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How Two Stones Pub Curates Its Beer List

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What would you do if you had to choose beers for a couple dozen taps?

It’s a challenge Ben Muse, cofounder of Two Stones gastropubs, faces every time he has to update beer menus at his five establishments. The problem is not too many taps to fill, but too few.

“I try to break it down into four beers each from six major categories, which are crisp, malty, hoppy, rich and roasty, fruity, and sour and tart,” Muse says. And it doesn’t help that he also is co-owner of 2SP Brewing Company. “We actually try to keep the two businesses separate,” he says, “so we usually have just two to four of our own beers.”

Two Stones makes it a point to serve American craft beers, Muse says, and he tries to keep them as local as possible. He then reels off a list of locals from Dogfish Head to Yards that occupy the 20 to 24 taps at each pub. “We try to have beers that are easy drinking and seasonal,” he says, “although we try to have one geeky beer for each category.”

Has Muse ever stocked a beer that was too geeky to drink? “Once,” Muse muses, “but I can’t tell you which one, because the brewer is a friend. Unfortunately, we had already ordered five barrels. After that, I decided to ask for samples first.”

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