No More Taproom Samples

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by JuliusPepperwood, Sep 4, 2022.

  1. John_M

    John_M Poo-Bah (7,314) Oct 25, 2003 Oregon
    Moderator Society Trader

    I think it's important to remember that for a lot of people, this is all new. They probably expect the brewery to provide the sort of experience you're describing and likely wouldn't understand why their behavior is problematic. The scenario you describe is something I see all the time at wineries. People expect to be able to ask questions about the wine they're trying, and to be able to discuss what there is about the wine that they like or don't like. That can take a considerable amount of time, and is particularly annoying at a wine tasting festival (where there can be long lines to sample a particular wine). It's annoying and rude (IMHO), but fortunately it's fairly uncommon.

    I still don't have a problem with breweries providing complimentary sample pours in such a situation (despite the inconvenience).
     
  2. thewrongtone

    thewrongtone Initiate (122) Oct 15, 2006 Arkansas

    Unfortunately against the law in Arkansas to buy anything less than 500ml as a single.
     
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  3. rousee

    rousee Meyvn (1,071) Aug 13, 2004 Massachusetts
    Trader

    Really surprised by the animosity over samples. Live and let live people. Its not that big of a deal.
     
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  4. Providence

    Providence Champion (821) Feb 24, 2010 Rhode Island
    Trader

    I guess that's kind of what I'm getting at. If you're not well versed in beer, just start drinking it. No need for all the samples. If you had told me IPAs are bitter when I first got into craft I might not have tried them because I thought of myself as "not liking bitter beer." People, myself included, are so ignorant as to what beer is and can taste like early on. And yet, they often don't think they are ignorant, they often have certain things they like and dislike. I think it's far more instructive experience to just try stuff that sounds appealing simply by reading the description and maybe asking a question or two of the bar tender.

    And while I am anti-giving samples at bars/breweries, I am all for beer festivals. I don't go to the them any more, but early on, they were by far the best place to learn about likes and dislikes.
     
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  5. bubseymour

    bubseymour Poo-Bah (3,531) Oct 30, 2010 Maryland
    Society Trader

    This is me as well. More often than not I’m pitstopping on my travels to get beers to go. Usually my wife just waits in the car so I need to be quick. A quick sampler really helps me make a good choice on not wasting $16-$24 on a 4 pack of a $12 crowler I don’t care for.
     
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  6. Providence

    Providence Champion (821) Feb 24, 2010 Rhode Island
    Trader

    Despite my aforementioned dislike of breweries/bars offering free samples, I am strongly in favor of them offering flights. Not sure what you will and will not like? Order a flight. Problem solved.
     
  7. John_M

    John_M Poo-Bah (7,314) Oct 25, 2003 Oregon
    Moderator Society Trader

    Not every place offers flights. Otherwise, I'm completely with you.

    It's only the places that don't do flights or don't sell sample glasses where I'll sometimes request a small taste. And as mentioned above, a lot of times if I express an interest in a particular beer (asking the bartender about the brewery and the beer), the bartender will just pour me a small taste without my even asking.
     
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  8. LoganFarinhas

    LoganFarinhas Initiate (124) Jun 26, 2020 Pennsylvania


    Yeah man, I totally agree here. I mean someone choosing this taproom/ bar/ brewpub implies they would like their product because they went there and not somewhere else. If the beer is dirt cheap maybe I can see the point of hey it's not too much of a loss. Honestly, though I can barely relate to this post as is: the 60-100 tap brewpubs to the 15-20 people in line while someone at the front is trying samples to the $5 beers.

    Essentially OP is saying people should know what they want by looking at the menu and quite frankly that isn't even the point of going to the brewpub: it is an experience. It is about experiencing the different beers. I tip my waiters/ waitresses/ barbacks nicely if I am asking for a sample (which I hardly ever do) that's ok the profit they make off of the $8 beer I ordered (never ordered a craft beer for $5) and the tip I am giving to the bartender I feel justified in trying a bit of their product so that I can buy 2 or 3 pints and some canned beer or crowler for home.

    Also, I don't assume everyone who walks up to a bar has the same depth of knowledge about beer styles and beer in general as I do. A few days ago I was talking to a co-worker and they didn't even know that breweries brew their own beer, and he has frequented breweries and taprooms. This guy is just getting into beer and never knew that they make their own beers at the place that he was drinking them; let alone look at the menu read styles and discern the flavors and aromatics of a beer he would enjoy.
     
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  9. rousee

    rousee Meyvn (1,071) Aug 13, 2004 Massachusetts
    Trader

    U guys must all be either a bunch of cheapskates or lack experience in bars or be the people that lie about the size of their tips (among other things) --this is an entertaining thread but a sad one and Ive been on BA in a long time and I know a ton of you are lying in order to make yourselves sound so righteous--get over yourselves !!
     
