Although the Festivus season is behind us now, I thought I might take this opportunity to squeeze in one more airing of grievances.
It’s not a revelation by any means that South Florida isn’t exactly on the cutting-edge when it comes to craft beer culture. That’s half of the reason we even started this site. Beer-lovers have made some serious strides in the past few years, and fortunately it’s getting better and better as more and more bars and restaurants are seeing the value and demand for craft offerings.
And while I appreciate that so many new establishments are taking it upon themselves to provide the community with what we want, I can’t help but get slightly irritated when they haven’t properly done their homework. I’m speaking specifically about being served the right beer in the right glass.
I’ve thought about writing this article for a while. I kept oscillating between feeling like I was being self-righteous…to feeling like, you bet your ass I’m being self-righteous. In the end I decided that I needed to at least voice my opinion and open it up to you.
My first encounter with being served the wrong beer in the wrong glass was a couple of years ago at Sublime in Ft. Lauderdale. This was just before things really started to open up down here and Blake was stoked to find that they had Chimay Blue on the menu. That elation quickly turned to horror when the server brought the bottle to the table with a Pilsner glass. So Blake did what any self-respecting Chimay drinker would do, and asked the server to bring him a wine glass instead.
Now, Sublime doesn’t specialize in beer knowledge. So, I get it. I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. It’s not like we’ve had since, what, 1862 to learn the correct way to serve Chimay. It’s only been available down here for 10 years or so, right?
But let’s just assume for the sake of argument that everyone was born yesterday and nobody knows anything about Chimay. The good Trappist monks have dummy-proofed it by including serving instructions right on the bottle – IN DIAGRAM FORM.
Between that and the fact that Chimay-labeled goblets are readily available and often provided by distributors, let’s face it, there is never any good reason for anybody to ever be served a Chimay in the wrong glass…ever.
If this was the only time this ever happened, I wouldn’t bother griping about it. Well, at least not in written format. But it has happened several times.
The most recent (and most egregious in my opinion) was at a restaurant that I am fond of, that I’m very glad exists, and that I plan on patronizing regularly. It was The Office in Delray Beach.
We were very excited to go to The Office for the first time last weekend. The place is gorgeous. The menus tout their “craft beers and burgers”. They bill themselves as a gastropub. And there isn’t a Budweiser or Miller Lite anywhere on the premises. What’s not to love?
Getting a Shakespeare Stout in an effing two-story tall Pilsner glass, that’s what.
WTF, Office? What is with the hard-on for the Pilsner glass? Is it the illusion of grandeur?
I can’t tell you what a disappointment that was. Seriously, it was the last straw.
We’re at some sort of crossroads here in craft brew. We’re balancing on the line between fad and carving out a real permanent space for our nerdy, hoppy, yeasty little world to open up. And if the establishments that are looking to profit from the growth we have created, don’t respect the craft, who is going to help us take this thing to the next level?
You are being put on notice, hospitality industry. You can’t just meet us halfway anymore. If you want to lead this thing, then lead this thing. Don’t just take our money and pretend to know what you’re talking about.
And to you, my fellow beer-lover, I’d love to know what you think. Am I being too critical? Should I be happy to help educate proprietors and servers on proper beer serving? Should I be happy to drink my Double IPA from a coffee cup if that’s what’s handed to me? Or should I point out that they wouldn’t dare serve me a Pinot Noir in a Champagne glass?