I’ve been a Growlers patron for probably over 5 years now. I’m proud to say that Growlers is where I really began my craft beer drinking adventure. It all began with the Royal Order of Tasters promotion that Growlers runs. I began drinking different kinds of beers and learning about all kinds of different beer styles. Beers ranging from a pale straw color to the deepest black of night.
After you’ve drank all 132 beers that Growlers has to offer you earn a pewter mug with your name on it. Granted, you never want to drink out of the mug after you earned it, but it’s yours. When you’ve finished 5 cards you’re invited to the twice-yearly menu tasting event. Growlers changes their beer menu twice a year, once in the Fall and once in the Spring. Last night they hosted the Spring menu tasting. This is always something I looked forward too, until now.
Let me begin by saying I really like Growlers, I wouldn’t be a regular there if I didn’t. But as recent changes have really cut back my patronage. Slowly but surely it seemed like the Growlers beer menu moved from interesting beers styles to pale lagers from around the world. Sure you could find a decent doppelbock or Belgian dark strong on occasion, but for the most part the were golden fizzy boring beers. Then in August came the final death knell, they removed the Buzztime/NTN trivia from both of their locations.
An establishment I used to visit once or twice a week quickly became a once or twice a month visit. I can handle drinking the same beer all the time while playing trivia, but once they took trivia away they really took away most of my reasons for visiting. Sure the food is decent and I’m friendly with a lot of the staff, but a mediocre beer selection and no trivia meant less visiting.
So I went to last night’s tasting with a bit of hesitation. Because we were choosing beers for the Spring menu I knew this meant I would be tasting a few of lightly colored beers I disdain, I was just hoping that it wouldn’t be too many. Unfortunately my expectations were too high as approximately 16 or 17 of the 40 beers we tasted fit that definition.
I understand that it’s a spring and summer menu and that people don’t want to be drinking porters and stouts. Hell, I don’t want to be drinking those either. But just because it’s summer does that mean that every beer needs to be a yellow lager? Where were the American Wheats? Where were the American Blondes? I counted one Hefe and two Belgian Wits, but 4 Mexican beers?
It just saddens me to see a place that claims to care so much about beer put so little thought into it’s menu selection. I realize that you’re always going to need your Mexican beer and Light Lagers to keep people happy. I mean this is St. Louis after all. But when your top two selling beers are Budweiser and Bud Light why not use the other 130 beers to show off some real variety?
Coming Thursday, my thoughts on how to fix the problem.
Sorry about the crappy pictures, forgot about the camera and had to rely on the cell phone.