5 (ANNOYING) BEER TALES

This is the face I make when they're out of a beer I want

We all have our little idiosyncrasies that some might find annoying and others find charming.  Okay, I guess everyone finds them annoying.  Point is, there’s a million things that each and every one of us does on a regular basis that probably drive those around us completely nuts.  Apparently being an Alehead makes you one of the most annoying people that any of your non-Alehead friends will encounter during the course of a day.  Did you know that no one cares that you scored a sweet trade and got to try the #3 rated Russian Imperial Stout?  I was shocked too, but seriously, no one cares.  Although we’re an incredibly annoying bunch, our most annoying trait probably lies in the fact that we find those around us even more annoying than we are.  Look no further than when you order a beer and everything doesn’t go exactly as you planned.  Have you ever been questioned on your choice?  Served the wrong glassware?  Maybe you asked a simple question about the hopiness of a Pale Ale and were told “It’s not real hoppy like Heineken, yuck”.  As  a discerning Alehead, you know your beer and expect those serving you to have at least a working knowledge of what their stubby little fingers are setting in front of you.  We know this isn’t always the case.

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The following 5 quotes have been relayed to me by bartenders, waitresses, friends, and even my dad over the past couple of weeks.  I’m annoyed by everything, because I’m a huge prick, but I think most people will find these situations at least a little bit irksome.  If you’re a beer lover though, I’m sure these would cause you to smash your bottle on the bar and start cuttin’ up the joint.

Scenario A: “The list is really long, why don’t you tell me what you usually like and I’ll pick something out for you?”

Scenario B: “Just get me a Lager”

Scenario C: “Do you want the glass dipped in Cinnamon Sugar?”

Scenario D: “What IPA’s do you have?”

Scenario E: “Are you drunk?”

Scenario A: Sitting at a table in a small bistro that I know to have decent beer, I ask the waitress what’s on draught only to find that they’re now only serving beer by the bottle.  Fair enough, now let me see the bottle list so I can see what my options are.  When I ask the waitress for a bottle list, which I know they have since I can see someone at the bar holding it in front of them, the waitress responds with a sigh.  “The list is really long, why don’t you tell me what you usually like and I’ll pick something out for you?”  How do you respond to that?  Oh miss, I like beer that’s awesome, do you have any of that?  If I didn’t have a dinner menu in front of me, would I expect to tell the waitress what I “Usually” like to eat and expect her to pick something out for me?  Yes, it’s cool when you can do that, but this is not that kind of place.  When I finally got the list of 20 or so beers, mostly mediocre locals with a smattering of imports, I picked out a Chimay Blue as it was clearly the best in the bunch.  I wonder what the waitress would have said if I told her I’d like a Belgian Strong Dark Ale with a malty backbone and a boozy finish.  I probably would have ended up with a Stella.  I’m saying all this with the tone that the waitress was clueless about beer, which she was, but I don’t think this scenario goes any better even if the waitress knew her beer.  Why would one assume that I don’t know my beer and try to take matters into their own hands.  And, if I don’t know my beer, why would I ask not only what’s on draught but also what the replacement bottle list is so I could make my own choice.  Maddening I tell you.  Maddening.  I’m guessing that if I asked for the wine list, I wouldn’t have been passed off and asked what I liked instead.

Scenario B:  Went to Fenway Park this weekend.  As any good Alehead knows, it is very possible and really not all that hard to seek out good beer at Fenway and most other large sporting venues as long as you’re willing to pay a premium and want the smallest size in the park.  I don’t mind paying an additional $2 and getting 4 oz. less, as long as I’m not getting warm, flat Bud Light poured into my cup.  The beer prices aren’t the annoying part of my day though.  The annoying part was asking my dad what kind of beer he wanted and the old man responding with, “Just get me a Lager”.  Now, my dad does like good beer but he tends to only drink two beers with regularity – Bud heavy and Sam Lager.  He’ll drink whatever I bring over, but I know beer isn’t really his thing so I don’t push it too far.  Before I got up from my seat, I asked my dad if he just wanted a Bud Light but the look on his face led me to believe that I might as well just walk home if I carry back a 20oz bucket of swill like that.  Back to the original answer though, “Just get me a Lager”.  On the concourse I saw Stella, Sam Lager, Sam Oktoberfest, Harp, Bud/Miller/Coors, Heineken, and Amstel.  Lots of Lagers.  See, you can’t tell someone you want a beer based on the fermentation techniques.  That’s just dumb.  The annoying part in all of this is that I knew what he wanted, same as I know what anyone would want that asked for a Lager.  If you’re using “Lager” to describe the beer, I know you want a light Lager and probably want something on the lines of a Stella or a Coors.  I’ll just assume you don’t want anything with “Light” in the name, otherwise you would have asked for a light beer.  I’m upset that I know you don’t mean Sam Lager and definitely don’t mean Marzen or Double Bock, but that’s okay.  In the end I came back with a Harp since I was already getting myself a Smithwicks.  I couldn’t bring myself to get him a Bud heavy, even though the serving was bigger and cheaper.  As I passed the Wachusett Brewery stand on the way back I wept, for I had missed an opportunity for a quality micro for myself.  Too bad the answer wasn’t “Just get me an Ale”.  Though confused, I would have made a better choice.

