What Is: The End? A Final Look at Beer Advocate “Best Beer” Data

jeopardy_beer_potpourriMuch like the full-bodied, layered menagerie of our favorite high-alcohol beers, there’s more to the Beer Advocate rating data than what we’ve seen so far.

Last week, we looked at a wide variety of takeaways from my deep dive into the “best beers” each state offers, according to Beer Advocate users, but there were two hodgepodge cases of analysis that didn’t easily fit in. Still, if the work is there, it’s worth sharing.

Let’s grab a pint and enjoy these last couple sips of information and I’ll leave it up to you as to whether there’s something I might have missed.

Continue reading

What Beer Advocate’s “Low” ABV Beers Tell Us About Preference

abv excitement graphic JPGYou may recall from my state-by-state full list of Beer Advocate’s best 506 beers, I determined an average ABV of 8.1 percent, even if the best of the “best” beers clock in at an alcohol content much higher than that.

Even so, I wanted to see if there were any patterns to states that offered “best” beers below our national average. Specifically, I found even more correlation between what raters may consider a “good” beer when it comes to ABV.

Continue reading

An Experiment with Beer Advocate’s Best: A Beer So American, You Could Salute It

Optional music for this post

All week we’ve been sorting through the beers that drinkers go crazy for, but we’ve been focusing on the final product – what we pop open and quickly make us flock to Beer Advocate to sing a brew’s praises.

But today, we take a look inside the glass.

While we might have found the best beers from every state, I wanted to take it a step further and try to figure out how we might be able to create the “best Best Beer.” By using the list of each state’s best beers from yesterday and a little help from Friend of the Program Allen, I can offer you insight into the ultimate U.S. beer.

Can you hear that? The bellowing sound coming our way? Over Purple Mountains Majesty and above the enameled plain?

With an aroma of freedom with an aftertaste of exceptionalism, today we unleash the True American Patriot IPA.

Continue reading

Here’s the Best Beer from Every State. Hold onto Your Livers.

bottle_Flag_new“The price of greatness is responsibility.”
– Winston Churchill

“All right, brain. You don’t like me and I don’t like you, but let’s just do this and I can get back to killing you with beer.”
– Homer Simpson

Looking for something great to drink? Start with the ABV.

Just kidding. Sort of.

As we continue to look at data from Beer Advocate’s best beers state-by-state, it seems two things are clear: people like high ABV styles and rate high-alcohol beers well.

But what does that mean when looking for a top-notch, truly great beer? While we’ve so far kept these rankings in a vacuum, I wanted to put see what would happen with our “best” beers if we put them in more of a head-to-head scenario.

Which is why today we look at the best of the “best” beers from every state and what particular aspects reinforce the belief that to enjoy a great beer, you may not be drinking responsibly.

Continue reading

The Big Beer Impact: Does ABV Influence Rankings?

Brass_scales_abvWhat’s beer without alcohol?

Perhaps more precise, what’s a top-ranked beer without high ABV?

Not much, perhaps.

If you love beer and have glanced at rankings from sites like Beer Advocate, you’ve probably noticed a certain trend: beers with higher alcohol content tend to win over drinkers pretty easily. Pack a punch with an imperial stout or IPA and there’s a chance it’s going to be a hit. In fact, some research has proven a direct connection between ABV and better ratings of beers.

In all my work with Beer Advocate’s rankings, I knew it was pivotal to address the 300 pound (or is that three-lettered) gorilla in the room. While we previously addressed the collection of styles and makeup of Beer Advocate’s “best of” rankings by state, now it’s time to really delve into the numbers.

Continue reading

The United States of Beer (According to Beer Advocate)

BA on US map as JPGIt’s all in the details.

Yesterday, we took a look at the styles of beer included in my mega list of top beers by state, according to Beer Advocate. Today, the full list of beers and breweries is unleashed.

While we know that IPAs, DIPAs and imperial stouts are all the rage, now it’s time to find out where all these big hitters are coming from. If you need a refresher how I came up with these lists, I recommend this explainer.

But before we start scrolling to find our particular states and what’s represented, let’s have some fun.

Continue reading

A State-by-State Analysis of Beer Advocate Rankings: Setting the Stage

beeradvocate-rank-logo-jpgAmong the more interesting parts of today’s beer industry is not just the increasing regionalism of the product, but the intrastate personalities that create each local culture.

From the Pacific Northwest and it’s conglomeration of hop-infused residents to Michigan and its blankets of high-alcohol brews perfect for cold winter nights, there are aspects of life just as much as there can be hops and barley. Ultimately, as we all happily look inward with our eat/drink local movements, the assumption should be that our home towns and states act as a means to offer a glimpse into the soul of our pint.

In a roundabout way, that’s what I hope to achieve over a series of posts this week.

I recently collected data from Beer Advocate’s “top beers” rankings of each of the 50 states in the U.S. as well as the District of Columbia. What does it all mean? Well, as I roll out my findings piece-by-piece, I hope we’re able to better understand the habits and behaviors of beer drinkers and what that means on a state and national level.

But first, we’ve got to get a broad idea of where we’re going.

Continue reading

A Month Worth Remembering: October 2014 Beertography

bud_cameraOctober has now gone by, which means it’s time for my regular roundup of beertography from the last few weeks.

