Friday, December 14, 2007


I started this site waaaaay back in February 2006 with an eye toward cataloguing all my recent and ongoing beer conquests, and assigning a numerical “grade” to them, much as a pencil-necked geek does to any one of a number of his geeky obsessions. Alas, it is who I am. I have long since made my peace with it. I decided that each craft beer that I consumed could actually be scored on a 0-10 scale, and that each of these numbers could be effectively defined. I even published an initial guide to our ratings system.

As it turns out, given the high quality of most beers I enjoy (thank god), it’s incredibly rare to find a beer in the 0-4 range. I’ve probably given out a half-dozen of those, tops. Even raspberry wheat and apricot beers, when made by a craft-brewing master, typically fall into the 5-7 range. If I were grading on the curve, with only those beers I tasted falling into the overall bucket, even some critical favorites would be forced to fall onto the wrong side of “5” - but that’s not really fair. We’re comparing these beers against the mass of beer sold all over the world, most of which, as you know is crap.

For the purposes of this site, let’s define the “mean” score – i.e. 5 – as a “fair” craft beer, drinkable for the most part, but one we’re not likely to pursue again. With that, another attempt to explain the beer ratings that we provide to you, our customers:

An exceptional, world-class beer that is among the small handful of the best I've ever had. This beer has qualities the likes of which are rarely seen. Reserved only for the greats, like TRAPPISTES ROCHEFORT 8 and MOYLAN’S HOPSICKLE.

9-9.5: A knockout, stellar beer that I'd drink again anytime, anywhere. Easily among the top 5% of beers that have ever crossed my lips. Perfect representative beer: Russian River Damnation

8-8.5: Delicious, eye-opening beer of superlative quality and craft, worthy of recommendation many times over, just not as revelatory as a 9, 9.5 or a 10. Perfect representative beer: Young’s Double Chocolate Stout

7-7.5: Very good beers that I can and will recommend and drink repeatedly with pleasure, just lacking that je ne sais quoi that keeps it from the true heavyweights. Seems like most everything I drink falls into this bucket. Perfect representative beer: Anchor Steam

6-6.5: A good microbrew, usually best tasted once before moving on to something else, with the thought that maybe it might get ordered again somewhere down the road. Perfect representative beer: Firestone Walker Double Barrel Ale

5-5.5: A disappointment or something just not that worthy. Drinkable, and that's about it. Perfect representative beer: Lagunitas IPA

3-4.5: Don’t like it. Doesn’t taste good. Don’t want it again. Often a craft beer that just failed, or perhaps a macro lager that’s better that all the other macro lagers, but still sucks. Perfect representative beer: Stone Double Bastard Ale

1-2.5: A crap beer that I will never drink again & will berate you repeatedly not to either. Perfect representative beer: Gale’s Christmas Ale

0-0.5: Blatz, Miller Genuine Draft, Coors Light, etc. Perfect representative beer: Corona Light


ksbrainard said...

I love the way you call out very specific beers at each level of ratings! That is so blogging!

Man, you are harsh, though! I thought I liked Lagunitas IPA, until I read it is a 5-5.5. I better buy another pack and retry it... And I can't get Stone here in CT, so to me they're all soooo desirable. I am surprised to see Double Bastard up there. Not that I know much (i.e. anything) about it, but it just sounds good, like it might have been the first Stone I would try to get in MA or RI. But I might just go for Ruination or something now.

If there's one thing I could recommend, it would be to use a standard capitalization scheme in your blog titles. The all-caps thing makes it a bit abrasive in the old Google Reader. :)

Jez said...

I dig your blog. I've added you in my links section over at You know, just in case you were wonderin'.

It's nice that you rate beers, but did you know places like and have a whole rating process? Your process is a bit simpler, but I just thought I'd point it out unless you weren't aware.

I also have to agree with KSBrainard about the Lagunitas IPA. It may not be Hopsickle, but I thought the glass I had in Syracuse, NY was pretty dang good. I mean, IPAs in general are pretty good. Not as great as an IMPERIAL IPA, mind you, but still, I might give it a 6 or 6.5.

Try any Three Floyds? I feel so lucky to live 15 miles away from that brewery. In my opinion, they make some of the best beers in the world, right now.