Bottom 4 Trends In Craft Beer

Summer's almost over! We traveled a bit. Saw some stuff. Drank some stuff. Wrote some stuff. Now we're back to our blogging roots here at Bar Line. With a brand new series! Every place on the web, including us, has a recurring "Top Something" available to peep at your leisure. And while these can be incredibly helpful sources of information, they tend to lack a certain vitriol/vigorous/vinegar-esque quality, which we find rather entertaining. So we're bringin' the V with the new, annoyance-based series Bottom 4!

IPAs

That's right, we're starting off hot ladies and gentlemen. The most popular beer style in the country is also the one that just won't go away. Personally, I have no beef with IPAs (they remain delicious and have yet to try and shake me down for my lunch money), but high demand and excessive market saturation has caused this style to lose its luster. The consistent, aimless requests for "My favorite IPA on tap" is the bandwagon drinker's most effective attack, and drops my wisdom stats a full 10 points. If you're unsure about which hoppy beer to try first, remember this progression to maximize your experience: Pale Ale > India Pale Ale > Double India Pale Ale, or least hoppy to most hoppy. It has an additional effect of +10 wisdom points when you apply it to a bartender.

Free Samples

BREWERIES offer flights, BARS don't in most cases. To get around this difference, bars will typically offer tastes of things in the event you are unsure about a product. Drinking establishments are not Costco, keep that in mind if you want to ultimately make friends with a bartender. If you're curious about a beer, or any other beverage, buy one! If you don't like it, return it. Everyone's palate is different and it may be a style that you're not acclimated to yet, good bartenders understand that. Unless they have no soul, they will trust that your drink and taste buds are not buds, and will comp you a replacement drink. Remember, you're ultimately climbing the beer mountain to get drunk. Don't wear flip flops and make your journey difficult. 

Localism

Specifically excluding beers from outside your locality because they're outside your locality. I'm looking at YOU, bars. I back repping your state/area code/hometown/street/address/upstairs room. I also back supporting local producers for fiscal or environmental reasons. Those semis ain't solar yet! However, if your 15+ tap rotation is stuff from a handful of breweries down the street, and is NOT diverse, you're smelling your own farts. And no one likes a bar loaded with hazy IPA's and a haze of farts.

Vague Statements

I will preface this section by saying that I firmly believe there is no such thing as a stupid question. Asking the wrong question in the wrong situation, however, is such a thing. "Do you have any ales?" "I only drink high gravity beers." "I love beers, but just ones with X, or Y, or whatever bullshit hops." "I had a beer I liked when I was in here in 2015, but I don't remember it, or any of your names. Could you give me that beer again?" Asking busy bartenders to decipher Socratic sentences such as these in 30 seconds is a recipe for disaster. If you're in a nice establishment, I would bet dollars that the people working there will know A LOT about the products they're serving and are eager to talk to you about it, when they know 15 other pairs of eyes are not staring them down waiting to get their drinks. Read the situation, and then ask yourself, "How much face time do I really have with this person?"

Tim Maher