Ratebeer and why I think it is great

There's room for all kinds of beer drinkers in this world: Those that pop out for an occasional pint of a weekend, those that regularly go drinking with friends, those who sup at home or with a meal and yes, even those that see beer as a hobby in and of itself. Sometimes these "beergeeks" are looked down upon as being only interested in trying new things.Not so, say I and even if it were true is that necessarily a bad thing? People motivated to look for new breweries and try new beers are those who first get the word out to other people about beers worth trying. 

Most people like to share their recommendations of good beers and with the advent of the Internet its become even easier. A number of websites have sprung into being over the last decade or so whose purpose is to catalogue available beers and allow users to provide feedback on their thoughts for the beer. Ratebeer is one such site.

I found ratebeer by accident a few months ago when searching for info on a beer I was about to order from a mail order firm (I forget which now!). It seemed interesting so decided to sign up to see how it worked. After rating one or two beers I've become a frequent user and decided to splash out for premium membership to get access to some of the additional rating stats and give the site a hand in its running costs. I've never been one for making extensive notes on beer, generally remembering if I enjoyed a beer or not and a few choice details about it, but like how ratebeer allows you to compare your opinions to other peoples. Reading through tasting notes also helps you to identify the flavours you are picking out in a beer that you can't perhaps identify. Certainly cheaper than a tasting course!

Ratebeer also gives the rankings of beers by style and overall. This can sometimes result in "extremeophiles" getting imperial stouts into the top 50, but in general the top beers are very good beers. There's a forum for socialising with other memebrs and a whole host of other features I'll let you discover for yourself.

Through ratebeer (and the fact that he posted the BSF beer list on his blog) I met Craig. I learnt of the bottle tasting evenings that he runs on a fairly frequent basis and managed to get myself an invite. I'd met Craig at the Great British Beer Festival this year, but it was not without some trepidation that I approached his house. I needn't have worried as Craig's friends and family are all great people and on arrival I was greeted by around 25 beers spread across the table. As there were so many of us it was a "big bottle" evening and I had brought along some of my own contributions.

We started the evening as we meant to go on with the 12.5% O'Hanlon's Special Reserve I had acquired at Beer Ritz a few days before. After that I was swiftly introduced to both Tactical Nuclear Penguin and Sink the Bismarck before other beer lovers began arriving.

Nineteen beers later and it was time to call it a night. (I had to leave shortly after 10pm, but allegedly some stragglers were still there at 2am!) Communal beer drinking experiences are very rewarding and by sharing beers we were able to try a greater range and some very rare ones than we would otherwise have been able to. I look forward to future tasting events. I recommend you give it a go even if you aren't planning to review the beers on ratebeer.  Big thanks to all who brought beers along and special thanks to @sevarity who brought along some homebrew and tasty cheeses.

Vote for Edinburgh for the Autumn #Twissup and I'm sure Craig may bring a few interesting bottles from the back of his cupboard to share! 

For this event alone I consider my membership of rate beer a good thing and there's a whole hoist of other events regularly advertised that I may one day get along to (when I'm not stranded on a small island...). For those of you already on ratebeer, look me up either by clicking on the thingummy over there (points to the right) on my blog or searching for Stephanos on rate beer. Those of you who haven't yet looked at the site, go take a look its a great resource!


  1. I owe a lot to ratebeer. It's where I first got gen about beers I'd never tried before. It led me into trying new styles. It honed my appreciation of flavour and aroma (only so many times you can write "hoppy aroma, nice malt backbone, smooth finish").

    It introduced me to a right shower of bastards and some great new friends.

    It's easy to take the piss out of ratebeer. It's more fun to join in and get out of it what you want to, though.

  2. exactly, I hope other people discover its usefulness!
    As with all reviews I like reading reviews of things I've tried already and seeing whether I agree or not!