Restaurant with almost good beer


Once again, last week we found our­selves in a restau­rant which had made a bit of an effort with the beer, but not quite enough.

On the up side, there was one of each colour – Hoe­gaar­den (yel­low), Guin­ness (black) and Innis and Gunn (brown).

Sad­ly, the Guin­ness was the wid­getised draught bot­tle (fair­ly bland) and Innis and Gunn’s beer is nowhere near as good as their mar­ket­ing.

It wouldn’t take much to improve the beer offer here, with­out get­ting too geeky. Non-wid­gety Guin­ness Orig­i­nal isn’t bad; Hook Nor­ton bot­tled Dou­ble Stout or Fuller’s Lon­don Porter would be even bet­ter.

And why not replace Innis and Gunn with… well, almost any bot­tled ale?

We guess the own­ers are buy­ing what they can get at their cash-and-car­ry of choice, or through their wine sup­pli­er. We’d be inter­est­ed to hear from any­one who knows how this works, and what would need to change to improve things.

The restau­rant was the oth­er­wise very good Eat 17 in Waltham­stow, Lon­don.

11 thoughts on “Restaurant with almost good beer”

  1. That’s a shame. Last time I ate there there were some good beer choic­es includ­ing Coop­ers Sparkling.

  2. I think the prob­lem is that own­ers don’t know much about beer (if any­thing at all) and they are vic­tims of the mar­ket­ing like any­one else. I can’t speak for this own­er in par­tic­u­lar, but hap­pens many times that if you ask them why they have stuff like Guin­ness Draught they will say that it’s because that is what peo­ple like (or so they think)

  3. Dan – they had a lot of good beer in the deli for a while, too, but have grad­u­al­ly whit­tled the stock down to a few real­ly bor­ing ones. I’m sure they’ll crack it even­tu­al­ly – it’s obvi­ous their hearts are in the right place.

    PF – Innis and Gunn in par­tic­u­lar is mar­ket­ed as a premium/luxury/connoiseur prod­uct and cer­tain­ly looks the part.

  4. A pint bot­tle of Guin­ness with CO2 over nitro can be a nice accom­pa­ni­ment with fish dish­es

  5. In my expe­ri­ence, places that don’t know much, but want to offer some­thing a lit­tle bet­ter, sim­ply lis­ten to what the rep has to say. Here, the ABIB reps sim­ply inform them of their prod­ucts (the 2 local brew­eries I sup­port from my rep aren’t even list­ed on their sales sheets), even if they hap­pen to dis­trib­ute a small­er craft brew­ery as well. So they bring it what they’re told sells, and what they’ve heard of.

    Small brew­eries send­ing out their own reps to seek and main­tain accounts do them­selves a world of good. I real­ly think brew­ery sales reps are cru­cial for pro­tect­ing your inter­ests as a small brew­er in the mar­ket when there’s so much BIG­ness work­ing against you.

    So if you know of a good spot with not-good-enough-beer, call a brew­er and say, “Hey, I think you guys should hit up this account.” In a for­mer life, I fol­lowed up and lined up accounts on such tips from beer drinkers in the field.

  6. Paul – if I’m com­plete­ly hon­est, I find it hard to taste much dif­fer­ence between the var­i­ous Bel­gian wheat beers, but Hoegaarden’s good enough for me.

    Wil­son – great prac­ti­cal advice from an insid­er, there. Thanks! I’ve emailed a cou­ple of brew­eries just now, although some of them are bored of hear­ing sug­ges­tions from us for places to tout their wares.

  7. I think they are just try­ing to hit all bases at once – at yes, chances are they aren’t as informed as us. Why not ask them – or sug­gest some alter­na­tives?

  8. Geoff – we’ve all got our guilty plea­sures, and I’m sure you’re not the only one with a sneak­ing fond­ness for creamy Guin­ness. It’s the first beer a lot of peo­ple try when they start to get bored of fizzy lager and, although I find it bland now, I remem­ber think­ing it was almost undrink­ably com­plex and bit­ter the first time I had it. Com­pared to Fos­ters.

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