How to Build a Beer Program Your Restaurant Can Be Proud Of

How to Build a Beer Program Your Restaurant Can Be Proud Of

By Justin Dolezal, Foodable Contributor

Most restaurateurs would agree that a judgement of a restaurant based on its beverage program would be a fair, if somewhat incomplete, assessment. To that end, business owners are willing to spend and spend big on expansive, curated wine lists, as well as thoughtfully-designed, creative cocktail programs. Alcohol, as the French gourmand Brillat-Savarin so eloquently stated, “is the prince of liquids, and carries the palate to its highest pitch of exaltation.” Educated (and, frankly, less than educated) consumers are well aware of this dynamic, and providing them with drinks that will enhance their meal can make a good dining experience great.

It's a shame, then, that so few restaurants give a fraction of the attention paid to wine and spirits to their beer programs. While beer as haute cuisine may be a relatively recent phenomenon, it's ascending to a level of sophisticated consumption previously reserved for fine wine. And why not? The wide range of styles and flavor profiles available in the current craft beer environment make beer a fantastic pairing partner for almost every style of food, from hearty steaks to light spring salads. The carbonation naturally present in beer scrubs and enlivens the palate, keeping dishes exciting throughout their consumption. And compared to the amount required to maintain a respectable wine cellar, beer is a bargain. The tips below will help you create a beer program that is diverse, exciting, and enhances the dining experience your restaurant provides.

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The 6 Beer Styles Every Beverage Program Should Have

The 6 Beer Styles Every Beverage Program Should Have

By Justin Dolezal, Foodable Contributor

The craft beer movement has exploded in recent years, in terms of both quality and popularity. The movement shows no signs of slowing down, as new breweries are constantly opening, offering a range of diverse and delicious products to consumers who are all too happy to pay for quality brews. The days of being able to offer a few different macro-beers along with Blue Moon as a “craft” option are over. This provides both a problem and an exciting opportunity for bar owners and restaurateurs: patrons want more high quality beer, and they want options. Luckily, there are far more styles of beer than taps available at the average bar, and selecting between quality beer options is an enviable task indeed. If your establishment serves food, you have an even greater opportunity, as beers can be selected which will complement and elevate your menu items. The following is a list of beer styles that every bar or restaurant should keep on hand.

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Wine Culture Inspires Rising Craft Beer Movement

Wine Culture Inspires Rising Craft Beer Movement

By Foodable West Coast Editor Courtney Walsh & Foodable Industry Expert Fred Crudder

Industry experts have noted that the emerging craft beer movement has recently hit an all-time high, with craft beer sales booming in the market. With a “sky’s the limit” mentality, the craft beer scene is always one for experimentation and has recently begun taking some cues from its so-called "rival": wine.

Foodable’s in-house sommelier Courtney Walsh and certified cicerone Fred Crudder present their own unique perspectives on some of the ways in which the wine and beer movements have grown increasingly intertwined.

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Vines on the Brink – How Consumerism Is Threatening the Wine World

Vines on the Brink – How Consumerism Is Threatening the Wine World

By Courtney Walsh, West Coast Editor

Throughout the various wine growing regions, certain varieties get much more attention from consumers than others.  As a result, wine growers seek to plant those varieties that will make them the most profit for their efforts and local vineyards are often uprooted in favor of planting these much more lucrative vines. 

Yet this over emphasis on planting and cultivating varieties that consumers are currently favoring has resulted in the abandonment of many local, indigenous varieties.  Receiving less and less acreage every year, with fewer and fewer wineries seeking to produce bottlings, many of these more obscure wine varieties are now facing extinction as a result.

Winemakers Fight Back

As many indigenous varieties face extinction due to wineries catering to current consumer habits, many local winemakers are fighting back.  Outside of the Savoie region in France’s Isere, winemaker Nicolas Gonin has developed a reputation for being an “orphanage for homeless grapes.”   Alongside other ampelographers (or those who study ancient grapes), Gonin tracks down and replants grapes that many, even in the wine industry, have never heard of. 

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The Benefits of a Wine-on-Tap Program

The Benefits of a Wine-on-Tap Program

By Courtney Walsh, West Coast Editor

While most restaurants are familiar with serving beer on tap, wine on tap still seem to be a foreign concept. Common throughout Europe, the idea of serving wine through a keg system has been slow to catch on in America. Yet recently, wine-on-tap programs have begun appearing at a number of restaurants nationwide, revolutionizing both restaurant beverage programs as well as consumer drinking habits. This new trend of serving wine from kegs rather than traditional bottle service offers a number of benefits to both restaurants and patrons alike, but are these new kegged wines simply a fad or do they represent the wine programs of the future?  

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