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Bar Etiquette

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

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  1. Darwin553

    Darwin553 Jan 5, 2009 Australia

    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 Nov 27, 2011 Texas
    Beer Trader

    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 Dec 20, 2012 Virginia

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

    JoeBloe Nov 16, 2007 New York

    I like to try/buy an 8/12/or 16oz. serving of a beer before passing judgement -
  5. BostonHops

    BostonHops Sep 21, 2011 Massachusetts

    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 Dec 16, 2011 Minnesota
    Beer Trader

    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. gatornation

    gatornation Apr 18, 2007 Minnesota
    Beer Trader

    ill order a pint of what i want and my barkeep will usually give me samples if i ask
  8. Retail1LO

    Retail1LO May 4, 2011 Pennsylvania

    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 Dec 11, 2011 New Jersey
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    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. Localdrinklax

    Localdrinklax Jul 23, 2010 Wisconsin
    Beer Trader

    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. WassailWilly

    WassailWilly Sep 8, 2007 New York

    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 Jan 29, 2009 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    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 Jun 18, 2002 Arizona

    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. Earlycsquid

    Earlycsquid Jan 7, 2013 California
    Beer Trader

    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 May 3, 2012 Wisconsin

    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. Darwin553

    Darwin553 Jan 5, 2009 Australia

    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 Jun 12, 2011 California

    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 Apr 23, 2009 Louisiana

    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. tjensen3618

    tjensen3618 Mar 23, 2008 California

    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 Jan 29, 2009 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    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 Nov 16, 2009 California
    Beer Trader

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

    SammyJaxxxx likes this.
  22. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
    Beer Trader

    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 Aug 10, 2012 Florida
    Beer Trader

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

    elNopalero Oct 14, 2009 Texas
    Beer Trader

    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. MADhombrewer

    MADhombrewer Jun 4, 2008 Oregon

    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 Jul 24, 2012 Ontario (Canada)

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

    JuniperJesus Feb 26, 2011 Illinois

    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 Oct 11, 2008 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    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 Mar 29, 2004 Michigan

    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 Jan 17, 2013 New Jersey

    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 Oct 2, 2006 California

    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. cbeer88

    cbeer88 Sep 5, 2007 Massachusetts

    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. weeble8604

    weeble8604 Jan 8, 2013 Kentucky

    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. PlethoraOfPalette

    PlethoraOfPalette Jan 18, 2013

    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 Jan 10, 2013 Wyoming

    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. Ernest_Hooper

    Ernest_Hooper Apr 23, 2012 Michigan

    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. FunkyMacGroovin

    FunkyMacGroovin Sep 22, 2009 California

    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 Jun 21, 2009 Virginia

    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 Oct 11, 2008 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    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. BrewStew58

    BrewStew58 Mar 29, 2011 New York

    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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