Overheard Customer Interactions: System Error

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A couple in their 50s sits down at the bar. The gentleman begins flipping through the drink menu while the woman flags down the bartender.

WOMAN: What’s the hoppiest IPA you have?

BARTENDER: I’ve got a couple options. Are you looking for more of a citrusy hop flavor or a piney hop flavor?

WOMAN: What?

BARTENDER: I’ve got some hoppy beers, but they’ve got different flavors. What kind of IPA do you normally drink?

WOMAN: I… um… what’s the one with the most hop flavor?

BARTENDER: Here, let me get you a taster of something I like. Sproose Joose from Black Husky. It’s got a strong pine flavor. (Drops off the taster and moves down the bar to take another order.)

WOMAN (sipping): Oh, my. That’s got a lot of… flavor, I guess.

MAN (still perusing the drink list): Look, they’ve got something called Hop Whore. That must be the hoppiest beer. Why didn’t he give you that?

WOMAN: I don’t know. (Addressing the returning bartender.) Why didn’t you give me Hop Whore?

BARTENDER: I can certainly give you one of those. Would you like to try it? I’ve also got Bedlam from Ale Asylum.

WOMAN: Are they gluten free?

BARTENDER: Those IPAs? No, they’re not gluten free. I don’t have any gluten-free IPAs. I’ve got New Grist from Lakefront. That’s the only gluten-free beer I’ve got.

MAN (quietly): Maybe you should get a cocktail.

WOMAN: Is it hoppy?

BARTENDER: No, not really.

WOMAN: Oh. (Long pause.)

MAN (muttering): Just get a cocktail.

BARTENDER: I’ve got a couple of ciders if you’re looking for gluten free. (Smiling) They’re not going to be hoppy, of course.

WOMAN: Huh?

MAN (slightly louder): Get a cocktail.

WOMAN: (Stares blankly ahead)

BARTENDER: Should I give you a few minutes to think it over?

WOMAN: I don’t know…

MAN: She’ll have a cocktail. Get her an old fashioned.

BARTENDER: Brandy? bourbon? Sweet? Sour?

WOMAN: How sweet is sweet?

BARTENDER: I’m just going to make you one and let’s both hope for the best.