What's your beer flight serving preference?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by VoxRationis, Jul 20, 2019.

  1. VoxRationis

    VoxRationis Poo-Bah (1,805) Dec 11, 2016 New York
    Society Trader

    I have noticed that there is quite a bit of variation in the way flights are served up in brewery tasting rooms. Some offer a fixed number, e.g. 3, 4 or 5 (served simultaneously). I have personally seen up to nine (Thirsty Bear Brewing Co. in SF, CA), although a friend reported an experience with 24 (!) with photographic supporting evidence (long since lost in memory and the stream of texts--only the number remains). Some give you a glass and let you refill it X number of times, with or without "chits." Some just expect you to buy 4 or 5 oz servings one at a time. For the cognoscenti, what's your preference?
  2. KidBeans

    KidBeans Initiate (54) Jul 17, 2019 Missouri

    I think the ideal experience is 3-5 beers in 4-5 oz servings, so close to a pint in total volume of beer. I find anymore than that and you'll start getting tipsy enough that it's hard to appreciate nuances between beers, especially if you're getting two of the same style in the flight.
  3. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Meyvn (1,349) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado

    San Luis brewing in Alamosa served me 12 samples in their flight. It was overwhelming, and most of the beers fell out of memory quickly. I prefer 4 or 5 4oz tasters in a flight. I had lunch at a pizza place in Estes Park that did flights of their commercial taps. It was the first time I had seen that option at a restaurant, and quite enjoyed it.
  4. VoxRationis

    VoxRationis Poo-Bah (1,805) Dec 11, 2016 New York
    Society Trader

    That sounds really cool. Hope it catches on, would like to be able to have that with a non-brewery meal.

    Apropos of Kid Beans post, I tend to agree. I like to limit myself to "a Pint" for the purposes of tasting. Beyond that, I can probably trust my palate, I'm just not sure what I experience plays out on the page (or the screen, as it were, I know I am dating myself) accurately enough.
    #4 VoxRationis, Jul 20, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2019
  5. bubseymour

    bubseymour Poo-Bah (2,519) Oct 30, 2010 Maryland

    When at a taproom, my favorite preference is to by a full 12oz/pint beer of something I've either had before or pretty sure I'll enjoy, then have 1-2 4oz or 5oz samplers (whatever their size offer is) of something that intrigues me that is new. I don't like the few places that have a mandatory "flight only" for the small pours. Usually when I get a full flight somewhere I have more buzz than I want.
  6. bubseymour

    bubseymour Poo-Bah (2,519) Oct 30, 2010 Maryland

    Did you hit up Rambo's Liquor Store while you were at Estes? One of the best beer stores I've been to anywhere in the US and customer service was great.
  7. VoxRationis

    VoxRationis Poo-Bah (1,805) Dec 11, 2016 New York
    Society Trader

    That's a really good point. Samplers side by side with a flight (for the so inclined) makes a lot of sense. And the buzz is a serious limitation when tasting.

    I'm a, dare I create a neologism in respect to the upstate counties, a southern New Yorker and lots of places near me are offering flights in the same glass, particularly on Long Island (where there is some really good beer). I understand the business model, but I just do not think it "cool." Am I wrong?
    The-Adjunct-Hippie likes this.
  8. KarlHungus

    KarlHungus Poo-Bah (3,083) Feb 19, 2005 Minnesota

    I prefer flights to come in the form of two to three full pints. I can't accurately judge a beer by only drinking four ounces of it, and I highly question whether anyone else can.
  9. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,150) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    My preference is 4 small glasses of a flight at a brewery that is new to me. I then order a pint of the beer I enjoyed the most of that flight.

    Very large flights (e.g., 12, 24 samples) make no sense to me. Those beers would get too warm for my personal enjoyment. If I wanted to sample 12 beers it would be three iterations of a flight of 4.

