A Whole New World? The Geography of RateBeer Rankings

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Today we take a break from Monday’s RateBeer number crunching, but don’t worry, it’s back on Friday.

From part one of this series on our beer-related behavior, RateBeer.com’s rankings showed us how much beer nerds from around the world LOVE imperial stouts. Especially well-made rare ones.

Then again, don’t just take my word for it:

While limited-release imperial stouts will likely always end up high on beer rankings, that trend may be slowly changing. In the last couple years, other styles have been clawing their way toward top spots thanks to an increase of innovative breweries like Vermont’s Hill Farmstead and Florida’s Cigar City.

These tasty brews are important for changing the way we think about beer and what we like, but just as important is the geographical location. When we talk about global beer production – especially that of the top-ranked beers in the world – it’s increasingly becoming something of an “Old World” vs. “New World” situation.
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Leffe Blonde

For being such “newbie” in this whole beer nerd thing, Friend Of The Program David Gonos has some pretty great taste. He recently mentioned in a guest blog about his admiration for Leffe Blonde, which just so happened appeared in my fridge not long after. What a pleasant turn of events, considering the beer’s got an 82 on Beer Advocate.

I’ve always liked Belgian beers, but less so Americanized versions. So, it’s always nice to get a taste of the real thing, especially when it doesn’t disappoint.

What I liked most about Leffe Blond was how great it was in its simplicity. It’s not trying to be anything fancy or complicated, just a straight Belgian pale abbey ale. It’s got strong banana esters that are easily the most pronounced part of the smell and taste. There’s also some yeasty malt character in the smell (bread-like, I suppose), but it’s all straight forward.

Ah, but then the taste. The smell doesn’t do it justice. It’s sweet (malt?), there’s banana and a little taste of grape on the finish. It’s so smooth it could easily be a drink-all-day kind of beer. At 6.6 percent ABV, it’s not exactly a session beer, though.

This is all a very shorthand way of saying that I really liked this beer. I’d imagine that it may be a bit too “beery” for drinkers looking for generic, macrobrew flavor, but it’s also so easy that I could see it being accepted by anyone. Trial and error, I suppose.

Hit the jump for my “Rate That Beer” sheet.
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