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Bar Etiquette

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by Darwin553, Jan 17, 2013.

  1. If you walk into a bar and there is a new beer on tap (as in haven't tasted before on tap or otherwise), do you ask for a sample before considering to buy a regular serving of that new beer or do you straight up just order a regular serving of the new beer?

    Note this is without the server first asking whether you want a sample of that new beer and simply just giving you the standard 'what are you after/want?' routine.
     
  2. kmello69

    kmello69 Advocate (505) Texas Nov 27, 2011

    The places I go to are always happy to give samples, so I ask. I've had some awful samples that made me glad I hadnt ordered a whole pint!
     
    xxbillay and BCross like this.
  3. BeastLU

    BeastLU Advocate (520) Virginia Dec 20, 2012

    I just order it if interests me. A sample isnt enough to really judge a beer anyway.
     
  4. JoeBloe

    JoeBloe Savant (370) New York Nov 16, 2007

    I like to try/buy an 8/12/or 16oz. serving of a beer before passing judgement -
     
  5. if it's an envelope-pushing type beer i might ask for a sample, otherwise i'll just take the plunge.
     
    Errto, cornontherob and loafinaround like this.
  6. stealth

    stealth Advocate (545) Minnesota Dec 16, 2011

    I see it no different than from going to a deli and asking for a sample of whatever meat/cheese, etc you are lookin at. If I'm refused a sample I'll go elsewhere.
     
    Retail1LO likes this.
  7. ill order a pint of what i want and my barkeep will usually give me samples if i ask
     
  8. If refused a sample I usually just ask for water. That usually changes their attitude rather quickly. If I'm particularly irritable that day, however, I just get up and leave.
     
    hammondc and JuniperJesus like this.
  9. Chugs13

    Chugs13 Savant (430) New Jersey Dec 11, 2011

    Depends on the beer/brewery. If its like a sour or a smoked beer that could go either way, or a brewery Ive never heard of, Ill ask for a taste first. If its an approachable beer from a somewhat reputable brewery Ill just go for it.
     
    frazbri, Ernest_Hooper and Destral like this.
  10. Depends, if it is a style of beer I usually go with or heard its a great beer, I will order a pint. If I question anything about the beer, I will ask for sample. Many bartenders will not mind giving a sample or two.
     
  11. Samples can save the day from buying a pint a of something that really wasnt what you were looking for at that time !
     
    tastymug likes this.
  12. TheRealPour

    TheRealPour Savant (445) Illinois Jan 29, 2009

    If I hesitate between selections at all at my favorite haunts, the barkeep with almost always offer samples of each without asking. A good barkeep knows that a $6-8 investment is worth knowing what you're getting, IMHO.
     
  13. yemenmocha

    yemenmocha Poobah (1,005) Arizona Jun 18, 2002

    Only if it's a craft beer bar or brewery will I ask for a sample, and only if it's not terribly busy. Otherwise I'll just go with my best guess for what I'll like and drink a pint.
     
    jzeilinger, Dtrain4 and Biffster like this.
  14. If they're that much of a nazi to their taps and won't gladly give you a small sample, then I'm out the door.
     
    Dtrain4 likes this.
  15. teal

    teal Aficionado (195) Wisconsin May 3, 2012

    What I'll usually do is ask for a beer I know I like/want for sure and then ask if I could sample beer X at the same time. "Can I get a pint of the Bridge Out Stout on cask and a sample of the Bamberg Brew?" Something like that.

    I rarely to almost never only go to a bar for 1 beer. I know I'm gonna drink 2 at the least so I'm not really pushing my norm then either.

    I'm putting cash in their pocket for SURE and I think then they don't feel as bad about offering a sample instead of pushing their "try a flight of 5 sample tap beers for 6 dollars" special.

    I score the sample of the 1 beer I really wanted to try, I get a beer I know I'm gonna like and neither of us feels bad about the transaction.
     
    bozodogbreath and mkennedy119 like this.
  16. See I'm intrigued by this, if I was refused a sample, I would probably just order a smaller serving, say a half pint. It is a particularly attractive option in the UK as half pints are actually half the cost of normal pints, less so in Australia.

