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Gifted Gourmet

Top 100 Beers: Beer Advocate Magazine

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blimey, i'm a member there too. :rolleyes: yes, the Westies in all their glory! i've had just about everything German and Belgian, and the rest on the list, which is very agreeable.

curiously i've only had maybe 1 American so can't really comment on them.

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I'm so proud to see a few Quebecois microbrews in there (#33 and #45 particularly) but everything they have from "La Belle Province" is strong and dark. I'm a big fan of the Unibroue white beer called Blanche de Chambly.

Dieu du Ciel should be really proud. Their constantly new concoctions are always well balanced and yummy.

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I think both rate beer and beer advocate are good resources.

Though, I do find their audiences and ratings are slanted towards "extreme" beers, whether in taste or alcohol content.

Obscure Belgian beers, Imperial Stouts, West Coast IPAs and that sort of thing all do very well while Lagers, American Common and Pale Ale are basically ignored.

Not to say those "extreme" beers aren't good; but, when the number one rated beer is basically only available at an abbey somewhere in Belgium, you gotta wonder a bit.

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I agree with eje.

I don't have the magazine in front of me, but if I recall 5 or 6 of their top 10 are imperial stouts, Imperial IPAs, or double IPAs.

Now don't get me wrong, I think those beers are great, but sometimes less is more.

[edit] And honestly, how many people have had the Westvleteren 12? I think its scacity drives its rating up. Or maybe I'm just jealous 'cause I've never had it. :)


Edited by RagallachMC (log)

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I think both rate beer and beer advocate are good resources.

Though, I do find their audiences and ratings are slanted towards "extreme" beers, whether in taste or alcohol content.

Obscure Belgian beers, Imperial Stouts, West Coast IPAs and that sort of thing all do very well while Lagers, American Common and Pale Ale are basically ignored.

Not to say those "extreme" beers aren't good; but, when the number one rated beer is basically only available at an abbey somewhere in Belgium, you gotta wonder a bit.

Good point - seems similar to the wine tasting phenomenon where 'Big' wines come out on top, where are the good quaffing ales (I love that word!)? Something refreshing, lightly hoppy and a moderate alcohol level (around the 3.5-4% mark)

I have seen an old brewery poster in the UK listing all the beers they have made, and they used to make a 'Luncheon Ale' - designed so you could have 3 or 4 pints of it then go back to work!

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where are the good quaffing ales (I love that word!)? Something refreshing, lightly hoppy and a moderate alcohol level (around the 3.5-4% mark)

Yeah, where are they indeed? In the US, it seems, with the microbrewery revolution and the associated distain for the concept of "LIGHT", whether it be the old industrial "light lagers" or the (even lighter) "light/lite beers", it's become a race to the top of alcohol levels. Alcohol percentage is now allowed on beer labels and many micros use it almost as a selling point (in common with derided "malt liquor" style, oddly enough). When a southern state recently repealed a law that disallowed beer over 6%, posters proclaimed "Now we can get REAL beer!".

Few micros make a nice "session" ale, there's no "sweet stouts" of low alcohol level (even the ones imported from the UK are on the high end of the scale), Kolsch's are rare, etc. We do get "Imperial pilsners", tho'. Beer strength has become associated with beer flavor to the point where people can't believe that Budweiser can have more alcohol that Guinness- "But, it tastes "stronger", it's darker, it feels "heavier"..."

At the same time, beer glasses have gotten LARGER in most US draft markets- beer was often sold in 6/7 oz. sham pilsners, or 10/12 oz. mugs- now the 14 oz. mixing glass, psuedo-pint is the norm (often with a 20 oz. "large" offered as well). I keep waiting for the neo-Prohibitionists of MADD to jump on the subject of beer glass sizes, micro alcohol level and, hey, what the heck, might as well throw in all those cartoon and/or animal characters that decorate the labels, too, to attract the local news producers to the story at sweeps time.

