Poorly Served Draft Beer

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by Retroman40, Apr 8, 2018.

  1. Retroman40

    Retroman40 Devotee (452) Dec 7, 2013 Florida

    A recent incident got me wondering how others would/do react to a similar situation. My wife and I were at a chain Mexican restaurant (first mistake since there are better local places but she had heard from a friend how good this place was) and I ordered a Dos Equis Amber. It arrived absolutely flat and frankly not cold enough for that style (at least to me). I immediately called the server back to express my displeasure. He took it away and within a few moments a guy who identified himself as the bartender was at my table with the beer. He proceeded to explain to me that there was nothing wrong with the beer and that I clearly didn't understand how draft beer worked. While I don't claim to be an "expert" I've been serving beer both commercial and homebrew from my homemade kegorators for more years than I care to mention so I understand a little about proper pressure/temperature and getting the kegs balanced. I laughed and I told my wife "let's go" and started walking towards the door. We were intercepted by a manager who profusely apologized and offered a free meal. I was actually concerned the staff would mess with my meal so we decline and left. Needless to say we won't be returning.

    What got me revisiting this incident was yesterday I had an Aruba Red at Bahama Breeze and it was served perfectly. Reading some other reviews I see where it looks like it came poorly served. Had mine shown up flat it would have been sent back and certainly not paid for.

    Looking back perhaps I should have given them a second chance but the non-professional attitude of the bartender just set me off. Just curious if others will send back a poorly served draft and how they handle clearly amateur bartenders.
  2. utopiajane

    utopiajane Poo-Bah (2,529) Jun 11, 2013 New York

    Wow flat and too warm. Sounds like ti got poured and then sat there for a while maybe was topped off. Me personally, I like to be the customer when I am the customer. If I think that beer is too warm then I should get a new one. ONCE. And this time bring it as soon as you pour it. =) Perhaps it was flat, again an apology and a fresh beer. ONCE. I think the idea that the beer enthusiast has so many things to explain to a customer can be off putting. If the patron wants a chilled glass, give it to him, a tumbler instead of a stange, a cold beer instead of a warm one . . . etc . . .
  3. bbtkd

    bbtkd Poo-Bah (2,001) Sep 20, 2015 South Dakota

    I don't generally bother ordering beer at any restaurant. First off, I'm only drinking craft and most don't have real craft. Then you're lucky if they know what they have and actually give you what your order. Finally - the issue you mention - many restaurants are inexperienced with handling and serving beer. Even worse, some probably have Bob the dishwasher be their bartender because he and the manager are the only ones old enough. I get Diet Coke at restaurants, and only get craft taps at taprooms. Anyone purporting to serve beer should do it right, so yeah, send it back.
  4. surfcaster

    surfcaster Crusader (733) Apr 20, 2013 North Carolina
    Premium Trader

    Perhaps SD trails other places but a respectable beer list and proper serving of such has become very important for newer (and older) restaurants these days in my town. AND you better have some stuff brewed in your hometown and regionally (Asheville) which is not hard to come by.

    Agree with the sentiment of doing it right. The places that seem to get this wrong here are the "tired places" that have not kept up and you get then sense that outside of living on their old rep, are in a state of decline OR the beer there just isn't important at all.
  5. MostlyNorwegian

    MostlyNorwegian Devotee (489) Feb 5, 2013 Illinois

    There's no redeeming defending half assedness.
    You made a good decision in leaving.
  6. surfcaster

    surfcaster Crusader (733) Apr 20, 2013 North Carolina
    Premium Trader

    Have yet to see one of those where beer was more than a Dos Equis or Modelo Negro which fits the bill for the fare (don't mind it there) but suspect that just not a priority. Agree with others that I bet it was sent back or sat there a long time. No excuse--one situation where cold and lively is the name of the game.
  7. bbtkd

    bbtkd Poo-Bah (2,001) Sep 20, 2015 South Dakota

    Chain restaurants around here seemingly leave the distributor to decide their lineup, so they serve BMC and BMC-owned beers. Their beer lineup, if even current, will just say "Goose Island" for instance, but not the specific beer. You ask the minimal wage and often underage wait staff which specific beers - and they don't understand the question.

