Have you ever gone out to dinner at a more upscale restaurant for a good meal and a beer and been disappointed in the beer selection? Just happened to me recently. There is nothing more annoying than a nice restaurant with a poorly thought out beer selection. In this day and age, you would think the owner of a restaurant would realize that craft beers, especially local craft beers, are big sellers right now; but apparently not.
My college aged children have been home for several days for their Christmas break and both were out for the evening. My wife and I decided to go on a rare date and take in a moderately expensive local restaurant (entrees were $15 to $25) we don’t normally frequent. This particular place has food that is mostly Cajun influenced. As we head out to the restaurant, I’m already thinking a nice craft pilsner or Vienna Lager would fit perfectly with a spicy dish.
Just after being seated our friendly waitress approaches and asks what drinks she could bring for us. I noted right off there was no beer list available – not a good sign, so I ask what’s on draft. She proudly exclaims, “we have six beers on tap” and proceeds to rattle off one pale ale and five IPA’s. Now, these were all fine pale ale and IPA’s; but I was not really in the market for those. So, I inquire about craft beers in a bottle or can; which to my disappointment, she rattles off all big beer brands and imports. Now, I am not a beer snob; but again I was looking forward to a local craft lager. At this point, I politely tell her I’ll pass for the moment.
After getting over my initial disappointment, I thought, oh well, I’ll just ask for a Samuel Adams Boston Lager. That’s a solid Vienna style lager and every restaurant on the planet has it, right? WRONG! After our waitress returned to take our dinner order, I asked for the Sam Adams and she sheepishly looks at me, sputters an apology that no, they do not have that either. Now, I realize that it is not her fault, she doesn’t have any control over what is available and I did not give her a rough time at all. But how does that happen? How does a serious restaurant with a good wine selection not have a decent selection of a local craft beers? Even more mystifying is why do they have five different IPA’s and not one lager on draft?
Needless to say, I walked away disappointed. The restaurant left money on the table and a local brewery lost an opportunity to sell a beer. Am I the only one that has had this experience recently? I expect something like this out of the bigger chain restaurants, but not an independent local restaurant. I would love to hear your similar experience. I have thought about sending an email to the restaurant to explain my disappoint and request they think about making some changes. What would you suggest?