Does every bar need a beer expert?
We’d like to say there’s no rules to beer; that it’s all frothy fun, sucking back on schooners and regular lager laybacks. But, the truth is for beer to be brewed, served and consumed at its best (meaning fresh and delicious every time), well then it needs a bit of guidance from someone that lives, breathes and sleeps nothing but suds.
Whether a bar needs a ‘beer expert’ or not is debatable. However, we’d say, without the right expertise in the house, things can get a little more funky and a bit less fresh. So your venue does need someone to provide some expertise in guiding you on your beer serving journey.
Here’s how and why:
A chef should always taste his food
No, we’re not saying you need a Gordon Ramsey in the kitchen but it’s the same mentality really. What we’re talking about is having someone that can control the quality of beer served to make sure it’s up to standard. Like a chef tastes the mushroom puree to see if it’s damn perfect, a bartender should do the same for his beer. That means they’ve been trained to pick up whether a beer tastes right or not and why. As we’ve mentioned before, beer drinkers expect consistency. So, if a beer is tasting a bit funky or maybe your beer lines frozen, you can ask your friendly beer nerd to get that sorted out quick smart so you can keep customers happy and beers flowing day to night.
Build the knowledge and the business will come
Understanding beer is all about recognising how fresh it is. Typically things to look for are the colour, aroma, taste and head of the beer . While it’s great if you have access to a Cicerone or Master of Beer, with the number of beers poured daily, it’s key for all staff working behind the bar to have a little bit of the good knowledge that comes with fresh tasting beers. It’s also great for staff to be armed with a decent beer repertoire so they can explain things like ‘the difference between an ale or lager’ or even better, take a big old deep dive into the flavour and aroma of the hops and malt. This might involve training days or nights to make sure you’re all on the same page but it will serve you well when go head-to-head with local craft connoisseurs. Having this type of in-house expertise on hand ensures customers enter eager and leave pleased, which means guaranteed regulars and potentially new business for any bar with a fair bit of beer knowledge.
Great beer needs great customer service
In today’s busy and chaotic climate, experience is the aim of the game, people. No longer can you get by with some nice mood lighting and a Goonies themed trivia night. At the same time, having an understanding about the products you’re serving isn’t solely about how things touch the tongue anymore. A lot of the time, customers simply want to feel they are receiving the best service no matter where they are. This means being attentive, aware and being equipped with a wealth of information at your fingertips – ready to hand over to the person that’s asking for it. This can mean the difference between a good experience and a great one.
How to get that ‘expertise’
It’s all well and good to have a long yarn about the importance of ‘beer expertise’ but where do you find these golden nuggets? Not everyone will have access to a Cicerone, so we prefer to stick with the age old saying ‘forget what you don’t know and find someone that knows the things you don’t’. In short, outsource. If you don’t have a beer expert within your team, find someone who can provide that support from the outside to train and build your skills. Lucky for you, we happen to know some people, so feel free to get in touch with us should you need a little extra grease and oil at your bar.