It’s been an exciting month and many of my photos reflect more about my activities and travels than artistic side. I hope you’ve enjoyed sharing in this ongoing project, as I’m proud to say that I was recently nominated as an “Instagram account to follow” by my colleagues, many who are vastly more talented than I. I’m actually giving a presentation today about my beertography.

Below you’ll find some of my recent photos, which you may also come across on my Instagram page, Twitter account or even Untappd. If you like these, you can find all of my beertography on Instagram or in my running archive.

All my shots are taken with my iPhone 5 unless otherwise noted. Let’s see what October had to offer…

A Trip Out West

almanac-farmers reserve citrus-lemon-beer-beertographyI visited Seattle at the beginning of October, which led to a variety of photo opportunities and reflections about what it means to travel. I spent a lot of time hanging out with Kopi, my brother’s chocolate lab. Late in the morning, I’d plop down on the front porch alongside her and take in the sun.

Now I know what Ed is talking about.

Exploring at Home

world beer fest-durham-beerEvery October, All About Beer magazine hosts the World Beer Festival here in Durham, NC. It’s a wonderful chance to try new beers, especially from the fast-growing in-state brewery scene. I spent half the festival drinking North Carolina-based beers.

Oddly enough, my favorite sample from the event was probably a dry-hopped cider by Bull City Ciderworks. They use Cascade and Galaxy hops which gives the cider an unforgettable aroma of tangy tropical fruit and citrus.

(Coincidentally, my beertography is so popular, festival organizers stole a photo from me)

Mission Accomplished

two roads-two roads brewing-no limits-hefewiezen-beer-beertographyI ran my first half-marathon in October, taking part in the Bull City Race Fest with thousands of other runners. I’m happy to say I was actually a little faster than the time on my watch, but happier to have the right beer to celebrate with when I got home.

Upping My Game

oskar blues-ten fidy-imperial stout-beer-beertographyHere in Durham, we’ve got a reuse art center, the Scrap Exchange, that’s kind of like a Salvation Army for random and unwanted supplies like tiles, paper, electronics … anything.

I’ve been inspired by other photographers to try and incorporate more setups for my beertography. With this shot, I used a shiny filing cabinet drawer and foggy window pane from the Scrap Exchange to capture light from outside. I’m still horribly low-tech, so I used a couple umbrellas to apply shading and reflect light.

Brewing Pal

brewcatThis isn’t a special shot, but I love that I have some company for my brew days at home. Even if it is a little creepy.

I look forward to what November has to offer! As always, you can go back to see previous beertography posts:

+Bryan Roth
“Don’t drink to get drunk. Drink to enjoy life.” — Jack Kerouac

Exploring Drinker Demographics: Investigating Today’s Craft Consumer

magnifying-glass-personSelf-expression is unavoidable. No matter how small the detail, each conscious choice we make – for better or worse – lays out clues for others to understand who we are.

The thing is, these days, you don’t need to be a super sleuth to pick up pieces of a person’s personality. As much as we may try to toss out red herrings and throw others off, the investigation into someone’s personality is easier than ever, from their clothes to their technological accessories to their beer.

But especially the beer.

“Craft beer allows for people to express their individual sense of style while also allowing for experimentation, and that’s a very exciting thing for a lot of people,” Mintel food & drink analyst Beth Bloom told just-drinks.com this summer. “Craft beer is not only a beverage choice, it appears to be a lifestyle choice.”

While that sentiment might not be shared by every single beer drinker, it is widely accepted by Millennials, the largest demographic of craft beer consumers. Plus, at this stage of the craft beer game, we probably all know a person or two who are comfortable making snap judgements on others based on what’s in their pint glass, right, David Chang?

There have been plenty of takes highlighting latest demographics of the craft beer drinker, but looking beyond a few data points, what does this information tell us about the people flocking to craft?

Most important: The more we talk about beer as a culture and craft beer as a “lifestyle choice,” the more we need to consider why people make this decision, beyond the simple reason “craft beer tastes better.”

Continue reading

Exploring Drinker Demographics: When Biology and Social Expectations Collide


Who cares about “craft beer”? And when?

The first time I found out I loved craft beer, I didn’t know it was craft beer.

It was just “beer.” And it was good.

I had moved beyond the BMC days of high school and found out there was more beer readily available than the Hoegaarden or Guinness I became fond of in my late teens. While I loved Sam Adams and their variety packs, everything changed my senior year of college.

I found myself with a minimal disposable income, a growing interest in what I drank and a bottle shop a few miles away. All of a sudden, new beers and flavors were within easy reach.

My roommates and I – all 21 or 22 – made trips together. We once bought a case of Saranac Caramel Porter to share among the three of us, which was the best beer I’d ever had. I drank it cold or warm. From the bottle or out of a somewhat clean shaker pint glass. I didn’t care.

It was sweet and candy-like, but not annoyingly so. A mix of malt, caramelized sugar and natural flavors. I had no idea Saranac wasn’t actually the name of the brewery (it’s Matt Brewing Company) nor did I know what “craft” was or how the business fit into it.

It was just “beer.” And it was good.

Which makes me wonder about today’s young drinkers. My experience with Saranac was about eight years ago, an entire era in our modern craft beer boom. For those transitioning out of youthful habits and into new maturity based around the presence and idea of “craft,” how does that impact their decisions as consumers?

Continue reading