Scenario C:  Real simple.  Ordered a Shipyard Pumpkin Ale.  First question, “Do you want that in a pint or in the 22oz mug?”  I think we all know the answer to that, don’t we now.  The next question took me by surprise though.  “Do you want the glass dipped in Cinnamon Sugar?”  Wait, what?  No I do not want the glass dipped in Cinnamon Sugar.  Why the hell would I want the glass dipped in Cinnamon Sugar?  I’m still upset about this one, although by this point I’m kind of curious how that would have tasted.  The beer wasn’t all that good, but I’m blaming that on the frozen mug.  I hate fucking frozen mugs!

Scenario D: “What IPA’s do you have?”  90% of this quote is perfectly fine with me.  On the surface, it means someone cares about beer.  I don’t care if you don’t know the difference between a Pale Ale and an IPA or even a British IPA from a West Coast.  That’s okay.  As long as you recognize that there are actual styles of beer, you’ve got a leg up on probably 80% of this beer-drinking nation of ours.  The problem I have is that people who are just getting into better beer tend to lean on IPA’s and forget about every other style that’s out there.  I never hear anyone asking what Brown Ales are on tap or what Porters they have, just IPA’s.  I’ve been to bars with 20 taps and a huge bottle list and constantly hear that same question, “What IPA’s do you have?”.  It’s getting annoying.  I hear it from my friends, I hear it from strangers.  There are other beers out there my friends.  Branch out.  Then you can come back and have your IPA.  I’m already wondering why I’m listing this quote.  Did I ask this question?  God I love IPA’s.

Scenario E: “Are you drunk?”  Yes, now back off.  I’ll just assume we’re all in agreement on this one.  If you have to ask me if I’m drunk, chances are you’re already too late.  Enjoy the ride, it’s only downhill from here.

You might be surprised to know that some things don’t annoy me.  I don’t mind that you ask me if I want a lemon in my Hefeweizen. As long as you ask and I can politely say no, you’re doing no harm by me.  I don’t mind if I’m asked if I want a frozen mug.  If I order a root beer, then yes, I want a frozen mug that instantly fuses to my hand and the only way my hand will later thaw out is when I grab that plate that you just told me was too hot to touch.  For my beer though, I don’t want your damn frozen mug.  I wish I could tell you that I don’t want your tap lines run through a block of ice either, but that’s just being picky.  No, that annoys me too.  I guess there really aren’t that many things that don’t annoy me and I’m sure I’m not alone in that.  I used the examples above because they’re the easiest to remember, but there are countless other injustices that I’ll surely think of the second I post this piece.

So fellow readers, the Doctor is in.  Tell me what’s bothering you.  I’m here to listen.  What bartender pissed you off?  What buddy of yours brought over a 6 pack of Sam Light and drank your Hop Wallop instead?  What package store owner told you he had two bottles of CBS waiting for you, only to find that he already sold them by the time your mom dropped you out front?  Let your voice be heard!

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24 comments

  1. I’ve probably asked “What IPA’s do you have?” about 20 times.

    How about “I like craft beers too, like Blue Moon.”

  2. I have to share this: I worked at a Brewery for about a year and a half. About 70% of the time, people STILL ordered bottled bud lites (one time I actually offered to pay the extra 75 cents it would’ve cost them to buy one of our microbrewed beers.) So I was working a big table, and one of the guys had our Red, which happened to be my favorite regular brew we had. His friend tasted it and said, “Yeah, you can just bring me a Keystone.” WE DONT HAVE KEYSTONES. What fucking brewery sells keystones. Fuck that!

  3. C: I think I’ve had the Blue Moon conversation hundreds of times. Usually it starts with me spitting venom at the likes of Bud/Miller/Coors and getting a response of, “Yeah, I hate them too, that’s why I drink Blue Moon and Shock Top and Leinenkugel and…”

    Anonymous: I feel your pain. I frequent a brewpub that only sells their own draught beer and I cringe everytime someone asks for a Bud Light. The brewery now puts out a very light Pilsner in the Summer and I’ve seen the bartender just pour a pitcher and hand it back to the patron when asked for Bud Light. I doubt they noticed any difference. If asked for a Keystone though, I’m sure a slap across the face would have sufficed.

