Examining the Value of ‘Best’ Beer


As we close in on the end of the year, it means we’re soon to be swamped with a variety of “best of” lists. This website is no different … although a little.

In the last two years, I’ve created my own unscientific, objective-as-possible best beer lists analyzing the compiled efforts of others scattered across the internet. You can still read 2014 and 2015 results to find out which “best” beers you might’ve missed.

With my attention shifting in that direction in recent weeks, I’ve decided to get a head start in another corner of “best,” taking a look at ratings, style and rarity. As we’ve seen in the past, all three seem to be linked, and I’ve turned to two popular beer rating websites to gain a better understanding. First up: Beer Advocate. (You can read an analysis of BeerGraphs data here.)

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A ‘Definitive’ Guide to the Best Beer of 2015: The Breweries

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About a week into the New Year and I can only assume we’re all so over 2015.

It’s time for a fresh start with new goals, attitudes and beers, of course. With beer aisles brimming with choices like never before, it’s easy to get caught up in the latest 2016 release even though there were so many great options we probably missed last year.

Which is why it’s also time to briefly look backward.

For the second year, I’ve worked to determine the “best” beers of a year gone by. For all the subjectivity that goes into creating lists to rank our favorite movies, TV shows and more, I’m trying to find some objective consensus to provide a clearer view of what pleased the palate of drinkers and brewers across the country.

To do this, I found a collection of 16 “best beer” lists from a variety of sources, from blogs to newspapers and prominent magazines. Criteria for selection was simple: a list had to focus on 2015 releases (new beers or new, annual brews) with a preference toward a wide geographic representation. There are more city/state best beer lists than we could shake a pint glass at.

That left me with an eclectic group of lists, ranging from three to 25 beers. In all, there were 193 total beers to analyze with a handful of beers vying for best of 2015.

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