When Will This Beer Tasting Trend Reach Maine?
With Portland On Tap just around the corner, I've been reflecting on my beer and wine tasting experiences, and I must say I've enjoyed a wide variety of styles. My extended family has hired local vineyards for private wine tastings and I've visited my fair share of breweries all across the country.
On a recent trip to the South however, I happened upon a bar in Charleston, South Carolina, that has completely revolutionized the beer and wine tasting experience. I was shocked this trend has yet to reach New England.
Pour Taproom has no bartenders.
Instead, it has 70 taps lined up along their walls, each with its own framed tablet posted at eye level displaying the beverage on tap (beer, wine, and even a handful of mixed drink options) and some brief info about it.
At Pour, you walk in and offer your ID and a credit or debit card to open a tab. You're given a lanyard with a unique QR code tag, and set free to grab a glass and start tasting. At any given tap, you simply swipe your QR code, pour however much you'd like to drink, and watch the number of ounces and price of your pour pop up on the screen in front of you.
The beverages, drawn largely from local breweries and vineyards, rotate frequently and are fairly priced, averaging out to roughy $7 a pint. With each swipe, your QR code adds the charge to your open tab and at the end of the night, you simply pay your tab and you're all set.
What I love about this system is that you can take the taster's route if you're feeling adventurous (or indecisive), or you can pour yourself a full glass if you know just what you want. It's a choose-your-own-adventure bar experience!
Back home in Portland, the closest we have to a pay-by-the-ounce taproom is the self-serve beer wall in Bonfire Country Bar, which is certainly a feature of the local drinking hole but not the focus. Personally, I cannot wait for this innovative new system of tasting to inevitably make its way up north.
That said, I'm excited to try the variety of beers that will be at Portland on Tap, which is coming right up!