Setting aside the cultural, epicurean and economic benefits the craft beer revolution might just herald a larger social good: the extinction of the dead-eyed bartender. Bartending always took an amount of skill, but it increasingly takes engagement. This is pretty true behind any normal bar, but behind the bar at a craft brewery, it is doubly so.
Craft beer drinkers have certain expectations of their taproom bartender. Beyond friendly and efficient, they expect her or him to be knowledgeable and enthusiastic, but not dismissive or aggressive.
More important, they expect a certain reality from them. It is a responsibility that the bartenders in the region seem to take very seriously. They tend to have an honesty that builds trust. They can appreciate, for example, if you like something they don’t and make the case for why they like what they enjoy.
If you think about it, the best of them are much like old-time-y bartenders, at once psychologists and philosophers.