The "Other" Top 25

Eno Sarris, August 06, 2013

Visit our glossary and you'll see more complete definitions of wOBAR and BAR, but the basic run down goes like this: wOBAR is just a style-indexed rating for all beers with more than 50 check-ins. If your pale ale beats other pale ales, it doesn't matter how popular it is. When creating BAR, though, we thought it made sense to then give credit for popularity -- not only does it mean the rating is 'more real' or the signal is stronger, but the best beer should probably be great and popular, no?

Well, maybe not. There are the rare-bottle fiends, the ones that are unconcerned with the popularity of a beer. They may not care about how many bottles a beer has sold, and they may be willing to risk the idea that 50 dudebros somewhere are pumping up a bottle of beer their friend brewed, all the in the search for the best tasting beer, period.

So, wOBAR.

Soon you'll be able to sort by it yourself, but for the time being, let me take us on a ride. The top 25 beers by wOBAR:

Beer Brewery Style wOBAR BAR
Celtia Societe Frigorifique et Brasserie de Tunis Pale Lager 1.573043951 6.527652954
Bundaberg Ginger Beer Bundaberg Brewed Drinks Non-Alcoholic 1.478906714 4.826416271
Goldie Girl Golden IPA Tamashii Brewing Company American IPA 1.466346154 8.580016718
Light Rock Ale RJ Rockers Brewing Company Koelsch 1.421730737 9.081717987
Village Tavern 1821 Scotch Ale CB's Brewing Company Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy 1.312091503 8.310108657
Village Tavern Old Post Road Porter CB's Brewing Company Porter 1.305216295 8.799525058
Zombie Dust Three Floyds Brewing Company American Pale Ale 1.264102116 15.02154685
Chocolate Rain (2013) The Bruery American Stout 1.243085106 9.265880703
Carton Canyon Carton Brewing Company American Adjunct Lager 1.23715415 5.269463865
Hoponius Union Jack's Abby Brewing Pale Lager 1.228829003 8.37582097
Guest Lager Half Acre Beer Company Pale Lager 1.228216365 5.605668916
Tamashii Man Imperial Tamashii Brewing Company Imperial / Double IPA 1.215116279 8.740940135
North Island India Pale Ale SOC Brewing Inc. American IPA 1.2125 7.495356534
Zagorka Special Zagorka Brewery / Pivovaren Zavod Zagorka Pale Lager 1.197583623 5.672479996
Tennent's Original Export Lager Tennent Caledonian Brewery (C&C Group plc) Euro Lager 1.19217033 5.430745769
Fou' Foune (2012) Brasserie Cantillon Lambic 1.188122605 7.297138073
2nd Anniversary Lager Jack's Abby Brewing Blonde Lager 1.174923632 7.402074133
Redrum IPA AF Brew American IPA 1.166346154 6.921508008
Bean Flicker Blonde Odd Side Ales American Blonde Ale 1.158157277 6.053783515
Tomislav Pivo Zagrebačka Pivovara (StarBev) Baltic Porter 1.15674826 8.808884826
Premium Lager Hell's Gate Brewing Co. American Adjunct Lager 1.153895824 5.066085283
Hoyner Pilsner Hoyne Brewing German Pilsner 1.134814877 5.604465354
District North Line Lager Revolution Brewing Company American Adjunct Lager 1.133258046 4.682976976
Strawator Abita Brewing Company American Adjunct Lager 1.126920073 5.486756912
Belgian Style Golden Ale HenHouse Brewing Company Golden Ale 1.122746186 5.962202926

You already knew one of the beers that would show up here. We had a whole post about the Zagorka Special and our friend in Bulgaria. Hopefully some of you have gotten your hands on this nectar of the gods and reined him in. Or joined in, we're not here to direct your ratings. Just, it seems rather unlikely that the beer is a top-1oo beer globally.

And you'll see that with many of these beers. The only beer that garnered enough check-ins to really take this wOBAR to the top was Zombie Dust. Oh, that legendary beer from Three Floyds. I agree with its ranking on both lists.

But what is Celtia? A Tunisian beer that is mostly panned as watery on your local rating sites. One review questions how safe the beer is. Sales of alcohol are limited to certain areas and times in Tunisia, and untappd doesn't have a strong downloadership in the country. That's basically a recipe for an overvalued beer: it's brewed somewhere that isn't known for beer, it's in a style that isn't big in the craft world, and a few enthusiastic drinkers have given it the thumbs up.

Maybe the popularity quotient is a good idea.

We could have probably seen that when the second beer wasn't even a beer, but hey, maybe the Bundaberg Ginger Beer is the best dang non-alcoholic beer out there. Good luck getting the Australian soda company to send you one.

How about the original idea? That we would find some ultra-rare gem in here?

Reports have the RJ Rockers Light Rock Ale as a drinkable crossover Koelsch from South Carolina. Half Acre's Daisy Cutter is a great Chicago IPA, so there's little doubt in my mind that their Guest Lager is decent. Jack's Abby in Framingham, Massachussetts looks like they make good beers, too, and since Lagers are an easy category to beat out, their Hoponius Union looks like a giant among the dwarves. Repeat all of that for Revolution Brewing's entry on the list.

Rarer beers on this list are interesting. Abita in Louisana makes a Strawberry Lager and an 8% ABV Helles Bock called Andygator, and listed here is their unholy union, described by some as cream soda plus strawberries plus beer. If you like it, I guess you like it.

And then there's a beer that deserves more attention. Fou' Foune from Cantillon. The Belgian brewery is small, and their distribution does not reach far, but their reputation is large. This beer's sourness is more reserved than some sours, and the fruitness forward -- that might turn some off -- but it's also less funky than some of Cantillon's other famous beers. I may even have a Cantillon this Friday at the Mikkeller Bar opening.

But it probably won't be a Fou' Foune, because that apricot lambic is really hard to find. That makes it our wOBAR superstar.