Undertipping is a major pet peeve of ours. Too often we see beer drinkers leaving pocket change—if that—with the check. Beer is served no differently than food; in fact, in our opinion, beer is food, so why not tip on it as you would on food?

For several years now, the industry standard for tips has been 18 to 20 percent of the tab. Based on this and the cost of a decent beer (around $4.50), we estimate that we should all be dropping about a buck a beer. This might sound a bit steep, but you need to understand that you’re paying for service. Why is it important to pay for service? Many food-service employees earn less than $4 an hour, relying on tips to make a decent living. What’s more, these tips show them that you appreciate their hard work and the fact that they put up with your drunken ass. Speaking of which, we recommend tipping big early in your drinking session, lest you forget in your boozy haze to tip at all. After all, the amount of time you spend at the bar or table is rarely taken into consideration. But the longer you stay, the less turnover there is. As a result, your bartender/server will earn fewer tips. No need to feel rushed, as long as you’re an ordering customer; just leave some extra love on your way out. But if you’re just hanging out, nursing your beer or reading a book: Go home! This isn’t Starbucks. You’re done.

Finally, a few please and thank-yous combined with your tip will also go a long way toward lifting your bartenders’ or servers’ spirits when they’re feeling harried and overworked—by you. Here’s the good karma that accrues when you tip a buck a beer:

– Your bartender/server has a better time serving you.

– You become priority and get served faster.

– You might be the beneficiary of some special treatment, even the occasional freebie.

– You’ll feel good about yourself as beer karma washes over you.

Now, bad service is inevitable. We all run into it, often due to circumstances that are unbeknownst to us. The best thing you can do is not cop an attitude, as this only makes things worse and makes you look like the asshole. (Note: You will always look like the asshole.) Be polite, and if the bad service continues, ask for the manager. Be constructive with your criticism and work with everyone to salvage the situation so you can get back to enjoying your experience and your beer.

So remember, you cheap bastards: Tip a buck a beer and you’re in the clear.