Recently an OC Beer Society member and I were craving delicious Italian food, but knew that one of our favorite establishments did not carry craft beer. We called the restaurant to ask if they had a corkage fee–after all it was a Cantillon Bruocsella 1900 Grand Cru. The restaurant confirmed a $10 corkage fee and we were giddy with excitement of marrying some of the best meatballs in Orange County with one fine lambic.
We were sat at our table and when approached by the waiter, he offered us a house martini, a bottle of wine or a beer. We pointed to our bottle and said, “Thank you, but we brought our own”.
He replied, “Oh, you brought your own wine!”
I said, excitedly, “Actually it’s a beer and when you open it, can you please serve it in wine glasses?”
A moment later, comes the manager (picture the Maitre D from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, “snooty, snotty”). “Ummm, excuse me guys, but we do not let people bring in their own beer, but just to let you know, I will let it slide this time…”
“It’s a top notch beer”, I begged.
“I understand but, we just don’t do beer. It’s just not what we’re about”. (inside thought to self: DUDE you have Moretti, Peroni and Newcaslte on your beerlist)
“Are you also aware there is a $10 corkage fee”?
“Yes, just like a bottle of wine”, we answered in unison.
We ordered, we ate and we drank…oh man, there will have to be a separate story on the beer, I promise.
A moment later, “snooty, snotty” came to our table to ask if everything was okay. We said it was delicious and asked if he wanted to sample the beer since it was something he might not have seen and/or tasted before.
He whispered, “Um…no thank you. We don’t do that here”.
We then asked why people could bring their own wine and champagne, but not beer. His response was, “It’s just restaurant policy”.
My dinner date pressed a bit, “May I ask why the policy; there are no laws against it, are there?”
“It’s restaurant policy and it’s just not what we’re about. It’s like if someone were to try to bring in vodka, we wouldn’t allow that”.
“Well, I am asking, because I am a brewer and work in a restaurant. I would be happy to host a beer tasting for the owners, it just might change their minds”, my dinner date offered.
“Um, the owners are getting old and set in their ways, plus one is a recovering alcoholic, so it wouldn’t be a good idea”.
Okay, brain…help me figure out what the exact restaurant policy is from the conversation we had with snooty, snotty: Is it because they don’t do beer as he said? No, they serve Moretti, Peroni and Newcastle. Oh maybe they only do Italian beer? No, they also serve Newcastle. Maybe they don’t allow outside beverages…oh wait they allow wine and champagne. It sure as heck can’t be that one of the owners is a recovering alcoholic-they have a full bar in the restaurant! I can only think that this policy is based on beer ignorance and therefore is a policy based on beer discrimination.
On the drive home I couldn’t help but play the above scenario over and over in my head. It’s not like we asked the server to unscrew a Colt 45 or a Micky’s 40oz. If I would have betrayed my beer and said, just kidding, it’s wine, would that have been okay? What if it was a Lost Abbey Angel’s Share Grand Cru would that have been okay-it IS a barley wine? Hmmm…help?
This experience has inspired me to continue demanding equal rights for beer. I am going to being contacting my favorite establishments that have a beer and wine license, but do not carry craft beer, and ask if I can bring in my own corked beer to have with dinner. If the establishment allows it, I will be sure to post it here, on yelp, beer advocate-EVERYWHERE–these establishments should be praised for not discriminating against beer and should be recognized by the beer community as pioneers in the fight for beer to have the same equal rights as wine.
Local beer revolutionary