This is one of those elemental questions that in the end may well lead to not that much. It may be a personality test. It may speak to your experience or innate preferences. It arose from the article in today's New York Times that started with the very attractive photo taken by Piotr Redlinski at DBGB Kitchen and Bar and ends with this tidbit in the summary of the restaurant's vital statistics:
WINE LIST Totally acceptable selection, but much better to experiment among the 23 beers on tap and large selection of bottled beers that have traveled here from Britain, from Brooklyn, from Germany, from France.
Now, this is not all an excuse to post that wonderful photo but to point out a few things. First, that photo is wonderful, like a painting by Toulouse-Lautrec. If there were a concerted effort was really being made to promote craft beer, then more photographers like this should be employed in the task. Seeing good beer in a wonderful setting is - perhaps oddly - compelling in itself. This photograph may tell us more about this place than the text does. Second, isn't it wonderful how subtly beer has inveigled its way into the story. I don't agree with Andy on this point: the beer is not absent from the review. It is implied and even infused throughout through the bookends of the photo and the final recommendation. My thought of the year is that we need less of the "that saison goes with this scallop mousse" stuff and more of the message that good beer is normal and one should normally sit right there next to you. The article assumes that or at least tells you it is OK to operate on that assumption.
Better to have 23 good taps at one restaurant or one good beer tap at 23 restaurants?
I don't know if I know the answer to that but I know that I would rather have three good and interesting and different beers at 7 and 2/3s more places in my town. I, yes, may also settle for four at five with one actually having eight if you know who to ask. See, I will very likely never get to the place reviewed in the New York Times today but I should have a sense that the bit of beer culture found there should reside somehow in other places, too. Because, in addition to good beer being compelling and normal, the messaging should also be that it is pervasive... just as the ads once told us.