Should you tell your bartender when you taste an off beer?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by howtoservebeer, Jan 30, 2019.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,827) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    Would they stop serving those "funky" beers to other customers? Do they view you as an 'authority' for acceptable beer quality?

    Cheers!
     
  2. Sabtos

    Sabtos Poo-Bah (10,588) Dec 15, 2015 Ohio
    Society Trader

    Yes...mainly because they should have noticed already...
     
  3. Ahonky

    Ahonky Initiate (0) Feb 13, 2018 New York

    Unless the beer is flat out bad, or flat, I would never make mention of an off-note. I would be too embarrassed. I am a man after-all.
     
    Bigrock likes this.
  4. NYRunner

    NYRunner Initiate (84) Nov 5, 2018 New York

    I agree, and a beer like that would fall into the category of my wife asking "Would you order that again?" and my responding "Well, probably not, but I'm glad I tried it."
     
  5. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Poo-Bah (3,728) May 30, 2005 Michigan
    Society

    This thread begs the question to anyone who is or has been a bartender. Is it standard procedure to taste beers for spoilage/off-flavors at the beginning of each day?

    That would be asking a lot if there are a lot of taps. I'm guessing the answer is 'no' but I'm curious if any standard procedure exists.
     
    mikeinportc likes this.
  6. putonyourwalkingshoes

    putonyourwalkingshoes Devotee (471) Jul 31, 2013 California
    Trader

    I did this once because i was convinced there was soap in the tap lines at balboa tap house in San Diego. I had gone to this place twice in one week and had the exact same beer those 2 occasions.

    I let the bartender politely know and her attitude towards me changed. She offered something else and i even got a sample of it, when i agreed on a pint of that different beer they instead brought a pint of the other one.. didnt drink it and havent been back there since.
     
  7. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,827) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    I appreciate you asking this question in such a diplomatic manner but perhaps this should be more of a statement?

    Shouldn't the servers try all of the product they are selling prior to serving it to their paying customers? A beer sample is like 1-2 ounces, why not?

    Cheers!
     
    PapaGoose03 likes this.
  8. Beer_Stan

    Beer_Stan Initiate (160) Mar 15, 2014 California
    Trader

    I was at a brewery in Goleta CA and came across this very thing, the beertender thanked me for telling them and then the head brewer came out from the back and proceeded to argue with me until another customer spoke up and told them the beer was off but he didn't want to say anything in case it was supposed to taste that way but he had been nursing it for like 45 minutes trying to drink it.
     
    mikeinportc likes this.
  9. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Poo-Bah (3,728) May 30, 2005 Michigan
    Society

    No employer wants an employee drinking on the job, so there's that. But I've seen bartenders pouring a swallow (or two) to quench their thirst. Servers in restaurants typically sample the special of the day or a new dish on the menu, so I agree that some quality control should go into the beverages.
     
  10. Troutbeerbum

    Troutbeerbum Initiate (185) Dec 5, 2016 Maine

    I'd probably keep my mouth shut. For the same reason I don't complain about food at restaurants. Nobody wants a swabbbed glass.....
     
  11. Giantspace

    Giantspace Meyvn (1,051) Dec 22, 2011 Pennsylvania

    That’s different. Trust me, if you are served a beer at Monks and it’s bad Tom will hook you up. If you just don’t like it then it’s on you. Monks will gladly give you a taste before you order.

    Enjoy
     
    Prince_Casual likes this.
  12. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (3,108) Mar 12, 2009 New York
    Society Trader

    There is no good reason not to tell a bartender if you are sure a beer is "off". There is no good reason for a bartender not to be glad to hear about it and take action in favor of protecting the bar from gaining bad reputation.
     
  13. CrimeDog

    CrimeDog Initiate (0) Dec 31, 2015 New York

    I have told the bartender a couple of times on beers that I totally knew what they were supposed to taste like....it wasn't a big deal.
     
  14. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Poo-Bah (1,912) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan
    Society

    As part of a brewday at an A2 brewpub, the brewer flushed the lines and then smelled then had a small sip of each beer to see if it was off. Nothing was off, but if so the would clean the lines before opening.

    At a local brewery with a friend, she pointed out to the owner that the DIPA had a touch of Diacetyl. We saw him a day later, he thanked her, the line needed cleaning, the beer was fine.

