I was at a restaurant last night and overheard a server indicating to the bartender a particular beer did not seem fresh and what I observed was interesting. Before I tell the rest of that story I remember once a group of us were served a Pilsner Urquell which was so incredibly strong with rotten eggs (hydrogen-sulfide H2S) it was sickening and undrinkable. It nearly took an act of congress to get them to realize the beer was bad and take if off. Another time just after I gave a BJCP exam we went to a local taproom and the beer was off, we all agree, the manager basically ignored out statements. That might explain why I have not been back. Not too long ago I found and off pint and told the manage and sent notes to many on the brewing staff of that particular brewery. I never heard anything from the staff of the brewery, although that manager did indicate he would check it out the beer.
Back to last night. The bartender did not check the beer at all, they asked another patron who had it how it tasted to them and that person indicated it was fine. What I find flawed with that approach is the two beers were not poured at the same time and so something could have happened. It probably did not and the beer was probably fine, but the bartender should have tried the beer and decided if the beer was acceptable or not. I’m not sure what they teach in the Cicerone program, but I am pretty sure there must be some methodology for dealing with complaints of off-flavors and aromas in beer which is served. I know if it were my establishment I would immediately taste the beer and determine if corrective action needed to be taken. Since that didn’t happen last night I lost some faith in that establishment. I’ve never had a bad beer there, but should I happen to get one I’ll know somewhere in the back of my head they aren’t going to do anything about it and that is kinda sad.