The other night Mrs. Beer & Burritos and I popped in to The Linkery in North Park and found one of the more unusual beer lists around, along with perhaps the highest beer prices I’ve ever seen.
The Linkery is a different kind of place. It does the whole slow food thing, for one. It also has an unusual tipping policy where they automatically add 18 percent to your bill whether you want them to or not, and if you want to tip more than that, it goes to charity.
We didn’t eat there so I can’t comment on the food, but we did drink. The place has six taps and when we were there, two were devoted to Ballast Point Sea Monster Stout — one regular, one cask-conditioned. The other taps featured Alesmith Nautical Nut Brown, Trumer Pils, Green Flash Trippel and another Belgian-style brew. No pale ales were available, Indian or otherwise. The draft beers are sold in 5-, 10- and 15-ounce glasses, with the large glass going for about $7.50 for most brews. That’s at least $3 more than you’d pay for 16 ounces of the same thing at most beer bars around town.
Then there was their bottle list, which had some nice selections at amazingly high prices. A bottle of Alesmith IPA, which goes for about $4 at your average bottle shop, was available for $13.50. A bottle of Alesmith Speedway Stout, which costs $10 at a store, was available for $23. A bottle of barrel-aged Speedway Stout, admittedly a rarity, could be had for $38. A relative bargain was the excellent and pretty hard to find 2006 Alesmith Winter Yulesmith, which was available for $12.50. Why a bottle of two-year-old, limited-edition beer costs $1 less than a bottle of brand new, commonly available Alesmith IPA makes no sense to me.
We had a couple draft beers and a bottle of the 2006 Yulesmith and they all were good. One problem, though, was that the service was very slow. With each round we sat with empty glasses for several minutes before we were able to catch a bartender’s attention. I understand slow food, but slow beer? Getting the check took a bit of time and effort as well. I have to wonder if the poor service is a result of the automatic tipping policy.
It’s cool that The Linkery is trying to do something different, but I won’t go back unless I have a lot of extra time (and money) to spend.