The SOMM Journal

April / May 2016

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36 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } APRIL/MAY 2016 { real somm stories } When it comes to straight talk on beer, Kevin Bartley's no draught dodger. Anthony Head: As a Certified Cicerone, what are some of your favorite resources for beer education? Kevin Bartley: My go-to textbook would be Tasting Beer by Randy Mosher. I'm a fan of Garrett Oliver, who is Brewmaster of Brooklyn Brewery. He has a lot of great books on food and beer, and he [was editor of] The Oxford Companion to Beer. It's an amazing encyclopedia. If you want to learn anything about beer, that's the thing to have. What impresses you when it comes to beer? I guess I have to say I'm a purist. I like beers that are close to the traditional styles. I don't like when people try to do too much, like add roses, flowers, cinnamon and tarragon to an IPA— just make a real good IPA. I love fruited IPAs, sure, but I'd rather have straight up malts, hops, yeast. Does a brewery's backstory matter? Some. I'm not one who likes to get too political about beer. A lot of the beer industry is pretty political—where it's brewed, where the money comes from, who's got this, who's doing that. For me, it's typically what's good, what's not good. What's your philosophy for service? The basics always apply: promptness, knowledge of the product, proper glassware, serving the product at proper tem - peratures. I'm a big fan of remembering returning customers' names. What's a challenge you're facing now? Everything is "local." Which is great, especially here in Austin, where there are lots of world-class breweries. But we want to remind people there are lots of great breweries out there. And just because something is local doesn't mean it's the best. Keeping everyone happy and keeping our taps balanced— we have 71—that's an ongoing challenge. Isn't that almost a dangerous thing to say in Austin? Hey, there are some world-class beers out there that people need to try. We try to keep things balanced and support the locals but Flying Saucer, as a company, has also been work - ing with breweries from other locations long before some local breweries were a gleam in someone's eye. Kevin Bartley Q: Q: Q: Q: Q: Q: GENERAL MANAGER, FLYING SAUCER DRAUGHT EMPORIUM, AUSTIN by Anthony Head / photo by Kirk Weddle

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