A Winter Tale: February 2015 Beertography


February has almost gone by, which means it’s time for my monthly roundup of beertography.

As the grip of Old Man Winter took hold of North Carolina this month, it left me with something different for February’s collection: a theme.

So below you’ll find some of my recent photos celebrating several weeks in something akin to a winter wonderland. But, you know, with beer.

In addition to what you see here, you may also have come across photos on my Instagram page, Twitter account or even Untappd. If you like these, you can find all beertography on Instagram or in my running archive.

Let’s see what February had to offer…

Brueprint Midnight Brue – Night Comes Early


A strong stout only seems fitting for frigid weather, until…

Troegs Blizzard of Hops – The Accumulation

web-troegs-blizzard of hops-hop-ipa-beer-beertography-winter-photo-picture

Which satisfies until things get ugly…

Great Lakes Blackout Stout – Drinking in the Dark

web-great lakes-blackout stout-stout-beer-beertography-winter-photo-picture

The only thing left to do, as the cold creeps in and saps your warmth, is to pack it in and pack it on…

Wicked Weed Indulgence – Hibernation Libation

web-wicked weed-indulgence-sour beer-tart-asheville-beer-beertography-photo-pictureWhile we can blame a rodent for our never-ending winter, I wish you and yours warmth, merriment and something nice to sip by a fire…


Here’s hoping March is just as fruitful as the last few weeks. 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

6 Charts That Show We Love Being Boozehounds, or: An Analysis of ABV and Ranking Bias

booze hound

In recent weeks, I’ve been slowly pulling together research for a special project to compile nearly all the work I’ve performed in regard to ABV, style and beer rating bias into one compendium of sorts.

As I put the finishing touches on the effort, I’ve created several new charts to help tell the story of drinker preferences based on research from Rate Beer and Beer Advocate.

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Won’t You Beer My Valentine?

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I’m celebrating it the best way I know how … with beer. If you’re looking to impress a beer lover in your life, I’m here (with Friend of the Program Oliver Gray) to make it easy.

Use these thematically-appropriate holiday cards to win the love of your fermented life.

heady topper-valentines day


tap card-valentines day


ab inbev-valentines day


Make sure to check out Oliver’s collection of cards, too.


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

In Which I Apply to be a Beer Writer at Thrillist

Mr. Thrill,

Even though your company has been around for more than 10 years, I just found out about thrillist.com, which I think is awesome. The listserv set up for my frat brothers from Alpha Tau Omega blew up with your recent post, “Groove Cruise Pics: 4 Days Of Half-Naked Women And Nonstop EDM.” I was equally impressed with your enterprise journalism focusing on the creation of Rome’s red light district.

But most of all, I really love your beer writing, which has clearly set the bar for public discussion and consumption. <—- pretty good pun

After I read the post Sour Beers Are For Hipsters, Geeks, And Overcompensating Oafs*, I felt a strong connection to your editorial philosophy. But it was this week’s Craft Beer Is Dead. Gose Killed It. that sealed the deal.

As someone who has written numerous beer reviews, I could definitely relate to a non-sweat liquid tasking just like the warm, spicy sweat one could lick off the underarm of a 43-year old, bearded body builder named Hans. Like your writers, I too, believe the glorious revolution of beer is over, and I’ve got a lot to say about it. People should definitely listen.

Which is why I’m ideal to be your next beer writer. I’m young (check), write a beer blog (check) and really love attention from purposefully saying stupid things (check). Like this one time I jumped up on a table in the student union and yelled something inappropriate at the girls walking by. Your site is kind of like that and I feel like I embody it.

As a Millennial, I also feel like I’m ready for big responsibility, so let’s do this thing, right?

You’ll find my resume attached. You can click to enlarge it, if necessary. I look forward to hearing from you.

Warm regards,

thrillist-beer writer-beer blog-gose-resume


Note: This post was inspired by another strong public reaction to a piece on the Thrillist website. People lost their shit. It’s all clickbait. Please never pay attention to them.

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

RateBeer Ranked: A Historical Analysis of “Best Beers”

header ratebeer historical

After looking back at RateBeer user preferences for 2014 as all as a comparison of the last two years, it’s time to take a step even further back.

RateBeer’s “best beer” list goes back as far as 2002 – missing in 2004 and 2005 for some reason – so what I’ve done is taken the past 10 years of data from the annual rankings and selected the best of the “best” to try and gain some kind of insight.

What we have now is historical proof of our drunkenness. Or, at least, signs that demonstrate if we’re sipping on world-class beer, it better bring the heat.

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RateBeer Ranked: Comparing “Best Beer” of the Last Two Years

RateBeer-header 2013 vs 2014

In the first post analyzing RateBeer’s 2015 “best beer” list, which covers beers in 2014, a few things stood out:

The Expected

  • Imperial stouts, double IPAs and IPAs reigned supreme, making up 59 percent of the list.
  • The average ABV for the top-100 beers was well above average, clocking in at almost 10 percent.