    They've heard of Bud, Miller, and Coors - and the brand says it all, possibly with "Lite" appended. But ask them which Goose Island and you either get the puzzled dog tilted-head look, or rolling of the eyes that tells you that you're being a difficult customer. I don't think South Dakota restaurant beer is very different from other places, based on my travels. We have all the same restaurant chains. Regarding local brews - they sometimes sneak in to the chain restaurants, but not sure many patrons partake.
    pinyin likes this.
  8. surfcaster

    surfcaster Crusader (733) Apr 20, 2013 North Carolina
    Premium Trader

    I haven't been to many of the national chains lately--I did one time get stuck in an Outback for a group event when traveling and there was essentially nothing to consider as you point out. On the other hand, it seems Lag IPA, SNPA, our local Olde Mecklenburg (German styles and big crowd pleasers) have "broken through" the Iron curtain in chains here. Locally, the distributor for Bud began to put Wicked Weed on tap in lots of places Bud was offered and although I have quit buying it in stores, will have one when no other options.
    Squire and bbtkd like this.
  9. Squire

    Squire Poo-Bah (1,949) Jul 16, 2015 Mississippi
    Premium Trader

    I simply go elsewhere. I can eat at home and don't go out to be poorly served or lectured by a self taught bartender. Oh I don't make a big deal out of it and certainly don't blame the servers who around here are mostly part time workers and full time students. The bartender's defensive attitude tells me there's more going on which makes me distrust the place generally and yes, kitchen staff will retaliate against what they perceive as a difficult customer.

    My rule is to order beer by the bottle and pour it myself after checking the bottling date. Out of date and it goes back unopened.
  10. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,619) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    “…the bartender was at my table with the beer. He proceeded to explain to me that there was nothing wrong with the beer and that I clearly didn't understand how draft beer worked.”

    “…we decline and left.”

    Wise choice.

    Do not forget to tell your local friends and family about this experience.

  11. laketang

    laketang Savant (948) Mar 22, 2015 Illinois

    Lesson learned! Go with the better place next time. Great call in leaving. Advice on getting bottled beer also works.
  12. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Crusader (780) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
    Premium Trader

    I'm pretty lenient when it comes to how beer comes to me. Unless it's bad I don't sent it back and sometimes not even then. If I'm just looking to get drunk and if the bar isn't a beer bar, I tend to give them even more wiggle room. Basically, I just try super hard to not go to places that employ shite bar staff. Seems to work OK.
  13. lordofthewiens

    lordofthewiens Poo-Bah (4,413) Sep 17, 2005 New Mexico

    I'm going to take a different view and say you overreacted. You're out on a date with your wife and you ordered a Dos Equis that didn't come to your table the way it should have. Just drink it and leave it at that.
  14. 25Comical

    25Comical Initiate (30) Oct 3, 2017 Illinois

    I was with a group of friends and family at a local non-chain bar/restaurant that had a German theme. The "German " food is not good but the regular bar food is fine. It has a nice river view so we sat outside. Franziskaner was on tap and that was all I needed to hear. I love hefes but when mine arrived there was no head whatsoever. It tasted fine and I did not make a deal over it but I just don't order hefes out anymore. I will have them at home where I can control the pour. I tend towards a polite and understanding personality but will send back bottles of outdated beer. I find that inexcusable in a bar. Especially if I am paying $5 for a decent beer.
    Harrison8 and Squire like this.
  15. jesskidden

    jesskidden Meyvn (1,314) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    Well, if I really cared enough about it (and since I don't have "local friends and family" :grin:), I'd tell the local Heineken distributor's draught specialist - they want to sell the restaurant beer and serving it at the right temp and correct carbonation levels will help them do that.
    Bitterbill and LuskusDelph like this.
  16. Squire

    Squire Poo-Bah (1,949) Jul 16, 2015 Mississippi
    Premium Trader

    A sensible and mature approach certainly but a gratuitous barkeep lecture tips my canoe.
    cavedave, machalel, meefmoff and 3 others like this.
  17. Squire

    Squire Poo-Bah (1,949) Jul 16, 2015 Mississippi
    Premium Trader

    Politely declining restaurant priced out of date beer is a perfectly reasonable request.
  18. lordofthewiens

    lordofthewiens Poo-Bah (4,413) Sep 17, 2005 New Mexico

  19. gopens44

    gopens44 Poo-Bah (2,157) Aug 9, 2010 Virginia
    Premium Trader

    While I agree with @bbtkd , and generally avoid beer at restaurants, I think the bartender was wildly unprofessional. I'm kind of old school in customer service, as even if you were dead wrong (sounds like you were right in bringing the deficiencies to their attention) the beer should have been replaced. Better yet, a quick QC check by the bar manager should have taken place. I also agree that the Spectre of shenanigans would have spoiled even a free meal as well.
  20. rgordon

    rgordon Champion (837) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    That sounds more like what my reaction would be. But he didn't and the bartender showed his behind. I surely would say something- hopefully clever- and dismiss him from my face. Either way, it sounds like a crappy night.
    lordofthewiens likes this.
  21. meefmoff

    meefmoff Zealot (521) Jul 6, 2014 Massachusetts

    I agree in that I would likely have just drank the beer and not said anything. But if I had said something and got that bartender reaction I definitely would have left given that it was just a chain restaurant who's experience could be easily recreated elsewhere.

