Not all beer is good. Some is faulty, some badly brewed, some isn’t to my taste and some just tastes really horrible. Last week I drank some horrible beers.
One of the beers was a stout. I expected richness, a smooth body, a roasty depth. I got c-hops and thin, weak coffee (plus some diacetyl...). It was the beer equivalent of a fat 50-year-old dressed up in mini skirt, high heels and plastered in try-hard make-up in that the beer wanted to be something else and failed: it wanted to be an imposing cask stout, highly hopped, stronger than you’d usually see, but it just didn’t even get close to being nice.
There was also a sub-4% best bitter. Golden in colour, it looked good, but it tasted disgusting – probably the worst beer I’ve had this year. I can usually tolerate or suffer through beers I don’t enjoy (I did with the stout, just about), but not this one. The first sniff made me wince. It was like I’d pressed my face into a herd of cows. A mouthful was fine to begin – the condition was excellent – but the taste was just unreal. Have you ever tasted hopped wort? It was like that minus all the sweetness. I love hops but this was bitter beyond pleasure and there was no sweetness, no malt character at all, to balance it.
As these were drunk in a decent venue, the staff presumably tasted the beers so they knew what they were serving. The beers were both well kept – no complaints there. They had that little snap of natural carbonation, they had life, they kept their foam throughout, and even though taste is subjective, I struggle to think that anyone could’ve enjoyed these beers and gone back for more.
And it leaves me thinking... If I ran that place and I put those beers on the bar, would I continue to serve them after tasting them or would I pull them off the tap? How much responsibility should the bar/pub have on serving beer like this? It damages what I think of the place as well as the breweries. But what can they do? Make the call that says they don’t like the beer or serve 70 pints of it and hope for the best? As the only fault is the flavour, then can the customer return the beer and ask for something else?
When a bad beer gets to the pub then who should deal with it and how?