A group of friends were recently touring the Scottish Highlands, and one night stayed in a bunkhouse close to a hotel in a remote location on the North-West coast. They went in and were pleased to see a handpump on the bar, and so ordered some pints which they took outside to drink. However, apparently the beer was so vile that they just left it on the table and walked out.
Now, I wasn’t there, and so don’t know the precise details, and for the same reason I won’t name the establishment concerned. However, given that they are not exactly a bunch of shrinking violets, I was very surprised that they hadn’t walked back in and asked for it either to be changed or a refund given. I know sometimes you feel that you just can’t be arsed, particularly if the beer’s only borderline returnable and it’s somewhere you won’t be going again. I’ve occasionally left near-full pints and walked away that in a familiar pub I would undoubtedly have returned with a comment like “sorry, but this really isn’t on very good form today”.
But, to my mind, if beer is obviously sour or murky, then really it’s almost your duty to take it back and politely request that something should be done about it. British people are still too often unwilling to “make a fuss” or “cause a scene”, and this reluctance to point out poor beer ultimately does the reputation of real ale no good. On several occasions I’ve seen people – even CAMRA members – struggling through seriously below-par pints that really should be sent straight back.
Incidentally, the other day I was given a distinctly hazy pint in a Wetherspoons that I know many would have grudgingly put up with, but I took it back and had it changed without demur.