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Finding an Under-Rated Brewery

Eno Sarris, March 13, 2014 -   

The question after the first question is often more interesting. For example, you might ask: What breweries are under-rated? The second question is: What rating system has rated them poorly? And the third question is: What *other* rating system can we use to find the ones that the first rating system has under-rated?

This, in a nutshell, is what BeerGraphs is about.

In this case, the answer to the second question is Beers Above Replacement. That's a counting stat that rewards popularity and excellence within a style above all. The answer to the third question is Solid%, which rewards a brewery for having generally good beers across the board. And the method? Take all breweries with more than 50 accumulated BAR and rank them by BAR and by Solid%. Then take the difference of the two ranks and sort by that.

Here is a leaderboard of potentially under-valued breweries!

Brewery Location # Beers Avg ABV SOLID SOLID% Solid% rnk Avg BAR BAR25 BAR BARnk BAR-Solid%
Liberty Brewing NZ 10 6.3 71.6 100% 7 5.06 50.56 112 105
Weissbierbrauerei G. Schneider & Sohn DE 19 6.4 71.62 89% 16 2.69 20.51 51.05 110 94
Lakewood Brewing Company TX 14 7.6 71.57 93% 10 3.93 27.25 54.97 101 91
Bières de Chimay BE 17 7.9 71.57 88% 20 2.99 25.04 50.88 111 91
8 Wired Brewing Co. NZ 17 8.3 71.56 88% 19 3.13 28.33 53.21 103 84
Four Peaks Brewing Co. AZ 18 6.5 71.55 83% 31 2.78 26.07 50.06 114 83
Boneyard Beer Company OR 16 7.5 71.53 81% 34 3.2 27.54 51.25 107 73
Driftwood Brewery BC 17 7.2 71.52 82% 33 3.12 33.16 53.09 104 71
Societe Brewing Co. CA 18 7.1 71.57 89% 15 3.67 31.84 66.1 82 67
Harviestoun Brewery GB 18 6.3 71.54 83% 30 3.29 27.58 59.13 95 65
Sante Adairius Rustic Ales CA 20 5.3 71.63 100% 4 4.05 29.58 80.95 65 61
Maine Beer Company ME 19 6.5 71.57 100% 5 4.25 37.21 80.75 66 61
HopDog BeerWorks AU 17 6.4 71.58 88% 18 4.18 31.32 70.99 77 59
Garage Project NZ 21 6.2 71.55 86% 22 3.3 34.16 69.3 79 57
Kane Brewing Company NJ 22 5.7 71.55 73% 46 2.46 25.73 54.21 102 56
NoDa Brewing Company NC 21 6.7 71.55 67% 58 2.44 27.11 51.22 108 50
Carton Brewing Company NJ 19 6.8 71.58 89% 14 4.37 34.29 83.11 63 49
Magic Rock Brewing GB 28 5.8 71.57 79% 38 2.28 27.24 63.9 87 49
Funky Buddha FL 24 6.1 71.55 83% 29 2.97 33.89 71.29 75 46
Toppling Goliath Brewing IA 23 5.3 71.55 100% 3 4.46 49.73 102.58 48 45
Voodoo Brewing Co. PA 19 9.8 71.52 68% 54 3.02 32.14 57.39 99 45
Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster) GB 26 5.1 71.51 62% 71 1.92 30.98 49.91 115 44
Lawson's Finest Liquids VT 19 5.7 71.54 74% 45 3.43 34.73 65.16 85 40
Karbach Brewing Co TX 29 6.4 71.62 90% 13 3.45 40.66 100.15 50 37
New England Brewing Co. CT 22 6.1 71.59 95% 9 4.91 46.59 107.96 45 36
Jack's Abby Brewing MA 31 6.6 71.56 97% 8 3.63 52.5 112.64 41 33
Pizza Port CA 37 6.6 71.57 84% 26 2.52 41.83 93.34 55 29
Noble Ale Works CA 29 7.5 71.51 66% 63 2.11 37.16 61.27 92 29
Brouwerij 3 Fonteinen BE 24 5.8 71.63 92% 11 4.91 40.94 117.72 39 28
Perennial Artisan Ales MO 29 8.2 71.53 76% 42 2.77 48.13 80.42 67 25

You have to feel good about a list when out pops out all the beers you want to try or think are under-rated subjectively. The internationals may not be a fair addition to this group, since BAR will probably under-rate a beer that doesn't have great distribution in America. Most untappd users are American, after all. But if you can try some 8 Wired, do. They are using New Zealand hops and making great beers.

Otherwise, there's a who's who of up and comers here. Lakewood. Carton. Maine. Funky Buddha. Toppling Goliath. Jack's Abby. Karbach. New England. Perennial. If you were to answer the *first* question -- which breweries are undervalued -- you'd answer with these names. If you can enjoy beer from one of these breweries, do so.

I'll have to admit that I don't love Four Peaks' offerings enough to recommend them to anyone headed to Arizona, and maybe they represent a pitfall of this analysis. If you get a Four Peaks, you're getting a decent beer. But I haven't had a superlative beer from Four Peaks yet.

But then, if you wanted to avoid this pitfall, you could sort this list one more time. Sort it for BAR25 and you get breweries that don't make a ton of beers, but make good beers across the line and hit high notes as well: Jack's Abby, Toppling Goliath, Perennial, New England, Pizza Port, Karbach and Maine: Go get these beers.

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