Saturday, January 05, 2008

How fast are they moving those beers?

The question to ask whenever you encounter a massive beer list (ours included) is this:

How fast are they moving those beers?

This is even more relevant a question if the bulk of the list is comprised of golden lagers from around the world. The more of those there are, the less chance they'll be fresh.

There is, in fact, a method to my madness when it comes to this. My reason for advocating that a small draft list include only one or two golden lagers is that because they're terrified of experimentation, most golden lager drinkers will happily settle for anything in the same range in the absence of their core brand.

That's why we sell so much Spaten ... and it's always fresh that way. That's why Bud and Miller drinkers end up buying a pint of Spaten, which is offered at full mark-up every day, and never is put on special. And, I have the satisfaction of knowing that while Spaten isn't my personal preference, as a beer it's far better than most golden lagers.

As for the bottles, the trick is to keep an eye on the smaller segment of the list that is made up of beers likely to degrade more quickly (most of the lagers and a handful of ales), while packing the selection with strong ales and lager, and bottle conditioned beers.

1 comment:

Amy C Evans said...

Roger: Sent you the email below, but it bounced back. Trying to get in touch.

Hi, Roger,

I found your post "Remembering Max Allen" ( while doing a Google search for information on Max. I am doing research on old line bartenders and the bar tradition in Louisville and, since Max was such an icon, I am thinking about doing a series of oral history interviews that are about him--interviews with people who knew him well, worked with him, drank with him. Everything in your post makes me think that you should be one of those people.

I'm traveling to Louisville next week and will be conducting interviews Jan. 14-20. Let me know if you're up for it and if you might have the time to sit and talk for an hour or so.

To know more about what I do, have a look at this oral history project I did in 2005 that documents bartenders in New Orleans:

Also, I would be very interested in knowing about any other bartenders you might deem on par--or relatively close--to Max, currently working in Louisville. I have mostly been hearing about Joy Perrine and have an interview with her on Tuesday.

Many, many thanks,