  10. mambossa

    mambossa Disciple (388) Jun 30, 2015 Ohio

    I always thought if I ever had a brewery, I would do something similar to this. No flights. Get a taster by itself or along with a pint. There’s nothing more frustrating than it being even two-deep at the bar and some numbskull asks for “splashes” or two sets of flights for everyone in their party.

    I rarely get tasters unless it’s super high ABV. Otherwise, I just go big with a full serving of something new I want to try.
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  11. zid

    zid Meyvn (1,330) Feb 15, 2010 New York
    Society Trader

    If "accurately judging a beer" is the goal, then flights are obviously not a perfect choice. Having said that, I'd also question how much someone can really get to know a beer after having a single 9-16 oz glass in between having glasses of other beers while out at a bar. I think the person buying a case a year for home consumption gets to know that beer better. I only say this because flights get vilified around here for this reason. Drinking a "full pour" of a few different beers while out is better but it isn't radically different. Not saying you are doing any of this, I'm just using your post to continue the conversation. Cheers.

    Sounds similar to Russian River which sells a flight of everything they have on tap. You can see their tray of 18 in the pic below, but when I was there, they provided extra glasses on the side for the beers that didn't fit on the tray. It was 21 in total when I was there. Continuing the thoughts above related to the @KarlHungus post, any sense of "understanding" these beers goes out the window really quickly. If someone ordered this to understand these beers they've made the wrong choice. Ordering full pours of 21 beers wouldn't result in any understanding either. I ordered the flight because it was fun and the only chance I'd ever have of doing such a thing. It fulfilled that goal nicely. In this case, I prefer that kind of experience over getting to know one of their beers much better. I save that experience for buying multiple bottles of the same Russian River beer and drinking them at home over different days.

  12. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,150) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    The largest sampler set I ever saw was at a brewpub in Hot Springs, Arkansas (18 small glasses). This couple seemed to have 'done the trick':

  13. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (6,310) Sep 24, 2007 Vatican City

    My preferred flights are in airplanes.

    Fuck taster trays.
  14. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (6,310) Sep 24, 2007 Vatican City

    It took 2 people to finish less than 5 pints?
  15. VoxRationis

    VoxRationis Poo-Bah (1,805) Dec 11, 2016 New York
    Society Trader

    You, are the Champion, my friend!
    GreenBayBA likes this.
  16. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,150) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    I would imagine that some of those beers were non-optimum for the consumers so the fact that could 'power through' and not waste any liquid is something IMO.
  17. denver10

    denver10 Poo-Bah (2,541) Nov 17, 2010 New Mexico

    My preference is about glassware, i love the breweries that will pour a 4 ish oz bpour into a normal size tulip type glass, alas Jester King, Bow & Arrow, and anyone else who does that.
  18. MistaRyte

    MistaRyte Devotee (498) Jan 14, 2008 Virginia

    F**k flights!

    I'm not contributing anything, I'll see myself out.

    But srsly, less ABV -> big ABV or alternately, less IBU ->big IBU
    champ103 and mambossa like this.
  19. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Meyvn (1,349) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado

    I did not. Estes is local enough that there arent bottles there that I haven't found closer to me. If we stay at the YMCA of the Rockies again I will keep them in mind for take beers to take back to the cabin.
    bubseymour likes this.
  20. champ103

    champ103 Poo-Bah (4,528) Sep 3, 2007 Texas

    Don't have a beer flight preference, just give me a pint and I'm good :slight_smile:
    Rocktire likes this.
  21. bbtkd

    bbtkd Poo-Bah (2,729) Sep 20, 2015 South Dakota
    Society Trader

    I've done flights but when I try a new beer, I prefer 8oz or more so I can review it. Unless the flight is 8oz or larger per glass, I'll pass.
  22. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Poo-Bah (2,487) May 30, 2005 Michigan

    My wife and I regularly go on pub crawls to breweries where we have never visited. We like to order flight-sized pours to evaluate the beer as part of writing a review of the Place for BA. (I rarely rate/reviews the individual beers here on BA unless it is a new brewery on BA with no beers listed yet.) Depending on how many breweries we plan to visit that day, we may order as many flights as necessary to get 4-10 beers (hopefully only the 4 oz. size glass or we adjust accordingly or leave unfinished glasses).

