There are a lot of layers when it comes to “best beer” lists. Subjective opinion, especially on experiential goods, is perfect for controversy. A limited list is going to leave something out of consideration, then it’s left to others and an almost innate need to fill in the gaps.
This is one of the reasons I love curating my annual “best beer” list, because as much as it can, it makes the process more objective by consulting numerous people and viewpoints. It may not be perfect, but it’s an excellent way to get a feel for the trends and topics that drive a year in beer.
An initial analysis of RateBeer’s top 100 beers from 2016 has seemingly added context to a growing body of evidence documented on this blog concerning the connection between beer styles, rarity and perception of quality. This is not meant to be seen as a “good or bad” thing, although you’re free to assume how you wish. But rather, as we’re able to compile data to support our experiences, it simply becomes “a thing” that we need to address.
Last month we took a look at 2016’s best beers as selected by writers, bloggers and beer enthusiasts.
Today, we step it up to an annual celebration of “best” by one of the Internet’s main beer reviewing websites, RateBeer. The site recently held their annual RateBeer Fest where it released a collection of best beers of the year, according to the reviews of users and weighted by performance within and outside of style.
As in yearspast, the list of 100 beers offers a good opportunity for analysis, especially as we gain a better understanding on the psychological impacts of choice when it comes to beer and perception of quality. This collection may not break new ground in terms of better understanding trends, but it does offer insight into preferences and beer culture.
So grab your abacus and put in your pocket protector, because it’s time to crunch some numbers.
Today is a bit of a hodge-podge collection of bits from my look into people’s beer preferences and appreciation via RateBeer.com. I suppose it would fall into the “Potpourri” category on Jeopardy.
As explained in part one, I looked into the top-20 rated beers from 2006 to 2013 because I felt keeping solely to the top 10 wouldn’t produce enough variety to show significant differences from year-to-year. However, I assumed that the bottom of each list wouldn’t suffer from any such drawbacks.
Essentially, if there’s going to be a group that would show volatility of beer brands, I’d expect it to be at the bottom of the list, where beers may come-and-go more freely thanks to new entries into the beer market and less of a group conclusion on how epic a particular beer really is.
While imperial stouts still fill up the ranks – they dominate throughout each list – looking at the “bottom” beers showed me some funny behavior of RateBeer’s users. Continue reading →