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Drink614 throwback: Remember when craft beer wasn’t on tap?

Drink614 throwback: Remember when craft beer wasn’t on tap?

Steve Croyle

You kids these days, don’t know about the struggle. You walk into most bars and there are 30, 40, even 50 tap handles behind the bar. It wasn’t always that way. Have you ever walked into a bar to find out they don’t have any craft beer on tap?  I get downright salty. I’ve been known to storm out in a pissy little huff, pouting all the way to the next bar, but there was a time when you actually felt stupid for asking. Craft was just too new, and without an abundance of local brewers on hand, the high end beer was a tough sell.

Even your favorite craft beer haunts today once eschewed craft as a silly fad.  You might know Bob’s Bar as a destination for craft beer, but it wasn’t all that long ago The Cultural Hub of the Midwest had nothing but Stroh’s on tap. The place looked, smelled and felt like a lounge in a VA Clinic, full of  grouchy old men, smoking Pall Malls, while their oxygen tanks pumped O2 into their shriveled, jerky-like lungs. It was like drinking in purgatory.

The greybeards you run into from time to time helped pave the way. Back in the day, when you went to a bar that didn’t have craft beer, you pestered the bartenders, and asked to talk to the manager. You let them know you liked craft beer, and that they needed to get with the program. Then you walked the hell out, spending nary a penny, taking your business elsewhere.

There are still bars out there resisting the craft beer movement. Some are straight-up weenies about it, thinking that there’s some nostalgic charm in bucking the trend because they still think craft beer is about mustache-waxing hipsters who rely on subsidies from mommy and daddy to buy beard oil. That’s sooooo 2004, but they don’t know it.

That’s where you come in, young beer lover. You have to pick up that guidon, and keep leading the charge. Don’t sheepishly settle for some macro-brewed crap when a bar rebuffs your craft beer query, stand up, and demand they do better. Odds are pretty good there’s a perfectly fine craft brewer just a few miles away, so supporting craft ought to be seen as neighborly.  Like Gandhi said, be the change you want to see in your local bar’s beer selection.


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