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Craft Beer Bartender: How to Pour Your Heart Out

by | CAREER TIPS

Outside of water, beer might be the most ubiquitous drinkable liquid on our planet. From cafes to concerts to weddings, if there is food being served you’re likely to find that golden elixir. However, a lot has changed in the 6,000 years since humans first discovered our liquid gold. Like anything else we’ve consumed for millenia, beer has evolved to include a vast range of styles, flavors, and textures. And who is our spirit guide in this brave new world of brews? The craft beer bartender, of course.

Over the last several decades beer has gone from a cheap, refreshing beverage you drink on a hot day to an entire culture unto itself. It’s no longer just a “lager or ale” situation. When a customer enters a modern beer bar or pub they are bombarded with a host of choices. IPAs, Porters, Sours, Pale Ales, Belgian, German, Czech, the list goes on and on. 

For someone who is used to simply ordering “a beer”, this can be overwhelming. But that’s where the job of the beertender begins. Your task is to make a list of 30 beers across 10 different styles seem exciting, not intimidating.

Craft beer bartending is a relatively new hospitality job but it appears to be here to stay. To help you understand what it takes to work in the role, we’ve put together a quick guide to the world of beertending.

What is a craft beer bartender?

A craft beer bartender, otherwise known as a beertender, is a bartender that works in an establishment focused on all things craft beer. This type of hospitality job is found in breweries, alehouses, brewpubs, and beer festivals, just to name a few. 

If you want to be a craft beer bartender the main characteristic you need is passion for what you’re pouring. Craft beer consumption is growing rapidly but still remains niche compared to the rest of the beer market. 

The customers coming into a craft beer bar are far more discerning than your normal beer drinkers. If they just want something cold and refreshing, they can get a domestic lager at any bar in the city. They come into a taproom or brewpub because they are excited about trying something new. A great beertender is there to help shepherd customers through their list of beers and fill their glass with something they will love.

What does a craft beer bartender do?

Compared to other types of bar jobs, bartending at a craft beer joint is quite different. 

Many craft beer bars only serve beer. This means that working at one does not require you to have an extensive knowledge of cocktails and mixology. Depending on the place, you may have to pour wine or make a simple mixed drink for someone. However, the majority of bars dedicated to craft beer tend to leave wine and spirits out of the picture.

The main trait you need to have is a deep knowledge of all things craft beer. It’s your job to keep up with trends in the beer scene on a local, national, and international level. So, you must be ready to answer any questions that may come your way. Craft beer can be expensive so guests want to know they are ordering a beer that they will enjoy. You don’t want a customer to spend seven or eight euros on a pint just to find out they don’t like it.

On top of being knowledgeable, the job responsibilities of a craft beer bartender include:

  • Helping guests choose a beer
  • Coordinating with breweries to host events
  • Making suggestions based on customer preferences
  • Providing samples of beers to aid in decision making
  • Pouring beers with skill and consistency, in a manner appropriate to the style
  • Moving, lifting, and changing kegs or boxes of up to 25kg 
  • Cleaning and maintaining all beer lines to ensure the cleanest taste
  • Taking orders and processing payments

What is the career path of a beertender?

If you want to make a living out of craft beer but aren’t interested in becoming a brewmaster this is the right career path for you. The main requirements you need to start the role is some basic experience working as a bartender and palpable passion for craft beer. The latter is perhaps even more important than the experience. You can learn to pour a proper pint, but it’s hard to teach someone to be passionate. That has to come from within.

After you’ve got your first job as a craft beer bartender, you have some options ahead of you. You could look to move up the ladder, either at your current bar or somewhere else, and become the bar manager and beer buyer. 

The role of beer buyer is an incredibly exciting position as you are the one who is responsible for choosing all of the beers you serve. This is your opportunity to curate the best selection of beers you can find and show your taste to the world. Craft beer bars live and die on their curated menus so the job of a beer buyer is one of the most influential in the scene.

In terms of education, it isn’t necessary to have a university background to become a beertender. However, you must be eloquent enough to speak about the beer with confidence and clarity. And, if you want to move up the career path, it’s a good idea to take a course to build your skills and knowledge regarding craft beer.

The world of hospitality is wide ranging and includes everything from beer experts to party planners. On Hosco, we have a variety of exciting opportunities in nearly every sector of the industry so there’s bound to be one that’s right for you. Check out the open positions available on our platform and find your dream hospitality job today!

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