I just did a small brewery crawl with some college buddies of mine today and I wanted to hop on here while these thoughts was still fresh in my mind, because they almost always come up after a trip like this.
I wish more breweries offered 12/16oz singles, or at least variety packs of some kind for home consumption. I’d take just about any combination: A 6-pack with 3 unique beers or a 4-pack with four unique beers would be so nice. For a place I haven’t been to before, I generally don’t want to commit to a single beer, especially when the beers are going for like $18-21 a 4-pack! I might just be in the minority on this, since I think just bout everywhere I went over the weekend had at least one person who was picking up a case of different beers to go. Maybe I’m just cheap.
I don’t like it when breweries don’t offer 4/5 oz taster sizes. I’m generally “fine” when they don’t offer flights, as that’s usually just an inconvenience since it requires more return visits to the bar if I want more than 2 or so tasters at a time. At the prices I’m already paying, I’d rather just not bother than buy something and leave half of it in the glass (especially if it’s good). Yesterday one brewery we went to only sold “half-pours” (which were mostly 6-8 oz). At least one place today only served full pours. That place was practically in the middle of nowhere, so each of us had one beer. I ordered a sandwich and a second beer before we moved on, but my buddies were ready to move on after the first.
“Charcuterie” boards which are just basic store-bought meats and cheeses, quickly placed on a board for something like $45 bucks. I guess I could expand this to just brewery food in general. Some of it is great, and other times they seem to miss the mark or are outrageously expensive. This wasn’t something that we experienced this time, but it’s a gripe I have at places. I guess if people are willing to pay for it, but it just seems outrageous.
Just a quick follow up, obviously the laws where you’re at control a lot of what I might be complaining about, but I know for a fact some breweries in the same areas do things like singles, mixed packs and 4oz (and flights), it’s the places that can do that, but don’t that I’m complaining about.
Yep, agree with much of this. There was a thread earlier this year that covered the whole 6-pack / 4-pack annoyance. Many independent beer geek stores do singles, but personally it’s nice to get a fresh selection at the source. Plus, I cannot get my head around why not.
I agree with the ‘beers to go’ issue. I’ve only really been to Southern California but I can’t think of a single brewery bar that sells individual beers for home consumption, just multi packs of the same beer. They have lost money on me buying ‘take outs’.
Food however hasn’t been a problem, most seem to have a truck outside or a decent kitchen with a selection of hot grub, sometimes even healthy options are available.
Having just went through PA for a couple days I so wish breweries did offer mixed 4 or 6 pack. I did get lucky and find a cider place that did. I went to two beer stores and although both had make mix pack one was macros with like 1 or 2 local beers so useless to a ticker like me. The other one luckily had three shelving units, so I could have easily made 3/4 with singles from all the breweries provided.
In Southeast PA, I am noticing more mixed aix-packs and singles. Imprint does singles of everything and Forest & Main does mixed six-packs. I am sure there are others that are not coming to mind. I think a big issue is the decline of the bottle, so fewer and fewer places have bombers, 500ml and such to go.
The four packs only drives me crazy. There’s a newish brewery in Ontario called All My Friends that is clearly modeling themselves off the US hype beer model. We had planned to come in and basically buy one of everything to go because we were driving. They only offer four packs. So we got a flight and sat for a bit. Pretty much every customer that came in while we were there complained about it. As a new brewery in a tourist area you would think they would want people to have a chance to try their full range to find the one(s) they like vs buy one beer, decide they don’t like that and never come back. Make a mixed pack, charge a premium for it even. Similar experience at one of the breweries in Victoria - I can only fit so much beer in my luggage. If you only sell four packs/six packs i may buy from your competitors instead. (shrug)
I understand places not wanting to offer flights / small pours as it can be a hassle, but at places where you have to drive to get there, only serving 16-20oz pints is frankly irresponsible.
Yeah, I should have included that the food trucks are often universally good these days. My commentary was referring to places that have their “own” snacks/food, separate from the food trucks that visit. My other points were more universal across-the-board and this last one is thankfully less frequent.
I probably would have left it off if I wasn’t buzzed when I wrote the thing!
I did some browsing online in other forums and a common thing I saw, presumably from people who work at breweries and beer bars, was that they hate the small taster pours. I’m not sure if it’s just a disproportionate number of people complaining about it online or if is common.
Some breweries are really efficient at pouring tasters/flights. Some are as slow as cold molasses. The ones where you fill out a card or otherwise somehow mark the ones you want yourself and then hand it to them to pour seem to work the best. The places where the bartender stands there and takes the order themselves is probably the least efficient way to do it.
One comment I also saw frequently was that breweries price the 4oz pours with outrageous markups, often as a disincentive/“penalty” for getting those pours. That seems to track because there’s nothing quite like seeing a 4oz taster being sold for $3.50 and then a 12/16oz pour for something like $8.
This disincentive for small pours is what I’m seeing a lot of. 4 dollars a taster, 5-6 a 10 oz, 7 a pint seems common around here for regular stuff. Really odd, as the flight model seemed to really be a big part of breweries success over the last decade. Personally, I don’t want the small pours often, but that is mostly because they are such a rip off. Obviously bar staffs got a lot worse after Covid, but I think most half competent servers can manage a flight. But why bother really, when you can just have a sample for free anyway. I have heard it said often that most breweries are just trying to get the maximum amount of money out of one time customers, assuming/knowing most will not make a second visit.
I actually don’t mind paying a (reasonable) premium for a flight vs a pint. I also don’t (necessarily) begrudge a brewery if their goal was ’ I have heard it said often that most breweries are just trying to get the maximum amount of money out of one time customers" but I am not convinced that is actually the most effective way to do that.