New to Craft Beer? Start with the Best Beer Websites & Communities
Beer drinkers come in two forms: those who want to get smashed and those who like the taste. At this point, those who don’t drink beer are asking themselves, “Who could possibly like the taste of beer?” Done right, you could be one such person.
Admittedly, beer is an acquired taste. At this point, non-drinkers of beer are asking, “Why go through the misery of acquiring the taste?” Because once acquired, beer offers a certain world of taste that no other beverage can — as long as you avoid the mainstream macro brands.
If you simply don’t like beer, that’s fine! Drink what you like and don’t let anyone — including myself — tell you otherwise. But if you want to experience the wonders of craft beer, then these websites will help you on that journey.
Note: MakeUseOf encourages responsible drinking. If you feel that you may have an alcohol problem, please check out these tools for sobriety support . The taste of beer is not worth your mental and physical health.
Beer Advocate is the first beer review site to become popularized across the web and still remain standing after all this time. Launched in 1996, it has since built up a database of just over 100,000 different beers from around the world and 3.8 million ratings for those beers.
The premise of Beer Advocate hinges on user reviews. Each user, once registered, can submit what they think about different beers by rating the appearance, smell, taste, mouthfeel, and overall enjoyment using a 5-point scale. Using these reviews, each beer reviews a BA Score out of 100.
Each beer also receives a separate score, also out of 100, given by The Bros. Who are The Bros? They’re the two founders of Beer Advocate, Todd and Jason Alström. It isn’t unusual to find that their scores differ wildly from the rest of the community members.
How can Beer Advocate help you?
Every time you drink a beer, check out the user reviews for it and see how others describe the taste, smell, and appearance. You can use that knowledge to build your own palate and find other beers that match your preferred flavor profile.
You can also use the website in two other ways. First, to build a wishlist of beers that you want to buy some time in the future. Second, to find the best rated breweries in your area.
RateBeer is often seen as the alternative to Beer Advocate. Those who don’t like the general sense of elitism that pervades the Beer Advocate forums tend to jump ship and find refuge in RateBeer’s easier-going community.
Though launched in 2000, four years later than Beer Advocate, RateBeer has recently overtaken its rival in sheer size with nearly 200,000 beers from around the world and 4.5 million ratings in its database.
RateBeer’s rating system is distinctly different from its rival. When users submit a review, they rate aroma out of 10, appearance out of 5, taste out of 10, palate out of 5, and overall enjoyment out of 20. This 50-point scale becomes the beer’s rating.
Beers also have a 100-point score that reflects their percentile ranking amongst all beers as well as a style score that reflects their ranking amongst all beers within that particular style.
How can RateBeer help you?
RateBeer’s unique rating system can help you find tasty beers that may not be so highly ranked under Beer Advocate’s system. Ideally, you would use both websites regularly for best results.
I really like two things about this site.
First, there are multiple ranking lists on the sidebar that highlight interesting beers, such as “Top Newly Listed Beers” and “Top Seasonal Beers”. Second, the forums are a great place to sit back and discuss beer in a friendly environment.
The coolest thing about Reddit is that there are so many interesting user-created communities — properly known as subreddits — and most of them aren’t even aware that the others exist. For example, /r/Beer is the subreddit where fans of craft beer can talk beer.
The /r/Beer community is nothing like Beer Advocate and RateBeer. There is no system of user-submitted review scores. There are no databases of beers or breweries. Instead, you get everything you could want from a community.
The people here are kind and helpful. They want to spread the joy of craft beer to others. As such, they’re welcoming of newbies, especially those who have lots of questions and show a genuine desire to learn more about the complexities of beer.
How can /r/Beer help you?
Whenever you have questions regarding beer, ask them here. You’ll be pointed in the right direction 99% of the time.
Not sure which beer you might like? Curious about the culture and history behind beer names, styles, and labels? Need help finding a particular beer in your area? Confused about some — or all — of the terminology? No problem. Ask away!
Exploring the Realms of Beer
Most people — Americans in particular — think that beer starts and ends with Budweiser, Miller, and Coors. Fortunately for us all, those beers are the bottom of the barrel and barely even scratch the surface of what’s possible in terms of taste.
Expand your beer tastes and see what you’ve been missing out on. You might just be delightfully surprised.
Worried about the cost and calories of what you’re drinking? Check out the Booze Calculator and the GetDrunkNotFat website. Lastly, if you ever find yourself out and intoxicated, call a cab or hire an Uber driver to take you home safely!
Are you a craft beer fan? If so, which websites do you frequent and why do you like them? If not, what’s keeping you from liking beer? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!
Image Credits: Beer Variety Via Shutterstock
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