    BTW I will almost always take the plunge and try a regular serving of the new beer.
     
  17. kona650

    kona650 Savant (270) California Jun 12, 2011

    I bartend for living and I'm always willing to give samples for people never an issue, and all the bars I go to never has seem to be a problem!
     
    NYSPHophead and dachshunddude86 like this.
  18. avenuepub

    avenuepub Savant (295) Louisiana Apr 23, 2009

    We offer 4 ounce pours of everything we have on draft but not free samples. The free samples got completly out of control at our bar. It's seems to work...4 ounces is enough to really taste a beer and it's cheap onthe pocketbook if you aren't sure.
     
    VonZipper likes this.
  19. I never ask for a sample, but I'm often offered one and will take it if i'm on the fence about my decision.
     
  20. TheRealPour

    TheRealPour Savant (445) Illinois Jan 29, 2009

    Wholeheartedly agree. If you offer small pours I will more than likely 'ride the rail' and try many things I wouldn't try otherwise and return for a full serving of the one(s) I really enjoy.
     
    avenuepub likes this.
  21. FosterJM

    FosterJM Champion (825) California Nov 16, 2009

    I dont remember the last time I asked for a sample.

    Cheers!
     
    SammyJaxxxx likes this.
  22. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poobah (1,135) Wyoming Sep 14, 2002

    If the server knows that I haven't had a certain beer before..I guess they catch on from the way I say "I think I'll try.." they always ask me if I want a sample first. That pleases me.
     
    dachshunddude86 likes this.
  23. Ravenacht

    Ravenacht Advocate (510) Florida Aug 10, 2012

    Always sample, or at least a flight. If they dont offer those i am out.
     
  24. elNopalero

    elNopalero Advocate (665) Texas Oct 14, 2009

    Too many variables--it depends on the beer, the brewery, the bar, and my own mood. If there's too many unknowns I'll try to fill in some gaps--finding out the beer style, maybe some descriptions or the server's own opinion--and depending on where I'm at in my drinking I'll ask for a sample or order a pint even. Sometimes a "please" works wonders!
     
    Ernest_Hooper likes this.
  25. I usually order a pint. If it is a stlye that I am not all that familiar with or one that doesn't normally intrest me then I ask for a sample.
     
  26. FEUO

    FEUO Initiate (0) Ontario (Canada) Jul 24, 2012

    I love samples. Especially the BBBW and BB4D variety.
     
  27. JuniperJesus

    JuniperJesus Savant (430) Illinois Feb 26, 2011

    If my meth dealer can offer a taste, I'm sure my local tavern can match the offer.
     
    JulianB, Deltoro and keithmurray like this.
  28. Blanco

    Blanco Savant (490) Pennsylvania Oct 11, 2008

    If it's a style that I like and it sounds good I usually just order, but I'm not shy if it's something I'm unsure about but sounds interesting. If the bartender recommends a particular beer, I usually ask for a sample. As long as you are reasonable and aren't asking for 3-4 samples until you find the beer you like, it should be fine. I've never been denied a sample before, though I have seen bartenders tell people they don't do samples on some rarer beers ("Um, what's that CBS, is that any good?")
     
  29. Biffster

    Biffster Savant (365) Michigan Mar 29, 2004

    If it's a beer centric place, not busy, and it's an "out there" concept, I will. Often I will ask for a sample after I've finished my first pint of something. That way, I've shown the server I'm not an indecisive pain in the ass, I just want to try that weird one.

    If it's a new IPA or Porter though, meh, how bad can it be? I usually get a pint...
     
  30. Nectar

    Nectar Savant (310) New Jersey Jan 17, 2013

    I rarely ask, and if I do its not before at least buying a pint if something else.

    There is one bar here that has a great tap selection and doesnt blink an eye at giving a sample. Except last year when I heard someone ask for a sample of KBS. Man that was a good night, worth paying for the cab...
     
  31. djaeon

    djaeon Advocate (725) California Oct 2, 2006

    Sometimes I'll ask the server how it is. If they haven't had it, usually they'll offer a sample (if I'm at a beer focused restaurant/bar). Often even if they have had it. Usually though, I just order the pint and judge for myself.
     
