For most people, ordering beer from a bar is as simple as looking at the chalkboard and picking something that sounds interesting. The same usually goes for whomever orders the beers for that establishment: check out a distributor's price sheet and see what's available.
Lauren Bowen, the craft beer manager for Tap 42 (and part of the New Times 2013 Tastemakers series) had the rare opportunity to join with seven other industry professionals from around the country to head out to California and bang heads together to come up with a unique beer that they could all bring back to their establishments.
"It was a three day 'beer camp'," Lauren says of the experience. "Right from the start, when we all got together for dinner at their brewpub, which has phenomenal food, the eight of us talked for probably at least an hour and half on what sort of beer we wanted to put together. Of course, since everyone knew their beer, we didn't get anywhere!"
By the second day, things started to get going.
"We were advised not to make it a 'kitchen sink' beer, which apparently has happened in the past... and they don't turn out well. During the whole process, no one was rude, but we were all very opinionated about what we wanted to see done. We finally got down to hammering out the beer in a step by step way."