There has been an article circling in the beer community from Time Out Chicago where the author is wondering if the craft beer revolution has gone too fare. The author thinks it is to complicate to order a beer and that he gets interrogated every time he orders “a pint of ale”.
My interest in beer has always been about flavor and about the community. If I would want a “pint of ale” I could probably get it by looking at the chalkboard or looking at the tap handles. The word “ale” is usually there some place. But I wouldn’t order “a pint of ale” and I wouldn’t order “a plate of food” either. The family of ale has a wide range of flavors and for me beer is about flavor. The same as it is with food. There are restaurants with menus that include spices, vegetables and dishes that I never even heard of so some guidance from the waitress is welcome. If I wanted “a plate of food” I would go to MacDonald’s.
But I agree; beer should be simple, democratic and enjoyable. I decided to see if it actually is like the author says. I made an empirical experiment. I went to a couple of beer places and ordered a beer. I knew that just ordering “a beer” and even “a pint of ale” would probably not be specific enough. And I’m not sure that it is bad. I tried with “your most popular ale” or “your most sold ale” or “the ale of the house”. At to many beer bars I got the whole full-length beer style seminar and as a bonus an interrogation FBI would be proud of. That is not the way it should be. You should be able to order a good craft beer without having a PhD in beer flavors. But I’m not sure that it has much to do with the beer revolution. I think it’s more a question of the bar staff not being able to anticipate what the customer wants. That used to be one of the most important skills for anyone in the service trade.
Mr. Graff, don’t start drinking coffee. I tried to get a cup of coffee at a quality coffee shop a few days ago. I was totally exhausted before I even had the coffee in my hand. Here is how it went:
-I would like a cup coffee please.
-We have many different kind of coffee. We have lattes, cappuccino, mocha, and espresso. What kind of coffee flavors do you like?
-I would just like a regular cup of coffee.
-Light roast, medium roast, dark roast, the house roast, our special Brazilian roast, the organic roast or the fare trade Colombian roast?
-Dark roast, please.
-Would you like milk with your coffee?
-None fat, whole milk, half and half or soy-milk?
-Whole milk please.
-Would you like the milked steamed?
-No thank you.
Haven’t the coffee revolution gone too fare? You just can’t order a “cup of coffee” any more without getting interrogated.