So you find yourself in one of those snazzy new micro brew places and the taps seem to stretch for miles... which is more intimidating than your 7th grade gym teacher (let's be honest, Mrs. Wagner's lady mustache still puts your peach fuzz to shame). Before making your poor overworked server run rattle off every single beer until you hear something that sounds vaguely familiar and nonlethal, ASK FOR A FLIGHT!
Aside from the beer itself, and maybe 2fers, Flights are possibly the best beer related invention to date. A Flight will get you about 5 healthy sized samples of beer (4 or so ounces) ranging anywhere from 8 to 15 dollars. Of course I've seen flights range from 3 to 10 samples with smaller tastes. Basically, you've downed a tall by the time you're finished. Many brew pubs will have flights all set and ready for you to order... either house favorites, a selection from a particular brewer or even something as simple like all IPAs. Experts say to drink from lightest to darkest... but a strong hoppy red ale will blow my taste buds before a smooth dark porter so I always work in increasing order of hoppiness.
If you're in charge of picking a flight... mix it up. Even if it's four you know you can handle and one you're not sure about. The worst thing that can happen is you don't like it... and at least you'll know for next time.
And word to the wise... your flight will most likely come on a wooden paddle. No matter how tempting it is DO NOT run around pounding freshman like O'Bannion in Dazed and Confused. Trust me, it won't work out in your favor.
photo courtesy of Amber DeGrace via flickr