The Unexpected

  • Decorah, Iowa-based Toppling Goliath produced beers that ranked #1 (Kentucky Brunch) and #5 (Mornin’ Delight) that tied or beat classic “best” beers like Westvleteren 12, Pliny the Elder and Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout.

One of the fun aspects of these lists is the ability to compare and contrast, so today we take a step back one year to see what 2014’s best beers looks like when compared to our tastes in 2013.

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RateBeer Ranked: An Analysis of 2014’s Best Beer

ratebeer header JPG

With the changing of the calendar, January didn’t just bring a new year, but new reasons to dissect the beer industry and what us enthusiasts are going crazy about these days.

While it took extra work to compile the best of the best beers in 2014, RateBeer, one of the two preeminent rating sites, along with Beer Advocate, has just released its own annual lists, which includes the top 100 beers in the world.

The collection of top-rated brews has evolved over the years, most notably taking a dramatic shift last year, when RateBeer stopped ranking the best beers in numerical fashion, but opted to simply provide an alphabetized listing.

But that won’t stop me from navel gazing at another “best beer” list, especially when it provides us with valuable insight into beer lovers and the liquid we love so much.

So even thought this year’s list may have flown under the radar because it doesn’t rank your favorite beers, that’s what I’m here for…

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A New Start: January 2015 Beertography


It’s a new year, but old habits die hard.

January has now gone by, which means it’s time for my monthly roundup of 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 beertography on Instagram or in my running archive.

Let’s see what January had to offer…

Aviator Brewing Devil’s Tramping Ground – Hell on Earth

aviator brewing-devils tramping ground-tripel-belgian-beer-beertography-1

Laurelwood Brewing Workhorse IPA – Everybody’s Working for the Weekend

laurelwood workhorse-ipa-india pale ale-beer-beertography

Smartmouth Brewing Alter Ego – My Beer Nerd is Showing

smartmouth alter ego-beer nerd-farmhouse-saison-beer-beertography

Genesee Cream Ale – The Soul of Upstate New York

genesee cream ale-genny cream-rochester-new york-upstate new york-beer-beertography-cream ale

NoDa Brewing Hop Drop ‘n Roll – Start Your Engine

noda-noda brewing-hop drop roll-ipa-india pale ale-north carolina-charlotte-beer-beertography

Here’s hoping February is just as fruitful as the last few weeks. 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

Why Beer Experts (Don’t) Matter

beer expert-apple

We are a fickle species, us humans.

From the dawn of time, we’ve been wired to look outward and find connections among others, but one of the greatest challenges we face is often looking beyond our own point of view. Communities make us feel whole and relationships empower us, but in truth, this same wiring that creates bonds with others can also strengthen our internal bias.

Which puts us in a precarious position in these days of democratic Internet expertise, when everyone is an expert and all the knowledge we need is just a few finger taps away. While our technology entitles us with information from across our digital communities, it can also reinforce the idea that “experts” – real, live human beings oozing knowledge – aren’t as necessary.

So when I read “Why Beer Experts Matter” by brilliant beer writer Jeff Alworth, I got to thinking … do we really need beer experts?

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Finding Perspective, Before It’s Lost Again

dogfish head-keg

Forgetting is easy.

There are so many people, places and events that fill our lives, the memory-soaked sponge of our brain can become overwhelmingly saturated with worthwhile moments to recall. For me, that means an occasional, often unintentional, mental squeeze that too easily releases aspects of the past down the drain. Out of sight, perhaps out of mind.

Which is part of the reason I moisturize my metaphorical gray matter every year … by literally dehydrating it.

group shotIt’s all based around an annual tradition of a “beergrimage,” a trip I make to Dogfish Head’s original brewpub in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. What started as a way to explore the roots of my craft beer obsession four years ago has wonderfully turned into an excuse to appreciate the people who help fuel my ever-growing interest.

There is no slight of hand in understanding what the base-level purpose of the trip is about. We are there to eat, drink and be merry.

cody and justinBut as these things tend to do, the incredibly tasty, fermented means to our drunken end provides more than the food on our plate or liquid in our glass.

The beer we drink is part illusion. When revealed, the mirage winds up showing the value of restocking on those forgotten memories pushed out of my brain. Friends – old and new – become closer, nudged together by a shared experience of camaraderie.

At a time when the world of beer enthusiasts is overcome with controversies of copyright infringementhonoring the legacy of peers or naming rights, it feels important to make time for an outing like this.

Because when I squeeze the spongy mess of my brain to recall these memories at a later date, it reinforces what this beer thing is supposed to be about in the first place: fun.

group pic

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

(photos courtesy of Oliver Gray and Liz Murphy)