Q. Will knowing about beer help me get a bartending job?

A. It might. As you gain experience and start applying at different types of bars – you’ll learn a lot about beer.

Q. Will there be any questions about beer during the interview?

A. There might be. It would probably be a question like, “How much of a head would you put on a draft beer?” Or, what does “beer clean” mean?”

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There are only three short lessons in the beer section here. This introduction, and then in lesson two I’ll get you up to speed on the different types of beer. Lesson 3 is about kegs. Easy stuff.

Beer and wine are two things that you really don’t need to know a lot about going into an interview. You’ll be asked more questions about liquor, customer service, and work experience than anything else.

The following lesson goes into the types of beer, generally speaking, so in this short lesson I just want to get you up to speed on how most bars will stock their different types of beer – as well as a few general house policies all bars will follow. Some tips, so to speak.

What Kind Of Beers Do Bars Stock?

Most bars will have both tap (draft), beer and bottled beer. Some specialize in tons of draft beer and vice-versa. You just never know, and it’s a waste of time trying to memorize all the different types of beer. However, knowing the basics is a no-brainer.

Most bars carry around 10 – 15 types of bottled beers and 5 – 10 types of draft. Common beers as well as local/micro-brewed beers. Domestic and imported. It all depends on how much space there is to keep chilled beer on hand. And, the local customers will many times dictate which kind of beers the bar carries. Give this a quick read and don’t stress over it.

Here’s a common list of bottled beer:

  • Bud and Bud Light
  • Coors and Coors Lite
  • Miller, Miller Lite, Miller Genuine Draft
  • Heineken
  • Sam Adams
  • Corona and Corona Lite
  • Michelob and Michelob Ultra
  • Dos Equis

And a common list of Draft Beers:

  • The Buds
  • The Millers
  • The Coors
  • Sam Adams
  • Heineken
  • Guinness
  • Bass Ale
  • Local Micro-Brews

Honestly, if you’ve ever spent any amount of time in a bar (or watched all of the TV ads), you’re familiar with the beers listed above.

Beer Quick Tips

  • Always use a beer opener for bottled beer. Raw hands suck.
  • NEVER taste a customer’s beer!
  • Use a rocks glass for a “beer back.” (Popular with Bloody Mary’s)
  • Know your POS System. Beer sales and costs are easily tracked by management.
  • Always inform management of flat beer – or beer line problems.

What is “Beer Clean?”

A clean glass. Period. Don’t overcomplicate this, as “Beer Clean” simply means free of dirt, sanitizer, detergent, grease, lipstick, etc. It’s all common sense here, folks. It allows for a consistent head and “lacing” as the customer drinks it down. “Lacing” is simply a line around the inside of the beer glass (of light foam), after every sip or gulp.

How do you get a glass beer clean? By using the appropriate amount of detergent and sanitizer, and then allowing the glass to “air dry.” Simple. Many bartenders will rinse the glass with fresh water before pouring the draft beer. Never dry a beer glass with a towel!

Do a search on the internet and you’ll find all kinds of good stuff about beer clean glasses. Again, don’t overcomplicate this. If you get a question on this during the interview, just say something like, “A beer clean glass is free of all debris, properly air-dried, and able to maintain a consistent head.”

If you’re following along in the Basic Bartending Course:

Next Lesson: All About Beer

Previous Lesson: The Top 100 Cocktails

Back to the Course Start Page: Basic Bartending Course