The other night after a long walk to see the festive grazing deer made of white lights and sparkly trees in the heart of downtown, we stopped at a bar for a holiday beer (as you do). I was all set for an Anchor Christmas Ale, or maybe even my yearly glass of Troegs Mad Elf. A quick skim of the menu, which was at least 8.5 by 14 inches with draughts on one side and bottles/can on the other, didn’t reveal much at all in the way of festive beer (my elf friend arrives next week according to the “coming soon” section) and so I started to read more closely for a second choice.
The bartender, noticing I was taking a while to read the list, said “Tell me what you like, and I’ll recommend something.” This happens to me occasionally, and for some reason, my guard always goes up. It’s strange, because I realize that the bartender is just practicing excellent customer service and that this is something that many patrons appreciate. In fact when he offered to help me, the man sitting next to me enthusiastically proclaimed how great the beer that had been recommended for him was. It’s a service. Apparently, just not one I want. I know my way around a beer list and I know what I like. The problem isn’t that I can’t find something I like, it’s that I like a lot. I can’t just tell you that my “go to” is a Belgian-style Wit, because sometimes (especially recently) I like a boozy imperial stout, and every now and then a well-balanced IPA or a good old-fashioned red ale sounds perfect. I want to know my options. All of them. So if you’re an ill-fated bartender in my town who has asked me that question, I’m sorry if I unintentionally scowled at you.* I really do appreciate the offer– but I’ll just keep reading, thanks.
*Seems like a good place for a reminder to tip well. During the holiday season, yes, but also always because no one deserves to be subconsciously scowled at.