With swelling prominence in fine dining, food pairings, certification, and more, beer has ventured into a new world of sophistication.
Six years ago, Keith Schlabs sat inside a small Brooklyn, New York, restaurant, marveling at the intimate eatery’s enterprising beer list.
Though Schlabs was no stranger to the craft beer marketplace—he had, in fact, been an active participant in the craft beer scene since 1993—Schlabs had to pull out his smartphone and Google many of the selections.
“I had only heard of about 10 percent of them,” he admits.
When he asked staff about the options, he encountered intelligent replies and keen recommendations, servers later delivering Schlabs’ beer in a wine glass.
“This was a place focused on finding just the right beers, walking guests through decisions, and presenting them in a professional way,” Schlabs says. “And, honestly, I had never seen anything like it.”
Schlabs, like so many others, was accustomed to such things with wine, with sommeliers and servers detailing a wine’s vintage and taste with aplomb and accuracy. This, however, was a new beer experience for Schlabs.
Inspired by the adventure, he returned to Dallas and, about one year later, helped launch the Meddlesome Moth. With 40 taps, two cask ales, and an ambitious bottle list some 85 options deep, the chef-driven restaurant brought beer selection and sophistication to a new level in Dallas, proudly proclaiming itself as the city’s foremost home to fine and extraordinary beer.
“Chances are if you’ve seen it in a commercial, we don’t serve it,” the Meddlesome Moth proclaims on its website.
It’s representative of beer’s new wave, the common man’s drink that has become anything but common in 2015.
Edging up in consumer perceptions of luxury items, beer has entered the worlds of white tablecloth and staff certifications, food pairings and tastings, educational events and intimate experiences. Stepping out from wine’s lofty shadow, ales, lagers, stouts, and their brewed friends have embraced artistry, refinement, and a quality-over-quantity mindset to capture consumers’ imaginations, spur brewmasters’ innovation, and compel restaurants to keep pace.
“The beer world has completely changed,” Schlabs says.