  10. John_M

    John_M Poo-Bah (7,314) Oct 25, 2003 Oregon
    Moderator Society Trader

    Thanks for your helpful post. I have no idea what sort of point you're trying to make, but... Been maybe tipping a few too many this evening? Always a bad idea to come on BA and post some sort of completely off the wall comment after a full evening drinking.
     
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  11. unlikelyspiderperson

    unlikelyspiderperson Poo-Bah (2,150) Mar 12, 2013 California
    Society Trader

    Isn't that one of the terms of use? I never read those things, but I just assumed...
     
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  12. John_M

    John_M Poo-Bah (7,314) Oct 25, 2003 Oregon
    Moderator Society Trader

    Now that you mention it.... :sunglasses:
     
  13. unlikelyspiderperson

    unlikelyspiderperson Poo-Bah (2,150) Mar 12, 2013 California
    Society Trader

    For real though, that particular post definitely reads like the drunk at the bar who's trying to pick a fight but no one else is even sure who he's trying to insult. Is he pro samples? Anti samples? Just mad that no one tips anymore?
     
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  14. JerzDevl2000

    JerzDevl2000 Poo-Bah (4,618) Oct 7, 2005 New Jersey
    Society

    I never take a sample of a beer at a taproom, unless it's offered to me.
     
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  15. DogbiteWilliams

    DogbiteWilliams Initiate (76) Mar 28, 2015 California

    I'd be angry if the taproom/neighborhood bar refused to offer a half-ounce sample in a shot glass. It's enough for me to make an informed decision, and I would never ask for more than three.

    I'm a guy perfectly happy to spend just a buck or two for singletons from Trader Joe's. If a bar expects to pry $8-$10 from my parsimonious palms, they'd better have that "The customer is always right [and valued]" philosophy.

    I have gotten a few drafts at the Yard House in Burbank; there was no trouble asking for samples. They might even have been a full ounce.
     
  16. bubseymour

    bubseymour Poo-Bah (3,531) Oct 30, 2010 Maryland
    Society Trader

    Unfortunately, not everyone has the same social intelligence or experience in taprooms so sometimes you get that random person taking 5+ samples from the barkeep oblivious that people behind them are waiting. Isn’t this really the only issue/ complaint we are talking about here?
     
  17. Providence

    Providence Champion (821) Feb 24, 2010 Rhode Island
    Trader

    Beer is a luxury item. No one is prying money away from you when you buy it.
     
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  18. DogbiteWilliams

    DogbiteWilliams Initiate (76) Mar 28, 2015 California

    Good point.
     
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  19. Immortale25

    Immortale25 Poo-Bah (3,439) May 13, 2011 North Carolina
    Society Trader

    Exactly what a sample abuser would say! :stuck_out_tongue:
     
  20. rousee

    rousee Meyvn (1,071) Aug 13, 2004 Massachusetts
    Trader

    I'm sorry if I over reacted but it was a thread that was pissing me off so I had to respond. I wish everyone the best--free samples or not :sunglasses:
     
  21. DrStiffington

    DrStiffington Poo-Bah (1,859) Oct 27, 2010 New Jersey
    Society

    So, wishing for no more beers made over 8% abv AND wishing for no more samples at breweries. I think you’re a frustrated craft beer enthusiast! :wink:
     
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  22. DrStiffington

    DrStiffington Poo-Bah (1,859) Oct 27, 2010 New Jersey
    Society

    So I went to a couple breweries with my two brothers-in-law over Labor Day weekend. At Wallenpaupack brewery, there were a lot of styles. One of my b-I-l is a professional brewer and craft beer guy like me - we know what we like and ordered what we wanted - and one only drinks craft beer because of us. He wanted small samples before ordering each round. The place was busy but the bartender quickly poured an ounce of a couple beers in small plastic cups and he chose what he wanted. Pouring the samples literally took 5 seconds. I can be as impatient as the next person on lines but jeez, sometimes things are just not that big a deal!
     
  23. Providence

    Providence Champion (821) Feb 24, 2010 Rhode Island
    Trader

    Yup. 20oz 4.5% brown ales for everyone.
     
  24. HorseheadsHophead

    HorseheadsHophead Poo-Bah (2,495) Sep 15, 2014 Colorado
    Society

    Come to think of it, I haven't actually *asked* for a sample at a brewery in years. I either order a flight or small (2-8 oz pour)
    If the brewery offers me a sample of something, I will gladly accept.


    Often. It's especially a risk when it comes to hazy IPAs. They could either be delicious tropical juice or sludgy murky thick sweet green yeasty hop burn. More often the latter.
     
