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September 22, 2010

The Village Pourhouse is Not a True Craft Beer Bar

Just for the record, The Village Pourhouse is not a craft beer bar. Yes, it may have a few craft beers on tap and in bottles, but they are not a craft beer bar the way Rattle'n'Hum, Barcade or The Blind Tiger is.

You may already know this, but I didn't know for sure until last night. I had received an invitation for an hour-long open bar at the new Village Pourhouse location in the Theater District (recently converted from the previous "Joshua Tree" but not changed at all on the interior).

Here's what the invitation said:
We would like to extend an invite to all Crossroads Cardholders to join us on Tuesday, September 21st to sample a selection of 100+ craft beers and appetizers.

6:30pm - 7:30pm Open beer bar & appetizers
7:30pm - 8:00pm Extended Happy Hour

Open beer bar & appetizers followed by an Extended Happy Hour just for cardholders in the Upstairs Dugout & Redlight Room until 8:00pm featuring 2 for 1 Vision Vodka Cocktails, 901  Margaritas, Jim Beam Black & Cokes and Cruzan Rum Cocktails.
Okay, so an hour open bar where you get to "sample a selection of 100+ craft beers". Sounds good to me! Guess what we were offered when my coworkers and I got there? Free Bud, Bud Light and Well Drinks only. Nice! Budweiser is craft right? Oh. Well, at least its American, right? Oh wait, nope. Not even American anymore. Damn. Now I know what you're thinking; waaaaaaaaaaah I'm complaining about free drinks. But come on, they advertised sampling over 100+ craft beers! By the way, I don't even know where they keep these supposed craft beers. The crafts on tap were Brooklyn Pilsner, Goose Island 312 and IPA (both distributed by Budweiser /nitpick), Sam Adams and Kelso Nut Brown. There were also a few spotty bottles of craft beers including Smuttynose Robust Porter. But of course, none of those were included in the "Open Beer Bar". Later we discovered that upstairs where the appetizers were disappearing in nanoseconds (nope, didn't get any of those) there were taps of Bud Light and Stella Artois. So I dropped $6 + tip on a Kelso Nut Brown and then had free well drinks for the hour.

I've been to the Village Pourhouse downtown a few times and had similar results. Once for a sampling of Sam Adams Utopias, where they ran out before I got there and was told by the bartender: "that's okay, its disgusting anyway". All in all I probably spent $12 or so after tipping for the well drinks, and I'm okay with that especially since six of my dollars went to Kelso. But it seems to be a new trend in bars (and stores) to advertise yourself as having craft beer but then not really delivering. Its all a little unnerving for those of us trying to advocate craft beer.

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