The Top 20 Beers in the World according to the “Experts”

Here is an interesting “Best Beer” list.  Two Stanford Computer Science professors have analyzed the ratings on the website Rate Beer, looking specifically at people who have rated more than 50 beers and followed the patterns of these experts to see which beers they gravitate to.  See the article for more details.

I wonder how many of these the readers to this site have tried.  Did you think that beer was deserving of being called one of the top 20 beers in the world?  The ones Ive tried are all very good but I don’t think many would make my top 20 list.  I’m interested to hear your thoughts.

Reading this article also led me to four conclusions. 

If you drink beer for long enough you are statistically destined to like either strong, dark beers, bitter hoppy beers, and/or sour beers aged in wine barrels.  Nearly 3/4 of the beers are either Imperial Stouts, Barleywines, Strong Ales or Belgian Quads.  It also doesn’t hurt if the beer is hard to find or limited in its release (that combination usually translates to relatively expensive).  If you don’t want to suffer the same fate consider yourself warned.

I visited the Russian River Brewery this summer and left with 4 bottles of Pliny the Elder.  This is a beer to be consumed fresh so it is long gone now, but my review notes are simply “This beer tastes almost exactly like Bodhi by Columbus Brewing Company”.  So cancel the trip to Sonoma County and spend your dough on weekly growlers of Bodhi by CBC (unless of course you live in Oregon, Washington or California).

In a similar vein last year I thought that Alchemy Hour by Great Lakes was better than Hopslam.  Both are Imperial IPAs brewed with honey and released in late winter, although they have distinctly different hop profiles.  I will say that Hopslam is $18 per six pack and usually goes pretty fast, so you could save yourself some coin by going with Alchemy Hour.

Holy shit, I have six of these beers aging in my basement! (Adam, Fred, Samichlaus, Supplication, Expedition Stout and Westvleteren XII)  Clearly it’s too late for me, but if you’ve also gone over to the dark side and would like to join me for a tasting, leave a comment below.

6 thoughts on “The Top 20 Beers in the World according to the “Experts”

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  1. 3 of these beers are from Michigan. This is both fortunate, and (I would think) an odd choice. If you have the entire world of beer to work from, having 3 from two breweries in Mich. seems too much of a coincidence.

    1. I guess that is just are how the statistics work out. In terms of diversity this list is pretty inadequate. Bells, Russian River, Hair of the Dog, Westvleteren, and Three Floyds account for 12 of the top 20 beers.

      On a side note I’ve read that Bell’s Hopslam (#18 on the list) should hit the shelves in Columbus on or around MLK day (Jan. 20). Would you be interested in splitting a 6 pack?

    1. Agreed. I’m a big fan of Weihenstephaner Hefeweizen. I think it suffers in ratings lists like this because it is widely available and affordable. It makes it seem ordinary when in fact it’s a pretty special beer.

  2. Does anybody have a beer that they feel got left off the list? They aren’t hard to find if you diversify the style spectrum just a little. I’d say Weihenstephaner Hefeweizen and Orval right off the top of my head.

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