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5 signs of a damn good craft beer bar

Written by
Natasha Hong

1. The bottles are well hidden from the sun 

Beer and the sun are not best buds. Sunlight can deteriorate the hops in a bottle and give it a flavour that beer geeks describe as 'skunked' – yup, like the animal. The next time you step into a café for a cold one, take a moment and observe the sunlight conditions: are the lovely sunrays pinging off the beer bottles on a shelf? Maybe order a coffee instead. 

2. The server doesn't like head (too much)

A one-inch crown of foam on top of your malt pop is perfect – any more and you'll find it quite hard to gulp down your beer. At a bar that knows its stuff, your beer server will first tilt the glass at a 45º angle, then slowly lift the glass upright as it fills. A good layer of head keeps your beer bubbly for a longer time. 

3. The glasses are clean

Do the bubbles in your beer make pretty patterns on the side of your glass? That glass is not clean (picture on the left). It could be oil or a gob of detergent slathered on the inside – either way, you don't want grime to add flavours to your already tasty beer. As you drink your beer, your glass should look like the one on the right.

4. Your beer-tender listens 

Ordering a brew you enjoy is like getting a bespoke cocktail. Your beer-tender will rather hear about the beers you've tried, the ones etched in your memory and the flavours you prefer than simply flog their fruitiest, sweetest strawberry beer. 

5. You become friends with the beer-tender 

A good bar will always be run and staffed by people passionate about craft beer. If you show a bit of enthusiasm for the beverage, chances are your server will be more than happy to tell you about the intricacies of their favourite brews.  

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