    I've been to places that have the 18-sized sampler (Russian River pictured above) and to places that don't even offer sampler-sized pours (but 3-4 free tastes are given to help decide on a larger pour). I've seen places that stipulate which beers are on the flight, and places that just charge you per glass (and beer type) and you choose which beers and how many total. I prefer to choose my own beers (which is the case in 90+ percent of breweries that we've visited) but will go along with a pre-set grouping.
    beersampler6 and AlcahueteJ like this.
  23. Snowcrash000

    Snowcrash000 Poo-Bah (2,195) Oct 4, 2017 Germany
    Moderator Society Trader

    My preference for flights would be that they are not a total rip-off. The only place in my area that actually serves flights charges 12.50€ for five 4oz servings, while the beers they have on tap are, on average, 6.50€ for a 10oz glass. So I pretty much don't do flights.

    Also, if you ask for a taster, they actually manage to pour you literally the amount of beer that would fit into a thimble, why don't they just slap you in the face instead? I'm so sorry that I'd like to know what I'm getting into first if I'm paying 20€/l at your place.

    To stay on topic, I probably wouldn't have them at a decent price either though, because I don't like to drink my beer from thimble-sized glasses. I'd much rather have like three 8oz pours than five 4oz pours.
    #23 Snowcrash000, Jul 21, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2019
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  24. zeff80

    zeff80 Poo-Bah (10,350) Feb 6, 2006 Missouri

    4-5 pours around 5oz each.
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  25. NotAlcoholicJustAHobby

    NotAlcoholicJustAHobby Meyvn (1,047) Jun 13, 2015 Vermont

    Typical flights I've seen around here are between 4-6 different beers. My wife and I will order a flight, sometimes 2 depending on the offerings. We order the flights one set at a time and share. I never rate or review a beer based on the flight. They simply help us decide which to-go option, if any, we wish to purchase and consume in the comfort of our home. We don't order full pours when we are out unless the establishment doesn't offer them. I might ask for a splash of something if I'm unsure about the style.
  26. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (1,938) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina

    I’ve never had a flight, never been to a place where I felt compelled. Most places I go I pretty much know what I like and what they have.
  27. invertalon

    invertalon Crusader (777) Jan 27, 2009 Ohio
    Society Trader

    For me, no flights at all. I just want the option to buy my samples in whatever quantity I want in 5oz rations. Don't like when I have to get 4 or 5 to fill a flight if I just want to have two, for example.

    But ideally, I'd say three 5oz tasters.
  28. meefmoff

    meefmoff Devotee (417) Jul 6, 2014 Massachusetts

    The standard for flights in my area is generally 4 different four or five ounce pours and that works for me. I particularly enjoy taking a flyer (no pun intended) on beers that aren't in my wheelhouse.

    And I agree with the post above mine that I always appreciate it when you can simply get a 4 oz. pour of anything on the menu rather than having to commit to a flight.
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  29. craigbelly

    craigbelly Champion (807) Dec 31, 2015 Iowa

    4-5 4oz samples is ideal. I'm still a sucker for a great flight.
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  30. TrojanRB

    TrojanRB Meyvn (1,467) Jul 27, 2013 California
    Society Trader

    12-18 item flights is ridiculous. I feel bad for the person that has to pour them.

    I generally just order a full pint straight away. I don’t think 3-4 oz is enough to really appreciate a beer.
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  31. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Meyvn (1,084) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    That's an AWESOME name for a liquor store.

    I can't judge/review a beer off of a few ounces, but I can get at least an idea of what it might taste like before I commit to a full pour.

