Beer Advocate Gets It Wrong Again

Where do I start with this list?

If you haven't seen it already, it's a list of the "All-Time Top Breweries on Planet Earth" and "All-Time Top Beers On Planet Earth" as decreed by Beer Advocate (BA). Let me begin by saying I appreciate the vision and the concept behind BA. It's my default (although hardly final) resource for researching beer on the web. Generally, I like what they do.

These lists are garbage, however. A top-25-breweries-in-the-world list that doesn't include any German brewers? The same list including only two Belgian breweries, one of which being the relatively pedestrian Chimay? Rogue Chocolate Chocolate Stout appearing on the top-25-best-beers-in-the-world and the Abyss is a complete no-show? I can't think of any panel of experts that would sit down to the task of making these lists and come up with anything remotely similar.

And therein likes the problem. These aren't lists of the "top 25 such-and-such in the entire world." What BA has done is made a list of "top 25 such-and-such in the entire world as voted by our relatively isolated North Eastern American audience." If they'd called these lists something like that, I wouldn't have a problem with either of them. Given that they didn't, I can only assume one of two things: Either BA simply doesn't know what it's talking about or that BA has massively overestimated it's importance as a place for global critical beer review. In any case, as a fairly major player on the beer scene, I think it's pretty irresponsible of them to present their opinions in this way.

It gets worse, though. A discussion popped up on discussing the validity of these lists (you'll need a BA login to view that link). Things seemed to be progressing OK until Todd Alstrom, co-owner of BA, essentially places the blame for no-shows and low rankings on those that don't write BA reviews. I quote:

"Perhaps if people like you spent more time reviewing beers from Europe vs. wasting time with failed attempts at sarcasm the results would be different.

Just a thought.


For the sake of argument, let's forget the fact that not every European speaks English and can participate in writing BA reviews (although we shouldn't). We're still left with a publication blaming it's accuracy problems on those who didn't have anything to do with writing them. This lends credibility to both of my assumptions above; that BA reviewers are generally inexperienced and that BA has a hyper-inflated perception of it's own authority. It's disappointing and it's bad for the global beer community. If BA is at the reigns of US beer ambassadorship, they need to get their act together pronto.

Beau Burke
December 19, 2008, 1:28 pm
By: Jason Alstrom
Ha! Tell us how you really feel. Please feel free to spend the next 12 years building a community that supports the beer industry and then throwing all of your profits into a print publication to further your efforts. Then get back to us.
Its sounds like you are trying to discount the whole community over some best of lists. Laughable. You are reading way to much into all of this ... thanks for the in depth yet very clueless rant.
December 31, 2008, 9:12 pm
By: Beau
Jason, I'm not trying to "discount the whole community" by any stretch of the imagination. If you'll re-read my first paragraph, you'll see I'm clearly thankful for Beer Advocate. You get people interested in good beer, and that is a good thing.
I'd simply like to see a little more maturity and careful consideration from the editorial staff. Don't get Ptolemaic about your community, because there is a huge universe of beer it has no familiarity with. Of course, it also specializes in a subset of beer no other community is in touch with. You do yourself a disservice when you hastily talk about "Best in the World" when you could authoritatively talk about "Best in the Northeast." Play to your community's strengths. Don't try to gloss over its weaknesses with hyperbole.
And seriously, we're talking about beer here. I hope there's no hard feelings, as I certainly don't harbor any. If you're ever in Portland, I'd be happy to buy you a pint and talk it over in person! I'll even let you take a free gut shot to settle the score. I can't promise I won't puke afterward, though.
December 31, 2008, 9:12 pm
By: sHugamom
June 24, 2009, 9:35 pm
By: Steve Gibson
June 24, 2009, 9:35 pm
By: Michael J Fox
Hoverboards are real. You spend 20 years trying to show the world Mattel's greatest creation and then some "physicist" disproves it all. JESUS. Thanks for the indepth yet hope-and-dreams-crushing $12 million tax-payer funded report.
June 24, 2009, 9:35 pm
June 24, 2009, 9:35 pm
By: A Sandy Vagina
I'm so full of sand, and it's not that awesome white sand you find in Cancun, it's that abrasive, black volcanic shit!
Jason, clean me! CLEAN ME NOW!
June 24, 2009, 9:35 pm
By: Derek Smart
Hay guise what's going on in this beer thread?
June 24, 2009, 9:35 pm
By: Beck
I've got two turntables and a microphone.
June 24, 2009, 9:35 pm
By: Brick
I love lamp
June 24, 2009, 9:35 pm
By: Jason Alstrom's Wounded Inner Child
Sorry guys. I just woke up with a sandy vagina this morning.
June 24, 2009, 9:35 pm
By: Steven Spielberg
Try spending 28 years creating a completely amazing trilogy of adventure movies loved by millions and then tack on a great epilogue film with SWEET MONKIES starring the superstar from Even Stevens and some high school jackoffs on the internet who couldn't direct their way out of a paperbag make fun of it. You cunts have it good. Don't make me come down there and school your asses. Bitches.
June 24, 2009, 9:35 pm
By: Steve Jobs
Word Bill
June 24, 2009, 9:35 pm
By: Bill Gates
Try spending 30 years building a totally rad software company and rocking WINDOWS VISTA motherfuckers and then some high school jackoffs on the internet who couldn't program their asshole off make fun of it. You cunts have it good. Don't make me come down there and school your asses. Bitches.
June 24, 2009, 9:35 pm
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