    If you know your beer flaws, say something.
     
    Beer_Stan and PapaGoose03 like this.
  15. bwarner2015

    bwarner2015 Initiate (99) Mar 25, 2016 Connecticut

    Absolutely tell your server or the bartender. I have only done this a couple of times, and my wife also, but they have been glad to switch it out. Most servers/bartenders want you to enjoy your time at your establishment. If they refuse to replace your "off" beer, they should expect a poor tip. We did this recently for a beer we had several times before. We ordered one, and it just was not at all what it tasted like previously. We kindly said we didn't care for it, that it was way different than the last time we had it, and the server gladly replaced it with another beer.
     
  16. bwarner2015

    bwarner2015 Initiate (99) Mar 25, 2016 Connecticut

    That is just poor customer service. The beertender and brewer should kindly (and quietly) offer you another choice, and apologize that the beer was not to your liking.
     
    PapaGoose03 and AZBeerDude72 like this.
  17. AZBeerDude72

    AZBeerDude72 Initiate (0) Jun 10, 2016 Arizona

    Of course speak up, your paying for a product and if its not good or tastes bad there is nothing wrong with getting a new beer. The main thing with this is just be nice, ask the server/bartender for a replacement and 99% of them will. And remember that if they are not told they don't know so this helps them spot an issue, so they actually may appreciate the help. They are not happy to lose customers so most would probably be happy you spoke up.
    Cheers
     
    pjeagles likes this.
  18. Beer_Stan

    Beer_Stan Initiate (160) Mar 15, 2014 California
    Trader

    That's pretty much what happened, the beertender was more than polite and offered me another beer but it was the brewer who was simply offended that I (and subsequently another customer) claimed that the beer was producing off flavors and was likely infected and proceeded to argue with me about it. He took it a little too personally in my opinion.
     
  19. AZBeerDude72

    AZBeerDude72 Initiate (0) Jun 10, 2016 Arizona

    That is a good way to get you to come back. Good thing this is not the norm for most.
     
  20. Beer_Stan

    Beer_Stan Initiate (160) Mar 15, 2014 California
    Trader

    Yea and I definitely wont be going back, I try not to name them in case it was just my experience. And its not like off flavors are new to breweries by any means but it was drain pour bad. So I'll let others' experiences inform their thoughts on if its bad or not when they go instead of trying to Yelp and bad review them to death.
     
    AZBeerDude72 likes this.
  21. mikeinportc

    mikeinportc Poo-Bah (1,909) Nov 4, 2015 New York
    Society

    Distributor shipping an old one?
     
  22. Dandrewjohn

    Dandrewjohn Initiate (140) Apr 13, 2013 Texas

    I've only had to do that once. I simply told the server that it just wasn't for me, or something to that effect. She took it back without question and gave me something else.
     
  23. MNAle

    MNAle Poo-Bah (2,412) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota
    Society

    They couldn't read the date code on the keg?
     
  24. Miles_in_beer_city

    Miles_in_beer_city Initiate (158) Jun 18, 2014 North Carolina

    Yes, of course. I have seen the beertender taste it, or call in the brewer, and actually pull a beer off the tap line.
    These people are passionate about their craft, and they don't want to serve a substandard product.

    Likewise, when the brew is exceptional, I also let them know. They like 'atta boys' also.
     
    PapaGoose03 likes this.
  25. VitisVinifera

    VitisVinifera Initiate (158) Feb 25, 2013 California

    If it's a brewery, probably so - they care about the product, and if the tender doesn't care, I sure bet his or her boss does.

    Any other place, it's just not worth the effort. I'll make a mental note about the place and move on. I don't want to pick fights because my standards are different than some other person I'll probably never see again. They are working for tips, and usually all they care is to come in, do their hours without getting in arguments, and leaving.
     
  26. mikeinportc

    mikeinportc Poo-Bah (1,909) Nov 4, 2015 New York
    Society

    Or don't? First in-first out?
    I've seen plenty of beer, not kegs, arrive at the retailer already old/old-ish.
     
  27. MNAle

    MNAle Poo-Bah (2,412) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota
    Society

    The situation under discussion in this conversation is a keg of Hopsalm that was a year old, not old-ish.

    The bar should have refused it.

    Or, not kept it in their cooler for a year.

