As long as I am drinking a variety of beers, I might as well rate them. The question is, "how?"
A radio show I know rates new music on a "Toss It - Burn It - Buy It" scale. I like the simplicity of that scale, but I will not pretend to know what my readers might like. My tastes are my own. So I am thinking about...
1 - I don't get it
2 - I can understand the appeal (for others)
3 - I'd have another
4 - I'd seek this out
5 - I must make a pilgrimage to the brewery.
I fully expect about half of the beers I try to earn a 3. There are many beers, but how many really stand out - for good or bad? The reason why beer companies advertise so much is so that they can distinguish their products on marketing when their products are almost indistinguishable.
Two stories that illustrate the power of beer marketing. 1) The Pabst Brewery had their beers free on-tap in the lunch room. They were surprised to discover that their workers preferred to drink Red, White & Blue Light - a discount beer - over their more "premium" brands. They continue(d?) to sell the beer as RW&B Light, but they also began to sell it as "Jacob Best's Premium Light." Of course they sold more of it under the premium label. 2) My brother and his friends once did blind tastings, and the winner was not an expensive micro brew, but rather discount-beer Mickey's Big Mouth.
While there is a great variety across beers - from stouts, ales, lagers, porters. Within a classification I expect that I will have a hard time distinguishing one from another. Perhaps 20-25% will be in a "4" and another 20-25% will be "2." Very few will be a 1 or a 5.
So why bother? Well, an average beer is still a beer, and beer is good. But also growing in appreciation for the varieties and discover a 5 or two will make My Year of Beer a personal success.
-Jim from Milwaukee