  4. Sip Hops (And you don't stop) · · Reply

    A). I’m jealous you were at Fenway. I spent my college years out there (In Boston, not just lurking around Fenway Park-although on a few Keystone-fueled late nights…I digress…) and love it.

    II). Glass dipped in Cinnamon Sugar?! Along those lines, I think Leinenkugels should consider serving their beer with little umbrellas. Summer Shandy? Sure, coming right up, now what color umbrella would you like? Salt or sugar around the rim? Sorry your husband left you for your sister.

    3). I really enjoy perusing this blog. It strikes just the right balance. It appeals to my own self-righteous Beer Geekery, yet gently reminds me of the reality that I know far less about beer than I probably should to be this much of an asshole about it. (“Blue Moon?! Pffff. Some people’s kids.”)

    *Clinks glass of ACME Obscure Top-Shelf Ale*
    Cheers to drinking up!

  5. Just a note … I appreciate Shipyard, however their regular pumpkin offering is on the bottom of the list for me in that category. I don’t think it was the frozen mug good sir … wish they would just make their imperial “smashed” version and no other because frankly they’re doing a disservice to pumpkin ales with the regular version. Just sayin

  6. Funny I just had the glass dipped in cinnamon & sugar with the pumpkin Shipyard beer this weekend and I have to say it was pretty damn good!

    I loved reading this! Awesome.

  7. Last weekend I ordered a Southern Tier Pumking and the bartender asked if I wanted caramel sauce drizzled on my rim before she poured; I felt violated. Note to servers: these sweet spiced seasonals DO NOT NEED MORE SUGAR.

  8. Unless you’re Nicole. Then it’s ok I guess.

  9. Every year for the past 8 years I throw an Octoberfest party. It’s become an anticipated event, and it seems like every year I outdo myself. I get artisianal sausage and a keg of good beer, so it gets expensive quickly. I throw this party because I love the season and it’s a perfect time to reunite with people I see sometimes once a year (at Octoberfest). I don’t charge a cover because they’re my friends, but I do ask for donations. I’ve never broken even. Again, I don’t mind because I love it. What irritates me is when I’m given beer in exchange for the night. HELLO–we’re swimming in beer and my fridges are full. I don’t need more beer!

    2. I have the ability to disappear when I sit at a bar. Granted, I don’t always know exactly what I want to drink, but I usually have an idea. The most extreme example? I’ve actually left a locally famous chain of sports bars/beer bars in Atlanta (it rhymes with Taco Mac Metropolis) because I sat at the bar–the only one there–for 20 minutes without a bartender so much as looking at me. Fine, I didn’t want to pay you a tip for something I do nearly every night (pouring a beer).

    3. So-called beer bars asking me if I want that in a frosted glass.

    4. “It’s like Blue Moon.” Or “it’s heavy like Guinness.”

    5. Not entirely related to beer, but bars that only serve really heavy food. I almost always eat really light food like a salad–a good salad, not iceburg lettuce with shredded carrots and ranch–with beer, but apparently I’m in the minority.

    Not an annoyance, but scary: I once saw a waitress try to use a corkscrew on a corked and caged 750.

  10. Kid Carboy Jr. · · Reply

    In response to promark’s #2:

    I’ve never understood stories like this–namely, because I could never, ever, under any circumstances be a person who just sat there idly at the bar for 20 minutes without getting what he wanted. I have far too much self-interest for that.

    Here’s what I do–I sit down, decide what I want, and then once I know, if nobody is serving me I MAKE THEM SERVE ME. Words like “Hello, I want a beer” are usually effective–significantly more effective than passive-aggressive moping or THINKING about wanting a beer very intensely and hoping that someone nearby is a telepath.

    As such, I never seem to have any complaints about service. The only one I could conceivably have would essentially be “I said I wanted beer and they wouldn’t give me any.”

  11. But remember Kid, we’re not all hunky like you. Some of us just blend in with the scenery and hardly get noticed. Plus, I don’t exactly look like a dude that really needs a beer. I probably do get noticed right away but the bartender just passes me by, knowing full well that the last thing I need at that moment is another beer.

  12. As for the Shipyard Pumpkin, Brandon is absolutely correct. The beer is an abomination. I probably wouldn’t be so harsh on that beer if not for the aforementioned Smashed Pumpkin that they put out (Damn that’s a great beer). I know imperializing anything makes it a million times better, but you’d think the easier beer would be a little bit better. I only ordered the regular pumpkin because it was the first one I had seen all year, roughly 3 weeks ago.

