5 Questions for Sarah Pedersen of Saraveza

Here goes with the questions:

1. Have you ever put a beer on tap that surprised you with its popularity?
– I love it when the beer community steps up and isn’t afraid of anything new or different. In the last year, a few Portland breweries have made a Gose. A Gose is a style of beer that has a slightly sour, moderately spicy, and salty (like saline) profile. I love that you can put a beer on draft and describe it as slightly “salty, spicy and sour” and people jump at the chance to try it. It’s a process to get your hands on the traditional German Gose. We can’t get enough Gose to keep our customers happy!

2. What beer style do you think is under appreciated at the moment?
– The country is going through a craft beer revolution and I believe that Portland, OR among other beer-centric cities are at the forefront of that. That said, Saraveza’s customers are generally excited about all beer styles. Currently, there is a huge interest in beers that are innovative (different ingredients), collaborative (two breweries working together), seasonal, bbl aged, soured or hugely hopped. Also, old unique styles are making a comeback as brewers get creative and customers want to broaden their beer knowledge and palate. In addition, customers really appreciate a more delicate beer style that is made well – specifically lagers and lighter style Belgians, German and American ales. Oddly enough, beers that tend to fall by the wayside tend to be the some of the Classic malt-based beer styles that got this whole revolution off the ground – Browns, Reds, Porters, Dubbels, etc. Even more so Fruit (non-lambic) and Vegetable beers often tend to be overlooked. Don’t get me wrong, they all are consumed, it’s just that, there’s less buzz about a “really good Brown” or a “spot-on Dubbel” when there used to be a lot more excitement in that arena. I see the pendulum continue to shift back and forth and assume that these styles will reemerge with popularity.

3. Is there a beer (or range of beers from a brewery) you wish you could get for Saraveza?
– I wish more of the small breweries made Lagers, especially throughout the summer. I also wish we could get more great Sours. Saraveza has tap handles that are specifically dedicated to Craft Lagers and Sours and we are always hunting. Next to our IPA handles, the Craft Lagers and the Sours are our most popular styles and sometimes it’s a challenge to find new options.

4. Do more people buy to go beers or tap? Or is the majority of customers having one of each?
– It is a toss-up. People come to Saraveza for different reasons. Sometimes people come into buy a six pack and have a pint while they shop. Other people come in for a pasty and a beer, try something new on draft and like it so much they purchase the bottled version to take home!

5. How do you respond to customers who ask for beer recommendations?
– Helping a customer fall in love with a new beer is my favorite part of the job! It is important to find out what they currently like to drink and then understand if they are looking to try something similar or if they want to take a step in a new direction. Someone who likes “lighter” beers but is feeling adventurous for the first time might get excited about a Saison. For those that come in and say they like wine more than beer, it’s fun to let them try a sour and see if it sparks interest. You like a Porters, have you ever tried a Baltic Porter? A Smoked Porter?

We always have new beers on draft, so I believe it’s important to sample beers out to customers to help them get an idea of what they are getting into before they order. Or if they are curious about a more expensive bottle, maybe there is something on draft with a similar flavor profile that would aid them in making a decision on opening the bottle or not.

Thanks again for taking the time out of your busy schedule. I really appreciate it.
– No problem Sean, this was fun for me. In the process, I realized how easy it is for me to spit out the answers and I became a little introspective. Here I sit with my sleeping baby next to me while I think about Saraveza and the craft beer industry. I realize how much I love my job and how excited I am about my new job as a mother. I’ve got the two best jobs on the planet as far as I am concerned!

I also wanted to just say that my larger goal with Saraveza is to get our customers excited about American Craft beer. We’ve got this great new industry that is just thriving and everyone can be a part of it! I love the fact that getting people to enjoy Craft beer helps out local economies, inspires creativity, demands quality and in turn teaches people to become more insightful about what they consume. Viva la revolution!