  32. If it's a craft bar and it isn't busy, sure, nothing at all wrong with asking for a sample. But, I rarely dislike a beer, and you can't really get the full range on a sample, so I don't often bother. I also almost never ask for a sample on the first beer - I just feel it's polite to settle in first.
     
  33. i was at a Liquor Barn here in Louisville this past week and they had a sign up above the taps saying how it was a Kentucky law that they had to charge for samples. It was a $1 for 2oz pours. I go to bars all the time and have never heard of any such law. I have heard of places charging for samples or limiting samples to 2 per customer (or else some people will want to "sample" every tap at the bar) but 95% of the places I go to a sample or 2 is free and not a problem at all.
     
  34. I've never asked for a sample and I never will. I only frequent bars I like which means I'm already there because I support the bar. So, if I purchase a beer I don't necessarily like I'm still supporting the bar I like by giving them my business. No offense to anyone who asks for samples but I've been at brewpubs before where people have asked to sample every beer on tap then spend the next 10 minutes deciding what to drink. This to me is ultra snobby. Again, not trying to offend, just saying, buy a glass if you don't like it try something else. When you ask for samples and only order that beer you are stating loud and clear you are only at that establishment because of a particular beer not because you like the place itself. This is the wrong impression to give the local bars/brewpubs that you enjoy drinking at.
     
  35. MammaGoose

    MammaGoose Aficionado (210) Wyoming Jan 10, 2013

    I do the same as several have mentioned...I order a beer I already know I like (or a style I'm typically in favor of if I've never tried a beer from the brewery) and ask for a sample at the same time. I've never been refused a sample. More often than not, I get very generous samples. I enjoy talking with the bartenders about the beers, especially at breweries or craft beer bars. I like to see what they like, what's popular locally, etc. Often times, as we discuss the beers, I get sample after sample (although this certainly isn't my intention!). If a bartender has been generous with samples and shows an enthusiasm for sharing their various beers, I definitely tip well.

    I agree that you can't properly judge a beer after a sample. But, there have been some beers that I've sampled that I absolutely would not want to buy a pint of or that I wouldn't have otherwise bought a pint of but really liked after the sample. Also, I'm a kind of a little gal, and my tolerance isn't huge. Nor do I like getting sauced. So my limit is typically 2-4 beers, depending on the day. If I'm at a new brewery, and especially if I'm in a new town and want to visit more than one new breweries, I like to try a wide selection of their beers while not getting toasty fried. Sometimes I'll order a flight, but for the most part, I order a pint that I'm fairly certain I'll like and ask for a sample of one of the more adventurous brews. Order another pint that I'm fairly certain I'll like, and again ask for a more adventurous sample.
     
    Ernest_Hooper likes this.
  36. My favorite bar is usually shoving samples at me. They're all interested in beer and they know that I am interested in beer. We talk about beer, and they are always being like, 'try this if you really like that, and here try this one too'. Just yesterday I was given a free sample of pepper vodka, personally distilled by the owner of the bar. Wow was that a palate wrecker.

    Anyway, they recently tapped kegs of both Hopslam and BCBS, so there hasn't been any need for decision making, except which one of the two I will be having at that moment.
     
  37. In my experience, 99% of the time asking the question "what is x beer like?" will get you a brief description, followed by an offer to sample it. On the rare occasion when I am not offered a sample, I base my decision to order or not on the bartender's description.
     
  38. cmmcdonn

    cmmcdonn Savant (355) Virginia Jun 21, 2009

    If it's one of the styles that may or may not contain heavy banana or clove flavors I'll get a sample first. Not a fan.
     
  39. Blanco

    Blanco Savant (490) Pennsylvania Oct 11, 2008

    I agree it's bad form to sample everything, but I couldn't disagree more with the rest of your statement. Not saying your personal practices are wrong (no one has to order a sample if they don't want to), but I think you're painting with a broad brush. Asking for the occasional sample is a practice the good beer bars are happy to offer. Bad beer bars are the ones that make you feel you have to make the right impression.
     
    MammaGoose likes this.
  40. I always try to get a couple ounce sample of Utopias when I see a bar has it.
     
    KWMiles and EliotHedger like this.

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