There are two kinds of craft beer drinkers in this world: Fussy and Unfussy.
Let’s generously describe Fussy Drinkers as passionate people who love talking about hop varieties, breweries they’ve visited, which IPA is the haziest, which pilsner is the crispiest and which fruited sour tastes like fruit. Rather than old standbys, they tend to crave the latest thing blowing up Untappd and craft beer Facebook groups.
Unfussy Drinkers, on the other hand, just want whatever tastes good.
Regardless of what type of craft drinker you are: The new self-serve Pour Taproom in downtown Buffalo will suit you. Because the taproom charges by the ounce, beer geeks can sample and Untapp every single beer available on a given visit, while those of us who just want something good can drink a 1-ounce sample before committing to a full pint.
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It works like this: You walk in and start a tab at the front host desk. Then, you pick up a glass and a card with a QR code, which is used to unlock individual taps. Pour yourself a beer, wine or seltzer from one of the 56 taps and a per-ounce charge is sent to your tab.
Co-owners Joe DiCenzo and Matt Prime stumbled upon the concept while visiting Asheville, N. C. The company started there in 2014 and has since grown to 11 locations since then. Prime said with the bartender out of the way, the serve-yourself model promotes all kinds of positive interactions.
“We’re trying to create a community feel, kind of like a corner coffee shop,” he said. “We want people to come in, relax and try different beers. The open space in front of the taps encourages people to talk to each other about different beers, and the taproom hosts will be looking to promote that conversation.
“People might say, ‘Well a bartender can tell you what’s good.’ But here, people have the ability to literally pour themselves one ounce of something and see what it tastes like. If they like it, they can have more, and if they don’t like it, they can go on to something else.”
Ordered at the front desk, food options at the taproom include what the owners call “Buffalo staples”: burgers, sandwiches and chicken fingers.
The concept may have originated in the artsy enclave of Ashville, but the owners of the Buffalo locations are determined to carve out their own unique identity based mostly on the foundation of local breweries.
“I think we rival Ashville as far as the number of local breweries at this point,” Prime said, “and I think we’re a great conduit for all our different local breweries – especially the smaller operations that don’t have a big taproom. They’re always looking to get more exposure and we can be a conduit for them.”
With Pour locations stretching from California to Delaware, Prime added that the company’s wealth of local beer knowledge will allow for some unique, outside-the-area offerings as well.
“If we’re looking for an IPA that no one in Buffalo has ever had, we can call someone in California, ask them what’s new out there and get some of whatever they suggest,” he said. “These kegs are going to turn over quick. So, if people are requesting something, we can look into it and go get it.”
Opening Hours: Wednesday 3 p.m. – 10 p.m., Thursday 12 p.m. – 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday 12 p.m. – 12 a.m., Sunday 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., Mon