How hard is it, really, to serve a good glass of beer? Well, apparently harder than I thought. It should be noted that I work behind the bar – I pour a lot of beer. Beyond that, I’ve been fortunate enough to sit in some top-notch beer pouring seminars. I believe I’ve learned a thing or two along the way. Perhaps that’s what irks me when I receive a piss-poor glass of beer.
To begin, it’s not just about ‘pouring’ a beer. If you’re working behind the bar I think it only appropriate to expect a minimal amount of friendly (at least, non-threatening) eye contact. I’m not asking for a hand job or a free pint, but to be treated humanely is always a step in the right direction. Once a request has been made, take a moment to visually inspect the glass you’re about to fill. Here, I expect you to look for one thing, and one thing only: lipstick. Look, I can live with a fingerprint smudge (or 20) on the outside of my glass – I’m not looking for a pristine glass. However, a little lipstick immediately makes my drinking experience less appealing (no, it’s not like making out with the last person that drank out of the glass). Honestly, it takes a fraction of a second to eyeball the glass before putting it under the tap.
From here, don’t be timid. Open that tap all the way up and pour the beer into a glass held at about a 45 degree angle – when liquid hits the rim of the glass (when the glass is 2/3 full or so), straighten it out and allow a nice little head to form. If your customers bitch about a little foam on the top of their beer, feel free to tell them how that frothy crown keeps CO2 in the beer longer, while also keeping oxygen away from the liquid. Unless they’re chugging (and do you really want to be serving a chugger?) they should appreciate a beer that stays fresh and carbonated longer. Oh, please, don’t ever put fruit in my beer without me specifically asking you to. Thanks!
Finally, it’s nice if the glass you pour doesn’t smell like your sanitizing solution. I know not every bar can be set up with a slick rinser (like we use), but that doesn’t mean you can’t easily rinse a glass before you fill it. How? Use a bucket. Ideally it’d look attractive (shiny metal looks cool) and will be filled about 2/3 with ice water. Simply dunk the glass in the water (this will chill the glass, which customers like, and remove any off-putting soapy aromas that are inherent in American bars after a run through the wash).
A word to the consumers out there, too. You ought to care how your beer is served. If you’re paying $5 (or more) for a pint of beer, it’s alright to expect good service and attention to detail – you could drink at home for less money, after all. That, in itself, doesn’t make you a douchebag. That doesn’t mean you need to find other ways to play your DB card, however**. Expect good beer. Drink good beer. Repeat.
**You can show your DB card in a few easy ways: raising your hand wildly to get the attention of an already-too-busy bartender who already knows he/she needs to get to you; hitting on your server – or staring at her tits/ass; telling the barkeep you’d ‘tip more if you charged less’; setting up your office in the bar – laptop, phone, jacket strewn over three seats at lunch time; bitching about a little head on top of your beer (or, “bitching about a proper pour” as I’d call it); puking; passing out; driving drunk… don’t be a douche.