Scouting for Fantasy Beer

Eno Sarris, March 06, 2014

When I decided that the utility slot for our fantasy beer league teams would be due April 1, part of the reason was that I knew our brewery leaderboards would be up by then. So now, we can use them to scout more readily. All part of the master plan.

(Please email me your team name to or send $5 via paypal to if you'd like me to show your picks and/or be a part of the pay league.)

Of course, now it's as easy as filtering the brewery leaderboards for breweries with between 30 and 45 BAR and sorting for your needs. But let's add a few words on why these might be good picks.

If you want BAR from your utility slot, you probably want to look for the bigger breweries, obviously. But a high BAR25 -- the amount of BAR that comes from their top 25% -- does suggest that a brewery has the upside to make an excellent beer at the top. How about Flying Dog, DuClaw or Left Hand? Maybe you'd like to bet on Flying Dog's Barrel Aged Gonzo, which due to the snow came out February 7 and is eligible for the game. DuClaw makes weird beers, frankly, but maybe their Little Freek Coconut Caramel Chocolate Brown Ale -- coming next week -- will hit the right note. Left Hand hasn't announced anything recently, but that could mean something sweet is coming soon.

Probably better to look for more style+ from your utility slot. In other words, a brewer that's about to make an above-average beer. Sort for Solid% -- the likelihood that the brewery makes an above-average beer -- and some interesting names rise to the top. Maybe that above-average beer will come from Arizona Wilderness, Urban Chestnut in St. Louis, Black Raven in Washington State, or Pretty Things in Boston. Pretty Things is launching *two beers* this weekend even!

If you'd like the combine the two and get a great beer that's likely to be above average, then you'll want to use Solid for your sorting. That brings Bellwoods Brewery in Ontario to the fore, and (512) Brewing in Texas. (512) has a website, and that website has a brew calendar, and that brew calendar looks like it has a beer due during our fantasy game, but any more I can't tell you. It's hard to read that brew calendar, or it's user error.

Lastly, you might want to go for quantity. Lakefront Brewing in Madison seems to be prolific. They may have a new beer out even -- their website needs a little updating, though. The events ended in January otherwise. Maybe the snow's been really bad.

The leaderboards can help you -- but by April 1 you have to make a decision. Make sure to email me at to lock your slot in.

Eno Sarris writes about baseball at FanGraphs most of the time if he's not here. He doesn't always play daily fantasy, but when he does, he plays it at