I love Ratebeer, but I have one problem. All of the top-rated beers are called things like ‘Second whisker old mountain screech’ and are produced by a centenarian using an Elizabethan pot cask in a cave in Dogs Leg, Umbria who brews ten bottles a year for his six friends and the Queen.
Just as one example, one of your winners is Boatrocker Imperial Stout. Now, Boatrocker is on the Mornington peninsula, on the other side of Melbourne, just about 50k from me. The largest liquor chain in Australia, Dan Murphys, carries Boatrocker products, including Boatrocker stout. But not the Imperial stout. That was a limited edition that, like twenty or so other limited editions, was only available to a few local select outlets and Cellar Door members. Note the ‘was’.
It wasn’t something that has been brewed successfully for a thousand years and is exported all over the world, like the imported Weihenstephaner Baroque Dunkel that I can buy down the road. It was one experimental vat that turned out particularly well that won’t be brewed again because Australians have been trained only to like and buy alcoholic soda-water.
If I can’t even get the one winner that is close to me, what use is it to me to know that Hillbilly Jack in Medicine Hat, Wyoming, brews one barrel of the best rhubarb cider in the world per year and distributes it secretly only to the member of the local knitting club?
What I want to see are the top-rated of beers that I can actually get. Can you have a set of winners for companies that produce x amount per year or export x amount to more than ten countries? Or something that is widely available in its own country, even, so that I can import some and terrify the Australian Excise Service. Then I can obtain a pack or two and down it with the satisfaction that it is among the best.