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  25. LoganFarinhas

    LoganFarinhas Initiate (124) Jun 26, 2020 Pennsylvania

    I am sorry I cannot bite my tongue on this one:

    Beer is not a luxury item. Historically and currently. In my state (Pennsylvania) beer and wine are not taxed in grocery stores exactly because beer is not a luxury item it is a staple it is food and is not the same as purchasing a luxury item (e.g. a fancy tv screen, a fancy cup to put your staple beer in, and a watch to look at the time) all of which are taxed items.

    Now, my argument isn't that anything which is taxed is luxurious or that items that aren't taxed = are staples. I am saying beer and wine historically were not luxurious items (even more so beer) and that is why (in part) it is not taxed. If you read about beer history in the USA you find this: Beer was seen as a nutritious part of the American diet. To me, that is exactly the opposite of a "luxury item." Beer has been and is drunk by all classes of people rich to poor. The idea of calling something luxurious that was drunken by everyone really broadens the term to a point where it becomes obsolete. I guess if bread in a jar is considered luxurious I must be quite the luxurious guy for I drink a lot of it. LOL

    This thread has been something to read through. But honestly, I never would have thought people would be so upset over some people having a sip of beer. To me, it really isn't a big deal. Everyone should just open a fresh one and have a swig and relax: it's going to be alright.

    https://www.beeradvocate.com/articles/722/has-beer-become-a-luxury-item/

    Here is an interesting article to read from BA! It's old, but I think it (still) isn't a luxury item. Not yet! Cheers!
     
  26. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Poo-Bah (3,671) May 30, 2005 Michigan
    Society

    Your point about beer is a luxury item is being mixed up with 'taxable' item and will vary by state. Beer, wine and liquor are taxed in Michigan even if bought in a food store or supermarket. Your point is correct, beer is not a luxury item, but rather is a discretionary food item.
     
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  27. unlikelyspiderperson

    unlikelyspiderperson Poo-Bah (2,150) Mar 12, 2013 California
    Society Trader

    Well, you see, the problem is that other people had to wait for this demon sip to be had and the bar keep had to wash said sip glass! Plus, one time I heard a guy took like 8 sips! It's an outrage!
     
  28. Providence

    Providence Champion (821) Feb 24, 2010 Rhode Island
    Trader

    Perhaps luxury item isn’t the right phrase. Beer is not a necessity, so using phrases like “prying money out of my hands” can’t apply to buying beer. You don’t need beer to live, you’re buying it because you have extra money to spend. So this notion of needing samples less your hard earned dollar be ripped from you by the robber barons who own craft breweries, seems off.

    Also, I’m not like foaming at the mouth in anger against samples. I just wish people were more adventurous with beer, is all. I see samples as playing it safe and playing not to lose, which, in my opinion, kind of goes against the spirit of craft. If people are going to get samples, fine. I won’t get samples myself, but I’m not going to dump pig’s blood on those who do.
     
    #108 Providence, Sep 10, 2022
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2022
  29. zid

    zid Poo-Bah (1,797) Feb 15, 2010 New York
    Society Trader

    You haven’t asked for a sample in years but the frequency of you ordering a sample of beer that you ended up disliking is “often?” :thinking_face:
     
  30. HorseheadsHophead

    HorseheadsHophead Poo-Bah (2,495) Sep 15, 2014 Colorado
    Society

    Yes.
     
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  31. rgordon

    rgordon Meyvn (1,300) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    I don't need samples ever. I've never asked for one but have been given a few. I know beer well enough to order and what to likely taste. It's no mystery. Don't drive the bartenders crazy. It is not a big deal to sometimes not like a beer. It happens.
     
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  32. dwmetsfan13

    dwmetsfan13 Initiate (166) Jul 22, 2013 Massachusetts
    Trader

    If a taproom offers samples, then I don't see anything wrong with somebody asking for one. If a taproom does not offer samples that is their choice as well. Some people might choose not to go to that taproom in either scenario. Feels kind of similar to OPs prior thread around kids - most of these places probably have a policy in place that they think gives them the most opportunity to succeed, there is no definitively right/wrong answer.

    For all the vehement anti-samplers out there - if you buy some other product and it turns out to be broken or the wrong size or you just don't like it, do you refuse to return it and chalk it up to "can't win 'em all" the same way as you would with a beer you don't like? Obviously not a perfect analogy but isn't a bar explicitly allowing/forbidding samples kind of similar to a store explicitly allowing/prohibiting returns? In both cases there's some small cost to the business to increase the likelihood of a satisfied customer. For some places that cost may be worth it, for others may not be but I certainly wouldn't blame the customer for using an available option.
     
