Monday, February 10, 2014

Auckland bars improving, but more education needed.

A couple of weeks ago I handed over some of my hard earned dollars for the privilege of trying a beer I was completely unfamiliar with.

De Molen Donder & Bliksem (thunder and lightning) has such an appealing name, it jumped off the beer list, how could I not try it. "Bring me a bottle of your Donder and Bliksem" was met with a bit of a blank stare and then a "huh?" so I pointed it out on the beer list.

First attempt a retrieving the beer from the back room was a failure, oops wrong beer. Second attempt was on the money but then travesty. This bottle conditioned pilsner style beer was unceremoniously dumped into the glass, trub and all. The bottle then promptly whisked away, which was a shame as I was wondering how fresh it was.

A bartender should know when a beer they are serving is bottle conditioned. They should also know how to pour a beer, this guy didn't even pick up the glass, he may have just upended the bottle for all the finesse he used. Now I'm not opposed to haze or even a cloudy beer, lots of beers are just like that. What I don't like is having all the trub in my glass as well. Distinct lack of head too (detergent residue in glass or does the beer just have poor head). Now I don't know if the beer is just poorly brewed or old or badly shipped and stored but overall this beer didn't feel at its best.

Nice to have an extensive beer list, bit sad if you don't know how to present them. I am kicking myself because I didn't have the guts to say anything about it. If only I'd read the guide to refusing a beer, maybe I would have had more confidence! 

The Brewers Guild Certificate in the Craft of Beer is a good start for improving awareness of craft beer but I wonder how many full time tertiary hospitality courses include a segment on proper beer serving? However I suspect many people who work in the hospitality industry haven't had any kind of formal training apart from on the job learning. Nothing wrong with on the job learning but you are limited by the abilities of your mentor, if they don't know any better then you won't get taught any better.

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