There are two reasons beer drinkers go to that bar with 100 taphandles -- either to find that one beer they know they'll love, or they want to sample many different beers and send their taste buds on an adventure.
I'm the latter, usually.
That's not to say that I like to go to bars and only walk out after having consumed eight pints, but I certainly wish more tap rooms would embrace taster flights so I could maybe try eight different beers.
We all know what a taster flight is -- usually four 4-oz pours served to you at once. Go ahead, pick a pilsner, an ale, a Belgian and a stout. Have them all. Some places even let you pick how many selections you want in your flight. Want seven? Choose seven. I love flights.
It's one of my favorite things about having beer at the Beer Army Outpost. With such a good rotation of beers on draft, you'd have to put down quite a few pints to make sure you try everything. That's where those perfect 4-oz pours come in. And I know the BAO goes through quite a few of those.
I am, however, surprised that more bars aren't offering them. Sure, there are plenty out there that do, but I think it should be as commonplace as pint. The last few times I've visited tap houses that didn't offer flights, they did offer half-pours. To be honest, they're quite the ripoff. At both places, the half-pours were more like 8 to 10 oz, and after I got my bill I noticed that they were only roughly $1 less than the regular pint would have cost. Not only did I only get to try three of their beers (honestly, 24 to 30 ounces of beer is enough for one sitting for this guy), but I ended up (in my opinion) spending about $2 too much per beer.
I get the economics of it; it's an efficiency thing. If I'm sitting there drinking half-pours, then the bartender or sever has to serve me beers three or four times instead of once or twice. If I get a flight, they'll have to wash four little glasses instead of one. But unless there's something beyond that I don't understand, it really doesn't make sense to me that more places don't feature this consumer-centered offering -- especially in a day and age when bars have to be ever so careful not to over-serve, lest they be named in a lawsuit.
All that aside, it really is a great way to expand your beer experience. You can go to a new brewery and try two of their beers, while consuming 32 ounces (two pints). Or you can go and try eight of their beers, in the same 32 ounces (eight 4-oz pours).
So the next time you're at a new watering hole, give their beer sampler a try. And if they don't offer flights, encourage them to add it to their arsenal.