    We were at a pretty trendy craft beer bar/restaurant a couple years back and my wife, not feeling like a beer at the time, ordered what turned out to be a completely flat gin and tonic. I encouraged her to send it back which she did politely. The bartender proceeded to pour a little bit of it out into a spoon, tasted it, told her it was fine and gave it back it to her.

    We were there having dinner with a large group of people so leaving wasn't an option, but I've never been back and if I'm left alone with my thoughts long enough it's one of those random and trivial things that will bubble up and make me irritated all over again.
  22. TheGent

    TheGent Meyvn (1,230) Jun 29, 2010 New Jersey
    Premium Trader

    At a place like this I would not send the beer back unless there was something wrong with the beer itself. I align my expectations with the place I’m eating at and how much of an emphasis that place puts on their beer program. I then hold them to such standard.
    GOBLIN likes this.
  23. MilkLeg

    MilkLeg Initiate (142) Feb 8, 2016 Alberta (Canada)

    Leaving a mexican restaurant because they didn't know how to tap/pour the Dos Equis? This guy beers!
  24. jesskidden

    jesskidden Meyvn (1,314) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    Do you feel the same way about being served rock hard bread, rancid butter, sandy salad greens, undercooked chicken with melted ice cream for dessert, topped off with a cup of lukewarm coffee served with curdled half n half?

    Why would that make a difference? I think many spouses (mine included) would say, "Send it back."

    (OTOH, I'm thinking many of those same spouses would not consider eating a meal together at a chain Mexican joint a "date".... :astonished:).
  25. lordofthewiens

    lordofthewiens Poo-Bah (4,413) Sep 17, 2005 New Mexico

    I hope you realize you're not even in the same ballpark.
  26. needMIbeer

    needMIbeer Champion (871) Feb 5, 2014 Tennessee
    Premium Trader

    One of my former go to spots in the DFW area is a local chain store that does growler fills as well bottle sales. They consistently have one of the better selections in the area but the last time I was there I had an experience that I just couldn’t shake off.

    It was shortly after Black Friday and they had a Bourbon County night. After working my way through a couple of variants I ended up grabbing a pour of BCBBW not giving any thought to the year. I knew as soon as I took my first sip that the beer was infected and immediately brought it to the “managers” attention. The idea of a beer being infected seemed completely foreign to him but he took the time to call the owner. After explaining the situation to the owner on the phone the decision was ultimately made to continue to pour the beer. A replacement pour of another beer wasn’t offered and no refund was given for a beer I didn’t consume.

    As someone who manages restaurants/bars for a living I found the entire situation to be unacceptable. I should have known better and checked the year but I’d also think a place of this caliber would know better, especially considering they host off flavor classes to prep for the certified cicerone exam.
  27. Squire

    Squire Poo-Bah (1,949) Jul 16, 2015 Mississippi
    Premium Trader

    Losing a customer (and those who value his opinion) over the price of a beer is a short sighted practice.
    BigIslandfarmer and Junior like this.
  28. Lahey

    Lahey Disciple (315) Nov 12, 2016 Michigan

    Haven't had too many beer issues other than spoiled bud light at a basketball game (which I choked down). I did get a mojito with brown mint. They said it's from muddling. Muddling doesn't turn green into brown, it was spoiled. So it was sent back as politely as possible. Also got a martini once that was pure olive juice. That didn't fly either. I've learned the hard way where to order what and how to order it...
    Tdizzle likes this.
  29. DarkDragon999

    DarkDragon999 Aspirant (227) Feb 13, 2013 Rhode Island

    Got some nice Italian restaurants around here but their beer selections tend to be terrible and inferior to the chain selections.
    Lahey likes this.
  30. McFinniganOfTheFinnigans

    McFinniganOfTheFinnigans Initiate (0) Apr 20, 2017 Florida

    I hate Kona. It's one of the worst breweries. At a cuban restaurant in Mt Dora. They had Kona Big Wave, Bud Light, or something close to Tecate Light. Don't matter what. They had a 25oz option. Glass came cold, chilled, and frozen. I get Kona. Damn near vomited 20 minutes later.
  31. MilkLeg

    MilkLeg Initiate (142) Feb 8, 2016 Alberta (Canada)

    Well, which is it?
    Troutbeerbum and Tdizzle like this.
  32. HorseheadsHophead

    HorseheadsHophead Meyvn (1,400) Sep 15, 2014 New York

    Chain restaurants have notoriously poor standards when it comes to serving beer...
    Tdizzle and DrewSnyc667 like this.
  33. Snowcrash000

    Snowcrash000 Champion (804) Oct 4, 2017 Germany

    I went to Cologne's only craft beer bar a few weeks ago to have Jai Alai on tap. I had just had a 4 months old can a week earlier and wanted to see what it tasted like fresh. I considered it quite the lucky coincidence that they happened to get something like this in, which is really hard to find in Germany.

