The Difficulty of the Recommendation Post

Eno Sarris, April 27, 2016

I understand the allure of a short list of beers that might fit a specific need. Ten Beers to Take to the Beach! Seven Beers to Bring to Thanksgiving! Seven Beers That Are Perfect For Welcoming in Warm Weather!  Seven lists that will surely link to seven more! Maybe it's hot outside! Maybe it's cold. 

That linked one's a doozy, but it's worth a spot look. Just because it represents the difficulty of that sort of recommendation post. And I'm not talking about getting a handle on the spelling of gose -- you don't want to go afowl of the readership -- I'm talking about the problem of even writing such a post. 

There are seven beers on the list. Three of them are available to me. Such is the life of making recommendations to a large, broad audience. We have leaderboards for just this sort of thing, to try and deal with availability issues. 

And the writer did a good job of finding beers that are generally available! I get Founders! I don't see Oberon, or haven't yet. Firestone Walker Easy Jack, the Cheap Beer entry, and Oskar Blues Yella Pils are mostly national beers.

Firestone Walker might only be on both coasts if Seek A Brew is to be believed. But if you limited this thing to only nationally available beers, you might get a list with Lagunitas Lil' Sumpin Sumpin, Sierra Nevada Summerfest, Stone Go To IPA, Yuengling (they're still craft!), Firestone Walker Pivo Pils and Easy Jack, and Kona Longboard Lager on it. A bit boring. 

Make an actual list of beers you love, and nobody but your neighbor will be able to find it. Fieldwork Pulp Free! Cellarmaker Hoppily Ever After! AleSmith X! Stillwater Gose Gone Wild! Cantillon St. Lamvinus! Saison Dupont! (Okay that last one might go on both lists, with Easy Jack as well, but you get the point.) 

We've been stuck between both poles here. When we did the best of each state series, we tried to find ones that were available and ones that are harder to find. All of our lists eventually run into this problem, really. If you're on this site, we assume that you like beer a lot and tend towards the harder-to-find lists. 

In the end, there's room for both, even if we lampoon the listicle. It takes a half second to read through, and you might remember a good beer to pick up for the beach trip because of it. It serves as a general guide -- these are good beers you will see again -- while leaderboards can help you really drill down. 

It's okay! Anything to help 'goose' up a good beer, I suppose.