Beer Tip: The Etiquette of Ordering Beer Flights #BrewedAwakening

By / Wine + Drinks / September 28th, 2017 / 11

Picture this: You are in one of your favourite beer bars. It’s after 10 pm and it’s rocking with indie music, perhaps funk, or even retro classic rock. The place is riddled with hipsters and ladies beer leaguers, and there’s a lineup at the bar.

There are three people in front of you in the line, and you are damned thirsty for a pint of cask conditioned ale, and then you hear the dreaded words: “Can we have two flights, please?”

Arggghh! No! It is bad etiquette to order beer flights in a busy bar, especially when they don’t do table service. If you want to analyse various beers to learn more about this fine and honourable beverage, do it in the afternoon when it is quiet, or in the lull between supper and party time.

If I had a pub I would shut down flights during busy periods, because I’ve too often seen that dead eyed look of a server that just got asked to pour their third flight in a row, when the pub is packed. If you looked behind you you’d also see the collective eye rolls of everyone in the line who just wanted a pint.

A flight of beers at The Tide and Boar in Moncton, New Brunswick

I love flights as much as any beer lover, especially when I’m in a foreign town or a new brewpub, but they aren’t appropriate for late night drinking, unless it’s dead quiet. Get a quick taster or buy a half pint if you are not sure about a brew, then come back later to try the others you were curious about. With no flights being served, the lineup will move super fast.

Following this tip will score you points with your fellow beer lovers, waiting impatiently behind you. They might even buy you a beer later…


Craig Pinhey discovered good drink circa 1985 at Ginger’s Tavern/Granite Brewery in Halifax and has been writing about beer, wine and spirits for 25 years. A Certified Sommelier and BJCP judge, Craig lives in New Brunswick where he runs his own writing and consulting business and is the beverage columnist for Brunswick News. He is the only person to have judged all of the national wine, spirits and beer awards of Canada.

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