things don't say summer, what does?
Still, according to manager Jessica Higgins, "Business booms all year round. We have such a diverse selection of beers; we attract a lot of locals." And local patrons like local beers. "We try to stock at least one Blue Point on draft, which is extremely local," Higgins says, referring to the Long Island brewery located less than a mile from their door. "We keep some Brooklyns on too, but we also like to showcase a lot of beers you can't get anywhere else."
The draft list, after the jump.
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