Beer? In our office? It’s more likely than you’d think. (Or, if you’ve been to our office, especially at beer thirty, it’s exactly as likely as you’d think.)
For those who aren't in the know: We're lucky enough to have not one, but two kegs at the office (one with the craft beer du jour and the other with Bud Light) that are generally opened at the end of the work day so interested team members can consume a glass or two of foamy goodness. (Jealous? You don't have to to be.)
Here are a few big lessons we’ve learned from having a keg onsite:
Time is relative.
How early is too early to open the keg? Firespringers weigh in:
“Before I've had my morning caffeine.”
“Too early only applies to waking up.”
“People frown on asking to open the keg before 10 a.m. Parents just don't understand.”
A more sensible take: “The trick is we have to work hard to play hard—anything before 3 p.m. seems excessive,” say Michaela. “I have work to do. And I might keep doing it even after I snag a beer.”
Recent hire Holly’s past workplace didn’t offer a keg (shocking!), but she’s noticed she’s in less of a hurry to leave at the end of the day with the promise of suds as a reward for her work ethic. “Even on Fridays, I am content continuing to work while enjoying a nice cold beer.”
You gotta help a brotha/sista out.
Brophy says what goes around comes around, at least where the keg is concerned. “Karma is real...offer to fill someone's glass or do so if asked.”
Those in closest proximity to the keg are often called upon for refills. Of course, a true Firespringer has the backs of team members who haven’t yet made their way to the breakroom.
“If your fellow team member is stuck on the phone and the keg is open, bring them a beer! They will likely return the favor when you need it most,” Katie assures. “And if the keg runs dry, lock it up and put an empty cup over the handle. Don't make other people look like idiots trying to fill their glass from a dry keg—there is no greater disappointment.”
Don’t underestimate the power of the pour.
If you’re one of the aforementioned people being asked to fill one up for a friend and you’re unaccustomed to the art of the pour, Murph recommends having a buddy show you the ropes.
Or take Ben’s advice: “To avoid too much foam, 1) turn your glass as horizontal as it will go while still able to capture beer, 2) start pouring, 3) once beer is just about to spill over the edge of the glass, start to slowly decrease the horizontal angle until the glass is upright, 4) finishing pouring to the desired amount/height, and 5) once you have steps 1–4 down, always pour beers for others!”
It’s fun to try new things!
“We have to accommodate a wide range of tastes, including those who aren't beer connoisseurs but still want something tastier than Bud Light,” Ben says. “It results in a lot of relatively safe beers.”
Brophy encourages keg aficionados not to be afraid of hops, and reminds us that dark doesn't mean heavy.
Katie agrees. “Don't shy away from trying a new beer just because it's an IPA or it has 'Cappuccino' in the name. It's free. Everybody wins! And you might just surprise yourself with a new favorite.”
Some beers are better than others.
Beers that we look back on with rose-colored glasses (or maybe just beer goggles) include: Zipline Kolsch, Brickway Coffee Vanilla Stout, Goose Island 312, Zipline Oatmeal Porter, Breckenridge Coffee Stout, Bell’s IPA, Empyrean Brewing's Peanut Butter Porter, Boulevard Wheat, Blue Moon Honey Wheat and Deschutes Fresh Squeezed.
Other beers have gone down in infamy. As a rule, fruity beers fall flat at the ‘spring, and a single beer still haunts the dreams of all the keg lovers. Katie refers to it as “the peach abomination we choked down last summer.” Ben describes it as “a heinous combination of lemon, peach and...pralines?”
“Nobody ever finished a whole glass,” Mel recalls. “It took us forever to go through it.”
But all beers are good (when enjoyed responsibly).
“Don’t look a gift beer in the mouth,” Brophy advises.
Of course, the party has to end sometime. You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay at your workplace drinking all night.
Jeff cautions: “With great reward comes great responsibility! Someone has to be the gatekeeper and open and close the tap. If you open it, you close it.”
According to Nicole (and our legal department), safety is key. “Don't drink two beers in 20 minutes and then drive home. Not cool. If you can drink a beer that fast, you need a darker, more flavorful beer, not yellow water. Beer should be savored, not slammed.”
Graham said he uses the following limerick to remember the rules of the keg:
There once was a man from Nantucket
Who could drink his beer by the bucket
He walked through Firespring's door
But it wasn't quite four
And he exclaimed, “I should really moderate my alcohol consumption in accordance with the rules set forth in the Firespring team member handbook.”