A friend of mine visited the Goose Island brewpub in Chicago recently, one of those ‘must-visit’ places when you’re in Chicago. Give it a read.
Interesting to note is that while the brewery was sold to Anheuser-Busch, not all the brewpubs were. The brewpub ties in well with my last post about beer menus. Obviously you expect a brewpub to have a solid one, but it looks like Goose Island goes above and beyond. Okay, now I’m thirsty..
As a fairly normal suburbanite, both here in New Jersey and when I lived on Long Island, I occasionally go out to eat and like to try new restaurants. If I hear about a new place, or am just searching through popular restaurant sites, the first thing I’ll do when I find something interesting is go to their website to look at the food and drink they serve.
Nothing annoys me more than when they leave off the beers. Now, I don’t _have_ to have a drink with dinner, but a cocktail or a beer or a glass of wine is often an enjoyable part of the experience. If a menu leaves off the drinks I assume they’re not interested in that part of the experience, and it often makes me choose a different restaurant. Another annoying habit is if the menu infers that they have beer, but doesn’t list them or elaborate on what type. Beer comes in vastly different flavors and varieties, you wouldn’t list your entrees as ‘pasta dishes’ would you?
Another restaurant menu sin is when they don’t keep it updated. You often see this in newer restaurants that create a website when they are first starting, but don’t have anyone managing it regularly. This is a shame in the day of social media; a Twitter and a Facebook page tweeting current specials and seasonal beers being tapped go a long way to drawing in customers that enjoyed the restaurant when they tried it, but need something to draw them back in. I recently experienced this at a restaurant in South Orange, NJ called the Gaslight Brewery and Restaurant. It’s a local place that both me and my wife enjoyed, with all the beer brewed on premise. However their menu online is out of date, and so is the menu at the restaurant. They had around 15 beers listed, but only actually had about eight of them available. That’s understandable as it’s a smaller place and it’s not always possible to keep up with that many different brews, but simply printing out a new sheet of paper and editing the website would go a long way towards letting customers know what the options are. Even worse is that the website claims they keep the current draft list posted on their blog, but it hasn’t been updated in a year.
The very best restaurants are ones that have a solid base beer list and a couple of rotating taps that they can fill in with whatever seasonals or trial beers they want. This type of setup suggests that the people running the establishment are truly interested in the beers they serve, and want to give the customers a quality brew. A tweet or sign stating that a restaurant has the newest Brooklyn Brewmaster Reserve is often enough to make me plan to have a meal there.