  13. A John Bonham-style pounding on the bar surface while clearing your throat and staring daggers at the barkeep tends to work as well, if the spoken word isn’t your strong suit.

  14. Baba Brewy · · Reply

    Scenario: I was at the Daily Pint, one of LA’s best beer bars, sipping on something good, probably a Wipeout IPA. In walk 3 douchebags and loudly declare “Do they have Belgians? I want a Belgian, bro.” Now if you knew anything about the place you’d know that they have one of the best selections of Belgian ales in all of Southern California, something like 50 in bottles to enjoy. From the common Chimay, to Lucifer, to Kwak and the Duchess, they have many great Belgian beers for one to imbibe and learn about. They proceed to order Stella…

  15. A big frustration/ annoyance has to be underpoured beers; at the prices we pay for top-shelf suds, a sloppy pour with too much head can rob you of as much as a quarter of your beer because of the shape of standard pint glasses. And if you complain about it, you sound like a dick. You can always carry around one of these little cards to prove to your server the human inability to judge volume by looking at shape.

    Caution: with the card, you look like a double-dick. But at least you’ll get your full and deserved beer.

  16. Baba Brewy: OUCH. I’ve never punched a random d-bag in a beer bar, but if that had happened to me on the right day…

  17. Ordered a New Belgium Lips of Faith series Le Fleur Misseur tonight. Let my (non-alehead) friend try it. She said it tasted just like Blue Moon. #thingsIhate

  18. Slouch, thanks for teaching me these two things I didn’t know about myself: I would completely kick the ass of anyone who whipped out a beer gauge like that at a bar I frequent out of respect for the servers; I really want one of those beer gauges.

  19. Scenario A: I suspect this is happening more and more often now as beer bars continue to expand their selections. I’m guessing servers assume that everyone is a newbie and, rather than breathlessly trying to rattle off everything they’ve got on tap, they’d prefer to just match your preferences with something similar. It doesn’t particularly bother me…as long as it doesn’t bother them when I say, “No thanks, I know what I like and I’d like to either see or hear the list.” I respect that they know their product well and I would hope they would respect a patron who did the same.

    Scenario B: Yes, this one probably requires an open-handed slap. Although Dads are exempt from the slappage since they grew up in an era when lager = beer. Also, they have a few more decades of old-man strength to call upon so it probably wouldn’t end well for us.

    Scenario C: I dip everything in Cinnamon Sugar. I use it as salad dressing. I brush my teeth with that shit.

    Scenario D: I enjoyed Doc’s waffling towards the end of this one. I have asked this question many, many times in a bar. More to the point, I’ve heard Doc ask this question many, many times. I think he’s just mad that his favorite beer style is now the jumping on point for most beer-bandwagoners.

    Scenario E: Like you said, if you have to ask…

  20. HopPursuit · · Reply

    Scenario B:

    I can tell you’re not from South Eastern Pennsylvania! Down here, whenever anyone says “Get me a lager” they mean a Yuengling Lager. 100% of the time.

    Yuengling is definitely a regional thing, but it is not a bad beer by any means. And it is available as widely as the Bud/Miller/Coors, for only slightly more money. A great college-student option as well.

    Try it out if you get a chance!

  21. Baba Brewy · · Reply

    @HopPursuit Yuengling is a great beer for the dough and it is independently owned on top of that. I wish they sold it on the west coast (I thought it was only in the Tri-State area) as I would make sure I always had some on hand. It’s proof that a inexpensive beer can still be delicious and anyone that opts for Bud/ Coors/ PBR when Yuengling is available where they live deserves to be beaten with a sack of doorknobs.

  22. I went to school down in Maryland so I’m way too familiar with Yuengling. I still grab a couple of cases anytime I’m traveling outside of New England to keep the fridge stocked with a simple lager.

    I forgot all about the use of the word “lager” to signify Yuengling over all others. Good call

  23. Haha scene A is very irritating. I would respond to her like this “Are you drunk? Just get me a Lager.. and P.S. I want my glass dipped in Cinnamon sugar.” Haha I wonder how bad that would throw her off.

    Anyways, Guys have you ever had a beer served with ice in it?
    Count that as Scenario F. I mean it would really skunk your beer.

  24. […] guy. Or in our case, give him a topic that really pisses him off properly, and he’ll write an impassioned, often hilarious diatribe on the subject. I imagine he then pants heavily and falls over, like the Warrior did so often after […]

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