Booze: Tasting Flights (or the lack of)

I’ve never been to a pub or bar that offers tasting flights. Yes, really.

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I read a lot of blogs and see that in America, pretty much any bar will serve tasting flights which allow you to sample, for example, your choice of 6 different draft beers for $10 or whatever (I made that price up).

It’s a wonderful idea.

I have had tasting flights but they’ve been for special events such as:

Wetherspoons Beer Festival where you could get three 1/3 pints of any of their cask ales for the price of a pint which was around £2.29 or something but it’s not all year round and it’s Wetherspoons. [OK. Not that special]

We also had a 6 beer tasting flight with our Beer & Thai Food pairing session but does that really count as the beer and food price was inclusive and they were the only beers on offer?

Yeah, those both definitely count, I suppose. It just needs to be a more common thing in this country.

It’s great that most, if not all decent pubs over here will allow you a sample of a particular beer if requested and in some cases even shove samples in your face as soon as you approach the bar but it’s time consuming for bar staff and if tasting flights were available, they could easily pour a few samples, stick ‘em on a tray and take some cash.

I want to walk into a pub that has 20/30 ales on and not spend 10 minutes standing in front of the boards thinking ‘ummmmmm….’ before making the bar wench run around to get me a sample of this ‘oh I’m not the biggest fan’ then getting me a sample of that… I don’t take the piss when asking for samples like some people do but I actually want to drink something I enjoy. If I have six 1/3 pints in front of me (or even smaller measures would do) I’m pretty sure I’ll find one I really like and want a pint of.

I’d happily pay to have 6 samples on one platter just so I don’t have to waste time at the bar and I’d get to taste a lot more different beers.

How do you feel about tasting flights? Good idea? Do you know of any pubs in the U.K. that does this kinda thing?



  1. The only place I've seen them is at the Clog and Billycock but the selection isn't that exciting.
    I think they are a good idea, I don't like ordering thirds but if you got a selection of a few I might be more inclined to buy them.

    1. That's an awesome name for a pub!

      I feel the same though, I wouldn't order just 1/3 pint (maybe unless it's a very expensive third in like Brewdog or something) but y'know, a selection would be great!

  2. I like the idea of getting a flight of beers Nate.

    Especially for those that have little or no knowledge of beer styles or are nervous of taking the plunge for the first time.Does this happen much in the UK? Don't suppose this would ever happen on a large scale because the last thing over-stretched bar staff want is to pour multiple little tasters when others are screaming out for their pints!

    1. It doesn't happen much in the UK, that's my point really. It's a great idea.

      About pouring multiple little tasters... most pubs with a decent selection of ale do this anyway and it probably takes more time as they never serve other people while waiting for you to finish your taster.

  3. I love tasting flights and with the amount of bars that carry a large range of draught beers increasing I think it's an essential practise and all pubs that do have a large range on draught should offer them. The sad thing in the UK is that due to our archaic laws pubs and bars cannot legally sell beer in measures less than 1/3rd and until these outdated laws change it's not something that's going to become more widespread. The reason it's so popular in the US (most States at least) is that they can serve beers in whatever size glass they see fit (such as a shot glass) meaning that they can sell a large tray with a small sample of lots of beers for a lot less than a pub in the UK can sell say four 1/3rds...

    I think the best thing to do in a decent bar is rather than order a few thirds is to just ask the bar staff for a cheeky taster as most bars are happy to oblige and it's much cheaper for the drinker!

  4. In Leeds, both Mr Foleys and Friends of Ham do flights. I'm trying to remember if North Bar do. You can buy thirds anyway.



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