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  33. HorseheadsHophead

    HorseheadsHophead Poo-Bah (2,495) Sep 15, 2014 Colorado
    Society

    Oh, I see where the point of confusion was. I should have stated I haven't asked for *free* samples of beer in years. I typically don't ask to try a free sample unless the brewery offers it to me. But if I actually order a small (2-4 oz) pour to try a beer, it's often something I end up disliking. Like if I want to try their hazy IPA I'll spend a couple of dollars on a small pour and then I end up not liking it.
     
  34. iwantyourskull

    iwantyourskull Initiate (60) Dec 27, 2015 Missouri

    As a taproom employee/beer/bartender I am okay with offering samples but sometimes the patron gets out of hand when they plus 3 samples and then it turns into someone feeling so privileged and then my charm starts waning.

    if I send off tasters of a new beer to someone who had not asked, I’m only doing this to raise my tip. It’s not a friendly gesture except the occasional time I actually like the patron
     
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  35. Beer_Economicus

    Beer_Economicus Savant (933) Apr 8, 2017 Ohio
    Trader

    Ordering a beer isn’t like ordering a burger. Burgers are more consistent. Beers can be wildly different. Brewers also lie about the style sometimes. If a brewery will take a beer back and not charge me for something I can’t (and won’t) drink, then fine, make me pay. But if they aren’t going to accept it back if I can’t drink it, then yea, give me a taster.


    A taster is really (for me) to make sure it is something tolerable. It’s not about finding the best beer on the menu. It’s to make sure I don’t waste my money or return the beer. It should be a two-way street, as the brewery should be willing to stand behind their beer and not charge someone if they can’t drink it, if they weren’t given a sample and they asked.
     
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  36. Beer_Economicus

    Beer_Economicus Savant (933) Apr 8, 2017 Ohio
    Trader

    I am also reminded of being at the grocery. Do people not taste the fruit before they buy it? Or not ask for a sample of lunch meat before you buy it? What if it is horribly sweet and you are sensitive to sweet meat (and it isn’t described as sweet)? What if it is too wet? And so on. Samples just make sense in some circumstances.
     
  37. Providence

    Providence Champion (821) Feb 24, 2010 Rhode Island
    Trader

    Tell me more about this tasting of fruit. How does this go down? Is it at a grocery store that you’re doing this? A farm? Some place else? I’m curious. I buy 90% of my fruit at grocery stores. I have never thought about biting into in apple, chewing it, swallowing it, and then putting that apple down and saying, “nah, I’m not going to buy this after all.” Is this an option in Ohio? I’m generally curious.
     
  38. Beer_Economicus

    Beer_Economicus Savant (933) Apr 8, 2017 Ohio
    Trader

    I think you're trolling :wink:, but on the off chance you're not: I will taste any type of fruit that I can before buying. That means all berries, grapes and cherries. I also meticulously try to 'hand weigh' all melons to feel which is the most dense for the size (which correlates to amount of water, which usually correlates to sweetest). Some stores will allow you to try all fruit before you buy it, which includes coring a watermelon, but that's not something I have done. However, most grocery stores will give you zero flack if you buy a watermelon (for example, but pretty much any fruit will do), go home, and open it, and say it is inedible, throw it away, and go back with a receipt. You don't even need the item.

    So, the point here to me is getting a refund. I don't mind buying a beer blind if I have to, conditional on the brewery, tap room or bar being willing to take it back if I think it's terrible or undrinkable to my palate. I have a bitter and sour sensitivity, and I hate funk. There are lots of beers within the categories that I enjoy that I just can't do. All of this can be avoided by giving me a 1oz sample.
     
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  39. Providence

    Providence Champion (821) Feb 24, 2010 Rhode Island
    Trader

    Definitely not trolling, just wanted more info. You suggested all fruit was available for tasting, but it seems as if it’s just berries and grapes, which is quite different. And hand weighing is not tasting. Returning fruit that is bad is also wildly different than tasting it in the store and not buying more because you didn’t like it.

    And just to be clear, I’m not trying to draw any connections to beer here, I’m just trying to learn more about your previous post. Thanks for the clarification.
     
    #119 Providence, Sep 13, 2022
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2022
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  40. PoleroMayor

    PoleroMayor Initiate (16) Sep 13, 2022 Florida

    Craft breweries are more oriented to the customer experience, everyone in this Thread have been by one first time in their lives in a craft brewery or pub, and if you remember that first time you usually did not know nothing about the craft beer universe, for this reason is necessary to give small samples to newbies (usually a shot glass). But if you are a craft beer lover, with many years of experience tasting different beers, probably you will have a couple of friend who make their own beer, in that case they will offer you a complete pint of their new brewed. As you can see, by this way the size of your sample improves with the years.