Breaking Down One-Star Yelp reviews for local breweries
From legitimate customers to incoherent utterances, outright lies and completely irrelevant remarks, Yelp can sometimes suck in a way. Did you know that people review Pacific on Yelp? One person said it was “nothing Atlantic” and another said it was “stupid”. Really?
Yelpers’ behavior was mocked in season nineteen South Park, although surprisingly there is no way to rate that episode on Yelp (yet). There’s even a local podcast made by longtime bar professionals dedicated to reviewing Yelp reviews.
No one, it seems, is safe from the potentially business-damaging consequences of keyboard warriors with a Yelp account – not even the generally friendly, laid-back brewery scene in Denver.
Here is an overview of some one-star reviews of local breweries, and what we can learn from them:
Aurora’s Dry Dock Brewing Company has been a mainstay in Colorado for almost two decades, but this person did not hesitate to give it the worst rating based on a small interaction.
Imagine standing in line at a busy brewery on a Saturday, and when the person in front of you is asked to provide the full name of a banner, they respond with “Anakin Skywalker” and then get upset when the bartender is not entertained. Geez, that would be frustrating!
The lesson: When a bartender asks for a name on a new tab, just give them your full name. This should be quite simple, whether you have been to thousands, hundreds or even zero breweries before. Leave Star Wars jokes for game night.
The next one-star offering is the 2022 Westword Best Taproom winner Bierstadt Lagerhaus. Bierstadt is known for making some of the finest lagers available, but this review is more concerned with the decor.
For those unfamiliar, the flag referred to represents the local prominent Comrade Brewing, with whom Bierstadt has collaborated on several occasions. At least Ethan liked the beer.
The lesson: Focus more on beer than flags. Or if you focus on the flags, take the time to really look at them. There’s a Colorado flag next to it
communistic Comrade Brewing flags, for example. There’s also a Rockies flag, which’s fine for us even though we’re still a little upset about last year’s Nolan Arenado trade.
The next reviewer did not even try the beer. Instead, they wrote an embarrassing little backpack about great people and metal music. This description of Denver’s Black Sky Brewery, known as a metal brewery, reads like something straight out of Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
The lesson: Take less medication before entering a brewery? It’s really hard to understand what happened to the reviewer this evening. You’re not in Bloomington anymore.
This review of Locavore Beer Works can be read as a minor and unavoidable accident. This is this common type of one-sided review that helps Yelpers have a bad reputation. The customer knows exactly what they want, but they are unable to communicate it and get upset by the server when it does not go perfectly.
The lesson: Sure, many attentive servers will notice an empty growler and associate the sample order with that growler, and tell you what’s available in case you want to put it in line with your samples. Many breweries will simply list what is available on their menu (it is unclear if Locavore did). But if the brewery really failed to do these two things, all the customer had to do was ask what was available. The customer is as lax as the server, but the brewery ends up with a one-star review here, due to a very small violation.
This one-star review for Oskar Blues Brewery in Longmont is absolutely incredible. The service is excellent, the food ordered was good and the beer was great.
The lesson: If you ask the server for their opinion, and they not only tell you that the menu item you asked for is bad, but they even give you a free selection of it, which directly improves your (otherwise “good beer and good food”) experience, you should consider giving more than a single star to your establishment.