Trolling the leaderboards -- as is my wont -- I noticed that my favorite Boulevard beer (the Saison-Brett) barely cracked the top ten in the Lower Midwest. It's a great beer, and along with Love Child and other specials I've had from the brewery, I was convinced that Boulevard Brewing was underrated.
Should they rank higher than 16th in the nation, as they do by cumulative BAR?
|Stone Brewing Co.||251.7||90|
|Founders Brewing Company||187.4||50|
|Three Floyds Brewing Company||185.1||53|
|Dogfish Head Craft Brewery||169.0||64|
|Hill Farmstead Brewery||163.8||29|
|Firestone Walker Brewing Company||153.2||34|
|Cigar City Brewing||148.5||56|
|Russian River Brewing Company||146.5||34|
|Goose Island Beer Co.||136.7||55|
|Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.||115.8||65|
|Bell's Brewery, Inc.||95.7||55|
|Boulevard Brewing Co.||93.8||39|
|New Glarus Brewing Company||91.6||26|
|Lagunitas Brewing Company||88.1||35|
|Avery Brewing Company||87.6||38|
|Cascade Brewing Company||77.4||25|
I flipped ahead to their worst beers and noticed that they had 45 beers, and only four of them were negative. How did that rank among the top 20 breweries? Who made the most duds? Who has the lowest 'negative BAR' (suck?) percentage?
And this is not brewsterbation -- say you are at a store and see a beer you don't recognize from one of these breweries. Perhaps you'd rather not take the chance that you get a negative beer. Maybe you're visiting family and you know that if you bring a dud you'll have to hear 'beer nerd' jokes all night while they make sour beer face at you. Maybe you're just not in the mood to be frisky. Knowing your chance of getting a bad beer can be useful.
So: those same 20 breweries, ranked from the lowest Suck Percentage to the highest:
|Brewery||Sum BAR||Beers||Percent Neg|
|Hill Farmstead Brewery||163.8||29||0.00%|
|Three Floyds Brewing Company||185.1||53||1.82%|
|Firestone Walker Brewing Company||153.2||34||4.76%|
|Russian River Brewing Company||146.5||34||5.26%|
|Founders Brewing Company||187.4||50||5.36%|
|New Glarus Brewing Company||91.6||26||6.25%|
|Stone Brewing Co.||251.7||90||6.60%|
|Boulevard Brewing Co.||93.8||39||8.89%|
|Avery Brewing Company||87.6||38||8.89%|
|Dogfish Head Craft Brewery||169.0||64||9.72%|
|Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.||115.8||65||9.72%|
|Cascade Brewing Company||77.4||25||11.43%|
|Lagunitas Brewing Company||88.1||35||13.16%|
|Cigar City Brewing||148.5||56||14.52%|
|Goose Island Beer Co.||136.7||55||17.46%|
|Bell's Brewery, Inc.||95.7||55||30.16%|
I'm actually willing to ignore the top two. I don't think anyone would turn away a beer from Hill Farmstead or Cantillon. And the hype factor is strong with them. If you finally do put your hands on them, you're probably not going to give them less than three stars, so it's hard for them to put up negative BAR.
Maybe the rest at the top have that sort of halo effect, but at least they have duds. It makes me more comfortable crowning Three Floyds, Firestone Walker and Russian River your trio of the most solid breweries in America. (It's not too much of a negative mark on Mikkeller and Bell's to be at the bottom of this list -- they take risks that few others take, and they should be rewarded for forward-thinking.)
And it's also worth noting that Boulevard Brewing moved up in these second rankings. They moved up more than every brewer other than Cantillon, New Glarus and Avery, too. There was something to that kernel of an idea I had, while trolling the leaderboards yesterday.