With last year's demise of Green Man Taproom, and our newly refreshed mission to accurately report on beer here in Colorado Springs, we're bringing back this gem...just so no one questions our newly minted motives. It'll be nice to see what the inside looked like considering that Local Relic now has a chance to truly turn it into a beer destination. They've got big plans, but more on that later.
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We had an invitation to join Green Man Taproom as they hosted their latest beer event two weekends ago. Boasting 46 taps to date, Green Man sports some of the best selection of beer in the Pikes Peak region. With many brews to choose from, the former Carter Payne event center and AME church should be the craft beer destination for all beer lovers from near and far, but when we arrived to the event on a particularly pleasant Saturday, the bar had more employees than patrons. We held back in our earlier review, hoping the inconsistencies were just bumps in the road of starting a new business. To our dismay, only some things have changed, but we remained optimistic an event like Match Game 44 would help provide a boost to Green Man’s reputation. This was going to be an event for the ages. Letting beer enthusiasts pit their taste buds against one another in a battle royale … which surprisingly it was not. It could have been the price of entry: $44. Forty-four dollars for a beer event? That does sound like the going rate for a beer festival these days. But at a festival, you know what you’re drinking even if it isn’t great. Keep in mind for the rate, entrants were guaranteed four rounds, each supplying a quartet of 5 ounce blind samples. That ends up being just about the same cost as a little less than 4 bombers at retail pricing. It could be what we’ve noticed as dwindling attendance at Green Man, where on a prior Thursday (their $2 half pint tour day), we found ourselves alone at the bar around 7pm. The place should be packed from open to close, like the Falling Rock of our area, but it hasn’t risen to the challenge yet. You may have noticed we did push this event a little, but with the cost associated with it and Green Man’s growing lackluster reviews, we were still disappointed to see that only 2 people had signed up. In an event that should have filled the bar, we ended up being relegated to the dining room table that sits slightly out of place next to the stage. It was like being at the kiddie table at Thanksgiving. Carrie Simison, general manager of the Colorado Springs Independent, also joined me as the “celebrity quaffers,” and was also disappointed by the turnout. Green Man supplied palate cleansers in the form of crackers, popcorn, veggies and some cheese and meat, but it was hardly a meal in itself. Prizes were awarded for each round, and winners picked from a sampling of beer merchandise and leftover CD’s from past performers. On Green Man’s website and all their marketing for the event, we had seen promises of special event t-shirts for contestants, but they were nowhere to be found the day of. We were presented with a full version of Green Man’s tap list and a green blank sheet of paper. The first round was fairly straight forward, with some oddities like New Belgium’s Coconut Curry Hefe, which tasted completely different from what I remember from Clips of Faith last year. Surprisingly, Green Man didn’t get too nerdy crazy and give us an all-IPA flight, which would have wreaked havoc on our palates. We were guaranteed 4 rounds, and the person with the best score in that fourth round moved on to the final round. So, we only really had the slight chance to try 20 of the 44 taps in actuality. Having a more concise list to pick from would have made it a bit more reasonable, but that really wasn’t my biggest qualm. Even if I did great in the first 3 rounds, when I bombed the last round (which I did) I didn’t get the option to move on. Not a big deal for me, since my entry was complimentary, but for someone shelling out $44 it could make a big difference. Carrie ended up making the final round thanks to my, and one of the other contestant’s, bombing of the final guaranteed round. The last round was actually one of the easier rounds as a matter of fact. I won’t bore you with the details, but suffice to say, Carrie almost won. While the public turnout wasn’t what was expected, the event did have some redeeming qualities for the future of the bar. Match Game 44 has already led Green Man to offer flights of their beers, which is a step in the right direction. Although, the lackluster turnout has some of us worried about their future. If these baby steps of progress are any indication, they should be headed in the right direction. I know some of this sounds a little harsh, but we’re really pulling for Green Man to succeed. They have so much potential, and if the kinks can get worked out, it will be good for the whole beer-loving community. Oh, and start spelling things right on the chalkboard you see when you first walk in. It was funny the first time, but when you serve a “Moraccan Chiken plate,” the joke gets old and people are less likely to get it.
UPDATE: I recently re-read this and realized I wasn’t specific enough. So I did what everyone should do: posted a review on their Facebook page. It was uncensored, raw, and, I realized, more accurate. Here it is: “I’ve waited long enough to post my review. This is mine personally, and doesn’t reflect anyone organization or entity but myself. It’s tough to continue to be a customer when “wishes” get answered months after they come up. Samplers and tasters should have been part of the game plan from day one. Glassware should have been too. You’re a craft beer bar, act like it. We craft beer lovers are always suckers for cool glassware, so why not use that as a selling point? Your staff knows almost nothing about the beer they are pouring. It’s a wonder they know how to pour it! In the beginning, scaring away potential beer nerds who wanted to work there with an unreasonably long application form was not a good sign. Green Man needs someone behind the bar who knows a ton, is passionate, and isn’t just a hop-head. The atmosphere is dismal on a good day. It is nice when you have live music, but at other times its a morgue in there. The bar still isn’t finished, with what looks like thick aluminum foil stapled all randomly. I totally understand doing things yourself, but be proud of your work! After misspelling some words in a few posts, most establishments would just laugh and correct it, not purposely misspell things ad nauseam. When you point out things that you think could help make the bar a better experience, having the staff tell you that they’re doing it the other way on purpose. It’s ok to disagree, but when you have 44+ beers, people might not know what they want, and might need a taster. The communion cups just aren’t worth it. Your servers waste more beer trying to get a decent little pour into them than they would put in a little taster glass. Even Old Chicago offers tasters. This is going to be my broken record moment, but GET A CASH DRAWER! It’s bad enough that you had a paper bag at first, but you obviously knew you needed to upgrade, so why not go the professional route? Shoe boxes are for shoes, letters from your ex-boyfriend and rocks, not money! Some retired policeman might have told you that was safe, but what about the appearance to your patrons? It exudes unprofessional-ism. I’ve wanted this to be the new happening spot, but I’m quickly coming to the realization that it’s not going to be. We may just be customers, but we know what we like at other places, and asking for that isn’t unreasonable. You may notice I haven’t talked about the beer selection, only because it is pretty exceptional. Although, with not enough mouths to feed per say, your beer is not going to be as fresh and tasty as it should be, and the breweries are going to start taking notice. Your food is good, but when it costs 12.99 for a sandwich, its not worth it. Give us some munchies, like pretzels…it makes us thirstier for more beer. That’s all for now. 2 stars is as high as I can muster.”