One topic we tend to stay away from here is beer reviews in general. You don’t see this a whole lot for several reasons but mainly because there are a plethora of other places for you to get beer reviews. For every “this beer changed my life” review there is a “stop brewing beer” review. Occasionally I find myself reading reviews simply for the educational benefits. Associating what you taste with specific flavors and being able to articulate those nuances takes practice.  Ultimately, how someone reviews a beer is their own opinion and neither right nor wrong.

Here are a couple of thoughts I have about beer reviewing in general that I want to put out there so that the commentariat can offer their own opinions:

– Reviewing a beer in a systematic way should never be a task and should remain a simple exercise that promotes one’s own appreciation for the craft. I didn’t formally review Oak Aged Dark Lord the one time I had it. I’m okay with that.

–  should be comfortable with telling someone, in person, how they honestly feel about their beer. The anonymity of the Internet shouldn’t be a catalyst in aiding uber-critical and often unfair reviews. This is my single biggest issue with many reviews on the popular beer review sites.

– Ultimately, I come back to IT’S JUST BEER. I really enjoy trying something new and thinking about how a particular flavor was formed, but sitting in a basement thinking about the SRM of Marris Otter malt should never keep me from sharing a beer with a friend.


– Can anyone really form an opinion on a beer with just five ounces? I’m not sure on this one, but I know that several times I have felt unimpressed by a sample only to come back later and revise my opinion.  I hated Beck’s Sea Change album the first and second time I heard it. The third time, a few months later, I was blown away.

– Opinions are just that and neither wrong or right. Reading reviews can be great to get familiar with a style but should never prejudice or influence your own opinion. I’m sure, Drie Fonteinen Millennium Gueuze is amazing, but I’m not going to walk into a tasting expecting my life to change. Isn’t that the whole point? To try something new and experience truly amazing brewing?

– Don’t make up words to describe a beer. If you have to think too hard about it, it’s probably a stretch to begin with. I’ve never chewed on an old catcher’s mitt, for example, have you?

These are just a few things I try to remember on the rare occasion that I review a beer. I have no problems with those who religiously review every beer they drink, and I certainly understand why they do it. My opinion on beer reviews in general are just like reviews themselves. They are my own, and worth nothing, but I’ll be damned if Bell’s Two Hearted isn’t the best IPA in America.

What do you think about formally reviewing beers ? How do you remember what you have tried before? Do you disagree with anything I’ve written here? Let us know what you think in the comments!