    Given the cost and ABV of beers these days, and the fact a brewery may have upwards of 20+ offerings on tap, I don't like to waste my money, liver, and time drinking a full pour of something I don't like.

    Also, wine is consumed in 3 - 5 oz. pours. How come that's ok but beer HAS to be a full pour to tell whether you like it or not?

    I'm with @zid , to really analyze a beer, you need multiple pints, not just one.

    Yup, all of this. This is my preference.

    I actually really liked Allagash's 3 oz. pours on their flights, and I believe you had the option of doing 5 oz. if you wanted.
  32. shand

    shand Meyvn (1,420) Jul 13, 2010 Florida

    I prefer somewhere that gives me a good variety of purchase sizes. 5oz, half pints and pints is a good starting point. If I want a "flight", I can order multiple 5oz pours.
  33. eppCOS

    eppCOS Savant (996) Jun 27, 2015 Colorado

    Huh - never understood the deep antipathy for taster flights. Do you hate appetizers too? ;0

    But seriously - I get a taster flight, usually, on my first visit. Then, I just order a pint of the favorite one from the flight. What? I'm a Libra and I'm indecisive!

    Everyone just relax. Have a 5 oz taste. There you go.
  34. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Meyvn (1,084) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    Here's a question:

    Do you sip on each one all at once? Or do you have one sample at a time?

    I've done it both ways. With the former, the flavors can blend together easier, but the beers don't get as warm.

    With the latter, it's the opposite.
  35. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,150) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    I take small sips from each of the sample glasses (e.g., 4) and then I consume one sample at a time starting with the lightest tasting beer and working my way 'up' to drinking the most robust tasting beer last.

    I suppose this is a hybrid approach?

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  36. nickthetick

    nickthetick Zealot (502) Feb 20, 2010 Maryland

    I've been to a few smaller places in Hanover and Gettysburg, PA where I'll get a shot glass pour af a couple beers so I can decide which I want to get a full pour of. I haven't run into anyone who balked at the idea that way your sure your getting something you'll enjoy, plus the full experience of the beer in the proper glass. I don't see anything wrong with flights and I think its a great way for someone newer to beer to get a full profile of what's to offer. Also if I were to get a flight I would leave it up to the bartender to choose an order. They are usually experienced in what they are pouring and know "this" will be a good follow up to "that" and finish with "the other" because your tongue might be numb afterwards.
    PapaGoose03 and AlcahueteJ like this.
  37. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Meyvn (1,084) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    I like it! I think I'll try that next time I get a flight.
  38. woodchipper

    woodchipper Meyvn (1,102) Oct 25, 2005 Connecticut

    Don't allow flight when there are long lines. Or at least have a single pours only line.
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  39. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Poo-Bah (2,487) May 30, 2005 Michigan

    I'll take a single drink of each beer, lightest to darkest to hoppy beers. My wife will also. I'll jot down my rating for each beer, and my wife will add hers to UT. By the time we've each had the first round, the beers have warmed and changed their character. We typically finish the 4 oz. glasses with these 4 tastes. If the rating for a warm version of my taste of any beer is different from the rating for the cold taste, the warm rating gets precedence for my final number (my wife never changes hers on UT!). I change my initial ratings only about 10% of the time. Averaging all of my ratings at a brewery gives me my number to use for the Quality factor in the Place review (rounded to the nearest quarter point score for BA).
    AlcahueteJ likes this.
  40. spersichilli

    spersichilli Initiate (109) Apr 26, 2018 Florida

    I only really do a “flight” if I’m at a brewery I haven’t been too before, or somewhere out of state I get to infrequently. I get to Other Half a couple times a year and there’s always so much shit I want to try, so getting full pours of everything would destroy me haha.

    Flights aren’t a necessity but I think it is important for breweries to have an option for a smaller “flight size” pour, or at LEAST a half pour in order for new patrons to get a feel for the beers offered
    lucius10, meefmoff and AlcahueteJ like this.