    Whatever happened, there is no excuse for tapping a year-old keg of Hopslam. Bell's says the shelf life is 3 months.
     
    mikeinportc likes this.
  28. PorterPro125

    PorterPro125 Champion (851) Jan 19, 2013 Canada (NB)

    Absolutely. If you're paying, why pay for something that you deem "off"? Also, letting your server/bartender know that something is off can save them from the hassle of dealing with additional unhappy customers.

    This is a pretty extreme example, but this past summer I was at a local watering hole with some buddies and ordered a tall Budweiser - I assume that they had a Radler on that tap before because all I could taste was grapefruit. While it didn't taste half bad, I let my server know exactly what was going on.
     
  29. CheapHysterics

    CheapHysterics Initiate (0) Apr 1, 2009 Pennsylvania

    Depends on the situation. You can get a feel pretty quickly for whether or not it's the kind of place (and the bartender is the kind of person) that will be grateful you brought it to their attention or will be annoyed, blow you off, and think you are a pain in the ass.
     
  30. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (2,771) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
    Society Trader

    Most bartenders and wait staff live off tips, and want to give you a great experience, so why would they question if you think it’s not right? Given you didn’t drink most of the beer to begin with of course. Hard to bitch if you are ate most of your steak or drank most of the beer then said it wasn’t right. I’m suspicious of hole in the wall bars with 90 taps to begin with, the chance of an old keg increases as does the potential for crappy lines.
     
    Mvsmvs92 likes this.
  31. RochefortChris

    RochefortChris Poo-Bah (1,848) Oct 2, 2012 North Carolina
    Society Trader

    I like to inform the bartender if the beer is off, and if I get a free beer fine, if not no worries either.

    One experience of doing this that sticks with me is I once got a flight of seven beers where all were off but one, (diacetyl, oxidation, under attenuation etc) so I let the bartender know. The informed the brewer who I then spoke with, and he actually agreed with me. I then asked why he was serving them and his response was essentially 'we have to get rid of them somehow.' I get that dumping beer is expensive, but breweries have to worry about their image as well.
     
    PapaGoose03 likes this.
  32. Miles_in_beer_city

    Miles_in_beer_city Initiate (158) Jun 18, 2014 North Carolina

    If the staff views customers as a PIA, why are you there?
     
  33. GormBrewhouse

    GormBrewhouse Zealot (541) Jun 24, 2015 Vermont

    On rare occasion we go out to a pizza joint where they have 20+ different kegs of brew. Couple times the beer was bad. The servers are usually highschool aged and have no idea. The tap puller did not have any issues with my complaint.

    Definatly say something.
     
  34. walterfarris

    walterfarris Initiate (42) Dec 7, 2017 California
    Trader

    Bartender here; at least in my workplace, we have no trouble swapping out a supposedly “off” beer. It also gives us a reason to taste beer during our shift, so, cool. If it is indeed “off,” they’re helping us out, and if it isn’t, the guest didn’t care for it and has no plan of drinking it anyway. It doesn’t bother any of us; just ring it in to be comped so it’s accounted for. People’s tastes are different, and at the end of the day, don’t get stuck with something you don’t want.

    I’ve never sent back a beer, but I’ve also never been involved in a situation of the like. If I were to taste soap (i.e. draft maintenance, bar detergent) I would most likely say something. Off-flavors that I would suspect to originate from the brewing process, however, I would probably just not order another.
     
  35. CheapHysterics

    CheapHysterics Initiate (0) Apr 1, 2009 Pennsylvania

    Sometimes you end up in places that you didn't choose because you are with a group. Sometimes you're someplace for the first time.

    Also, customers can be a pain in the ass.
     
  36. lightman1

    lightman1 Initiate (89) Oct 19, 2013 Arkansas
    Trader

    I think you should discreetly let them know. Don't cause a scene and attract a lot of attention or act belligerent, ect, but let them know. I would think a good bar would want to know.

    I was in a place the other night where I'm a regular and they had several new beers listed. One of the ones that I ordered was not the correct beer. I discreetly told the Waitress that I didn't think I got what I ordered. She went to check and returned to thank me. Turns out that the labels on the taps were switched. She offered to replace the beer but I politely declined and drank it anyway. Yeah, I'm easy!
     
    PapaGoose03 likes this.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.