    Imagine my surprise when I tasted it and it tasted absolutely no better on tap than from that 4 months old can, perhaps even a little worse. And they charged 9€ for an 11oz pour as well. I have no idea where they managed to dig out that barrel, but no way in hell was that fresh. I didn't make a fuzz about it because I didn't want to get into an argument about freshness when I had no way of proving that the beer wasn't fresh.

    However, I considered ordering a bottle of SNPA afterwards and insisted that they show me the label before opening it. That bottle was 10 months old. Needless to say, I didn't order it, paid for the Jai Alai, left, and will never return.

    I also went to a bottle shop in Düsseldorf yesterday, where they had a whole bunch of Oscar Blues cans, which aren't exactly common in Germany either. When I checked the canning dates, every single one of those cans was from January/February 2017. Yes, two-thousand-seventeen. And I'm not talking about their stouts here either. Most of those were IPAs and Lagers. And they were priced 4-6€ as well. This kind of shit just blows my mind. Welcome to the German craft beer scene :confused::slight_frown::angry:.
    Mothergoose03 and Tdizzle like this.
  34. Vitacca

    Vitacca Disciple (388) Sep 15, 2010 Wisconsin

    In my experience if the menu says "please ask your server for the rotating/seasonal draft selection" and their response is a simple ale or lager, stick to water. Also, if the wine by the glass menu simply has the varietal, i.e. Merlot, and not the vineyard, it's most likely a cheap, cheap closeout or freebie from the distributor. Just say no.
    BeerseAnyone and jimmyfishkin like this.
  35. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,619) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    If it makes you feel any better (and it probably won't) what you are describing here as regards US craft beer in Germany is frequently my personal experiences as regards German brewed beers in the US.

    There are some exceptions. For example a few months ago I was able to buy some 'fresh' Jever (i.e., that 6-pack was less than 4 months old). Just yesterday I was able to buy a 6-pack of Weihenstephaner Braupakt which was bottled Feb. 6, 2018 (so a little over 2 months old now).

    It is entirely up to you how you want to 'manage' your situation but I personally just choose to keep my eyes open for non-old German beer and when I find fresh product I buy it (and enjoy the moment).

  36. donspublic

    donspublic Poo-Bah (1,556) Aug 4, 2014 Texas
    Premium Trader

    That cracks me up and yet makes me feel better at the same time. There is a wine bar we go to for music (and my wife) and they have a pretty nice local selection of beer. I have gotten burned several times, even sent beer back that was out of date. Now to 1) make them aware 2) enjoy myself while there, I always ask them to bring me the can/bottle out before opening it. Now I can just tell the guy who works there to check the date, if it is > 3 months old bring me a Rodeo Clown (DIPA) from Karbach. It is one of the few beers that in my mind becomes a good malt bomb with some months on it. It is almost like drinking a lite barley wine. And I tend to agree with @jesskidden if you are out and paying for a product, then if it isn't up to the base standard then you should send it back. If enough people did this it would improve the quality of the product for everyone, or at least eventually put the place out of business.
  37. rjniles

    rjniles Initiate (88) Aug 30, 2012 South Carolina

    I never order draft beer anywhere unless I know they sell a lot of draft. If I order a can/bottle beer I always ask that it be brought unopened with a room temp glass. If the package is not dated, pouring will tell me if it old.
    CrimeDog likes this.
  38. CrimeDog

    CrimeDog Initiate (187) Dec 31, 2015 New York

    I bought a growler last weekend from a distributor near me and it was disappointing because the lines weren't cleaned in a while.....
  39. McFinniganOfTheFinnigans

    McFinniganOfTheFinnigans Initiate (0) Apr 20, 2017 Florida

  40. Milktoast75

    Milktoast75 Initiate (91) Oct 27, 2012 Wisconsin

    Tempting to go to a 20, 30, and more taphouse, but let’s be honest. Going to be some nasty tap lines in the bunch. And how well do they clean lines when switching brands?
    I frequent a local pub with 6 taps. Perfect. 3 for the National Swill and 3 for local craft which includes a seasonal. Never had a bad tap.
    Buyer beware
    Tdizzle likes this.