There's nothing I like more in hot weather that a good European pilsner (Jever is my favorite, at 4.9% alcohol- otherwise, I'll buy fresh Victory Prima Pils) tho' I was in a store with a lousy selection and picked up my old favorite yesterday, Pilsner Urquell, and it's still nice stuff despite the changes and new corporate ownership. I've actually taken to drinking Ballantine Ale (once my regular "house beer" 20-30 years ago- when it was on the high end of US beer alcohol content scale) as a "lawn mower/cheap" beer.

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It's good to see that PA is well represented. I'm a big fan of anything from the Troegs Brewery near Harrisburg. I also enjoy the 90 Minute IPA from Dogfish Head, which has a big following in Philly (even though the brewery is in Delaware.)

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I agree with eje.

I don't have the magazine in front of me, but if I recall 5 or 6 of their top 10 are imperial stouts, Imperial IPAs, or double IPAs. 

Now don't get me wrong, I think those beers are great, but sometimes less is more.

[edit] And honestly, how many people have had the Westvleteren 12?  I think its scacity drives its rating up.  Or maybe I'm just jealous 'cause I've never had it. :)

Sorry to dredge up an old thread, found it in a web search.

Westvleteren 12 used to be fairly widely distributed in the U.S. I bought it for the first time, not knowing its reputation, in a Whole Foods Market in Berkeley, CA. It was the best beer I'd ever tasted--it was just ridiculous how unlike other beers it was. I still think it's the best beer I've ever had, but it's no longer available in stores. You can have it shipped online for $20 or so a bottle. I'd say that's worth it as long as the bottle comes in good condition.

The most similar beer to Westvleteren 12 is probably Rochefort 10. Rochefort is widely available in nice liquor stores. A sizable minority prefer it to Westy 12.

Anyway, point is that I don't think it's scarcity driving the rating up. Westvleteren 12 had the highest rating on Ratebeer even when I could buy it easily.

Also, I agree with the notion that Ratebeer and Beeradvocate are biased toward extreme beers, just like Robert Parker and Wine Spectator are biased toward extreme wines. The more the better is the name of the game. But the truth is that a lot of these extreme stouts taste markedly similar. Beeradvocate seems to do a better job of rewarding good beers of lighter styles.


Edited by eipi10 (log)

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How in God's name did Yards ESA , or any of their beers for that matter, get ignored by the listmakers of this dubious list?

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If I had to guess I'd say people are just more inclined to go write a review when they get something "extreme" or perceived as rare. Not to say many (maybe all, I can't say personally) of those beers aren't fantastic examples of brewing, but the list is definitely slanted. a Top 100 or top 50 from each major category would be a little more interesting I think

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If I had to guess I'd say people are just more inclined to go write a review when they get something "extreme" or perceived as rare.  Not to say many (maybe all, I can't say personally) of those beers aren't fantastic examples of brewing, but the list is definitely slanted. a  Top 100 or top 50 from each major category would be a little more interesting I think

The list is constantly changing and represents the composite reviews of hundreds, if not thousands of people who are serious about craft beer. Of course, it is biased as those who are passionate about craft beer tend to like more extreme beer styles.

Bearing that in mind, you can view the top rankings of beers by every category, including country of origin. So, if you are interested in ESBs, to choose a category that is not represented in the Top 100 (and coincidentally is the category for Yard's ESA that Rich lamented was not in the Top 100), you can look at the top 10 overall or just those produced by American craft brewers, for example. I love ESB's and also lament that none of them are in the Top 100, but that is the bias of the site.

The fact that the scores are calculated on the basis of a democratic, if not unbiased vote, I think provides them with a basis of legitimacy that I have yet to find in the world of wine, where ratings are based more on the personal palates of a few critics.


Edited by BrentKulman (log)

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Well, I didn't get to see the beer Advocate list, but from ratebeer.com, which is apparently similar, I was surprised to see the Dogfish Head 90-Minute IPA, but not the 120-Minute. This is a truly great beer, I think, drinking much like a sherry. If this is a list where the "extreme" beers get a boost, I would really imagine this one on there.

Cheers!

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