Over the decades we’ve visited countless taprooms and tasted a lifetime of beers. Many of them have been served in sampler format—you know, a paddle of 4-ounce tasting glasses often arranged from light to dark. Depending on the beer, they typically run from $1 to $4 per pour. We’ve also seen everything from one beer to dozens of styles offered in a single sampler. Fun! Right?
Unfortunately, they usually suck. Allow us to explain.
Too many taprooms put too much focus into the paddle, which is often more impressive than the beers themselves. And while the rainbow of colors presented adds to the eye candy factor, samplers are almost always poured to the top of the glass, a practice that yields lifeless beers. Not to mention you can’t properly smell a beer without some head, which aids in releasing aromatics and directly impacts taste.
On top of this, in an attempt to fill them completely, servers often struggle to pour puny sampler glasses and end up wasting a lot of beer due to foam issues. This also makes them highly prone to spillage on the way to the consumer.
Our solution: quality over quantity. Drop beer samples into an appropriate glass that allows for some head retention and the ability to properly smell and taste the beer. Like it or not, first impressions are important. Show beer samples some respect, and your reward will be more happy customers.