Since 1995, The Flying Saucer Draught Emporium has been “serving good beer to good people” in Columbia – and that’s not just its catchphrase.
With a selection of more than 200 global and local beers, a popular UFO Club and servers who are knowledgeable about ales and lagers, its not hard to see why this place has become a mainstay in the Vista among local beer drinkers.
“We’ve got a really neat atmosphere that allows us to have all these regulars who become friends, and then they become friends with us,” said Brandy Hagman, one of the assistant managers who also works as a bartender. “A lot of them were at my wedding. We just have wonderful people who frequent us all the time.”
Hagman has been with Flying Saucer for 10 years and, admittedly, was not always a big beer drinker. But Flying Saucer made her a believer in beer. And she’s sure it can do that for anyone who wants to explore the vast flavor profiles it has to offer.
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“One thing that’s really great about having such an expansive tap wall – 81 beers on tap, with an additional 140 to 150 in bottles – we’re able to offer samples and ask our guests who really haven’t ventured into beer what it is they like to drink,” she said. “Another thing that really gives us an advantage is we have really knowledgeable staff that go through extensive training and continuing education every month. So if someone is a bourbon drinker, we can find a beer that has similar flavor profiles. Or if they like wine, we can figure out what kinds of beers would be similar. We can tell them what pairs well with their food. That expertise is really helpful.”
On the other hand, if pint night is every night for you, Flying Saucer’s UFO Club offers you a chance to try a landslide of different beers – and get rewarded for it. The club’s popularity is tied to the restaurant’s decor, with more than 900 commemorative plates decorating the walls and ceiling beams of members who have drunk at least 200 beers.
“You get to select a quote that goes on the plate along with your name, and you get $100 bar tab for you and your friends,” said Hagman of the “plate party” that comes with the honor. “A lot of our members will join their parties up and will have several hundred dollars to spend and just have a good time.”
So if you’re looking for a relaxed atmosphere to enjoy a long-week, hard-earned beer, or a relaxed setting to try a bounty of beers, then this just may be the place for you.
But by all means, investigate for yourself. Step into the Flying Saucer … and see where it takes you.
Flying Saucer Draught Emporium
WHERE: 931 Senate St. in the Vista
WHEN: 11 a.m.-midnight Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Friday-Saturday, noon-midnight Sunday