Answers from the Expert

Answers from the expert:
Tim O’Brien co-owner of Pleasure House Brewing in Virginia Beach 

“What’s good?”

It’s one of the trickiest questions in the beer world, yet we’ve all posed it to a bartender or server at least once.

You know how it goes: You want something new, something local or maybe you just want to be poured something beautiful. Next thing you know, you’re throwing caution to the wind, leaving your destiny in the hands of someone else.

The better you know that someone – and the better that someone knows you – the higher your chances are at discovering the next beer to go on your favorites list.

Enter Tim O’Brien, co-owner of Pleasure House Brewing. O’Brien is the kind of guy you want in your corner when it comes to navigating the steady stream of new and unique beer releases.

Before opening the brewery this past fall, O’Brien spent six and a half years behind the bar at Lynnhaven Pub. So the “what’s good” question is one he’s heard quite a bit.

“It’s artillery,” said O’Brien, the consummate charmer. “Send one long, send one short, and end up somewhere in the middle.”

An ever-changing beer selection with something for everyone’s taste certainly helps the folks at Pleasure House get it right, as does a simple reply.

“What kinds of beer do you like?” is the way folks like O’Brien find a brew to suit you.

If you can narrow it down to a style, the choices become easier. If you’re not sure, a flight is a safe bet.

If you don’t want to commit to a purchase without testing, most places will be happy to offer you a draft sample.

The only purchases that truly involve risk are generally the sealed bottles, but that is where a bartender’s experience plays a big role. These products aren’t generally recommended to customers unless there is some familiarity, and this is a good reason to get to know the people waiting on you.

Maybe no one can definitively answer the question, “What’s good?” but if a pro like O’Brien smiles when he hands you a beer, chances are, it is.

By Dennis Harrison