What makes a good craft beer bar?
TC Beer Dude lists the key elements including:
Taps Come First
Familiar vs New
Belief in the Program
Of these the most critical and most overlooked is no doubt staff training. TC Beer Dude has a good maxim that bars should follow:
This is the number one place where craft beer programs fail. The bar features 30 different taps and the staff knows nothing about them. To me it really comes down to one main idea: if you serve it, you should know about it. It’s that simple.
The servers are expected to be able to describe the food, answer general questions about its preparation, help to address allergy issues, and make suggestions based on their own personal taste. It has gone on for too long that we tolerate servers and bartenders not knowing the beer the same way. Just because you don’t make it in house doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be able to educate your customers. It is a bad hangover from the post-prohibition era before the resurrection of craft beer when all there was to drink was light lagers. Consumers knew the brand of beer that they drank and didn’t ask questions about it. The bartender’s job was easy. Now the customer has questions. The consumers want to know what our craft beers taste like and it is a critical failure in my mind if there is not someone available to answer basic questions about what a restaurant has available. If you serve it, you should know about it.
Simple right? Yet all too often this where would be craft beer bars fall short.