The Agony of Choice

German postcard: a man struggles with the choice of beer in Munich.
“He who has a choice suf­fers tor­ment!”

For sev­er­al years, we bemoaned the lack of choice in London’s pubs, and British pubs more gen­er­al­ly. Why did so many not offer even one beer worth drink­ing? Why did oth­ers offer three almost iden­ti­cal cask ales? Why no choice of bot­tles, at least? Slow­ly, things began to improve and these days, choice is the name of the game.

And yet, when it came to con­sid­er­ing tac­tics for a trip to Lon­don last year, we found our­selves pre­fer­ring to vis­it old haunts like the Nags Head rather than any of the new crop of craft beer bars. We just weren’t ready to face them.

A place like the Craft Beer Com­pa­ny, unless you can vis­it it every day, and have the funds to sup­port such a habit, can actu­al­ly be a lit­tle depress­ing. Even if we drink our­selves under the table, we’ll still leave won­der­ing about the beers we didn’t try, the half that nev­er was.

And then there’s the choice of pub. What if we pick the wrong one for our ses­sion and miss a gem in anoth­er part of town?

Don’t get us wrong: it’s great that places like this exist, and we enjoy vis­it­ing them, but, increas­ing­ly, we enjoy a man­age­able degree of choice in a nor­mal pub even more.

9 thoughts on “The Agony of Choice”

  1. I dun­no, the one time I’ve vis­it­ed the Craft Beer Co I whinged about the lack of beers that weren’t pale and hop­py!

  2. I wouldn’t know where to start in that Lon­don. Far too much to cram in (and as you point out, to afford). I think I’d have to meet up with a friend and have them give me a tour. We could start at the Nags Head, since it looks quite good…

  3. As a con­firmed beer rater I used to be plagued by this. I’ve dealt with this by delib­er­ate­ly just mak­ing my choic­es as best I can, and then after­wards ignor­ing the pos­si­bly bet­ter choic­es that might exist. Basi­cal­ly, just delib­er­ate­ly lean­ing back and not wor­ry­ing works for me.

    Only yes­ter­day I was in a pub with 15 draft beers I hadn’t seen before and was unlike­ly ever to see again. I decid­ed as long as I had the bar­ley wine I could live with miss­ing the rest. So I had a good time.

  4. I’m kin­da with Ed. Most peo­ple don’t like ALL styles of beer, so the choice nar­rows imme­di­ate­ly. And often you your choice of beer will be dic­tat­ed by your mood. So you may go for the most obscure or you may just want to play safe. Too much choice has nev­er been a prob­lem for me.

  5. It is a bit of a headache when you’re faced with a mas­sive selec­tion. I inevitably end up lik­ing what my friend ordered more than mine. I often feel like I’m miss­ing out on some­thing great when I walk out the door.

    Hav­ing said all that and despite the improve­ments, the over­whelm­ing major­i­ty of pubs serve poor or no ale. It’s far more depress­ing meet­ing peo­ple in these places.

Comments are closed.