I love going into a long-time establishment that’s recently upgraded their tap system to add a few extra handles. There seems to be more of these places who’ve realized they need to have a few more beers on tap to compete with the growing number of tap houses that are popping up in the bar world. Suddenly, they’re into a bunch of craft (and often psueudo-craft beers), in addition to the standard “Bud, Lite, and an import” selections they’ve had for years. Usually, there’s at least one or two true microbrews among the new handles and it’s great to see some shiny new faces staring back at me. I’ll quickly settle onto my barstool to order some local brew …maybe an IPA or a porter, or whatever they’ve acquired that doesn’t suck.
Inevitably, my selection is at hand and set before me …in a friggin’ frosted glass.
How disappointing.
For the past couple years I’ve gotten into the habit in nearly every new place I check out—unless it truly is a “beer bar”—of qualifying my order by requesting it be served in a “non-frosted glass.”
This usually starts the standard conversation, in which the server or bartender tilts their head and asks, “What?”
“I’d like a room temperature glass. Not chilled, please.”
“What?”
“Could I have a glass that is not frosted, please?”
“Oh, yeah.”
To some, this seems to be the oddest request they’ve heard since some dude ordered mayo for his french fries.
For the second act, especially when seated at the bar, the standard scene will have a bartender pull a chilled glass out of the cooler and immediately start searching around for some way to remove the frost. (Seems to me, I’d just use a glass that was NOT in the cooler, but that’s too simple, I guess.)
“Dip it in your rinse water,” I suggest.
“What?”
“Just dip the glass into your rinse water to remove the chill,” I repeat.
“Oh, yeah.”
After they’ve managed to give it a rinse, or, in some cases, spritz the glass with water from the pop gun, the barkeep will often start drying off the glass before pouring.
“No, just leave the inside wet, if you don’t mind.”
“What?”
“Don’t dry out the inside of the glass. The draft will pour better if it’s not dry.”
“Oh, yeah.”
Finally, I have my pint secured in front of me, at proper cellar temperature and with a clean head of foam. It usually takes about five minutes, if the bar isn’t busy, for Act III to start.
“So, why do you do that?” the bartender will inevitably ask.
“I want to taste the beer,” I reply.
“What?”
“If the beer is too cold, you can’t really taste it.”
“Oh, yeah.”
With a quick explanation of the difference between a full-flavored beer at proper drinking temperature and a beer clean glass versus a macro-light beer at cold temperatures, they’re usually satisfied enough with the simple rationalization that those beer dorks sure are weird or, even better, a slightly more involved conversation on the different types of beer they now serve.
If all goes well, they’ll have a couple new brews worth sampling and I can settle in for a few pints while I browse over the bar menu.
The best days are those when I’m not feeling too guilty for abusing the diet, in which case I’ll indulge in the house burger or specialty sandwich with some fries.
As my new friend comes over to take my order, I’ll usually request my sandwich and ask for a side of mayo to go with my fries.
“What?”