The Best of BeerGraphs 2014

Eno Sarris, December 31, 2014

Our first full year in the books! Thank you so much for reading, participating, critiquing, and sorting our leaderboards. We're always open to suggestions, and always looking to improve. 

That said, we got a few things right this year. So we thought we'd recap the best stories of the year. 

Have a happy new year! 

Against Hoarding, Miles Liebtag
"It's consumerism as hobby, object fetishism as aspiration, a kind of social currency that's mostly proffered and accumulated by people who would otherwise be buying baseball cards and replica fantasy swords."

The Importance of Freshness, Eno Sarris
"In any case, it seems the best thing to do here is trust the brewers and refined palates, as well as the science of one of the most important ingredients in your beer. Hops dies over time, and so too does the flavor in your IPA."

The Declining Ratings of Old Beer, Michael Donato
"The numbers here basically confirm what's obvious. Not only is the Enjoy By date on the bottle a valid suggestion of quality while it's fresh, most consumers are listening and getting the best out of that beer."

High Functioning: Craft Beer and Alcohol, Miles Liebtag
"When was the last 36-hour period in which you did not have a beer? Bonus points if your answer is 'within the last seven days'; double bonus points if that's your answer and you're in the beer business."

Beers at the Baseball Stadium, Michael Donato
"Beer and baseball are linked, and more and more stadiums are introducing good craft beer options for fans to drink while watching their favorite team. Here's a list of the most popular check-ins at each of the thirty Major League Baseball stadiums."

How Much Beer Do Americans Really Drink?, Matt Murphy
"As a result, drinkers across the spectrum tend to underestimate their total alcohol consumption, and I'm no exception." 

The Three Floyds Beer Pub, J.R. Shirt
"Once in the parking lot, I took a moment to take in the scene of where I was and smoke a cigarette. I was on vacation and we were early. People were walking out of the take-out portion of the Brew Pub with cases of Zombie Dust. Clearly, the Beer Gods were smiling. And so was everyone else."

Hopslammed, Miles Liebtag
"At about 11.30 Saturday night, a friend of mine who lives in my neighborhood in Old North Columbus sent me this link via Facebook. Was a local retailer circumventing beer distribution laws?"

What Makes a Brewery Good?, Eno Sarris
"We welcome your input on these metrics all while we thank the BeerGraphs staff for helping develop them, particularly Matt Murphy, John Choiniere, and Sky Kalkman, without whom we wouldn't have any of these fun toys." 

The Business of Beer: The D.C. Import Loophole, Alex Fossi
"As it happens, though, there's a secret option #3. This past Tuesday, someone on Twitter mentioned that they were going to a bar in Washington, D.C. that was serving not just one of these rarities, but both."

The Best Craft Beer and Baseball Bars Across America, Eno Sarris
"I asked our writers to write up their favorite craft beer bars for baseball watching. See this all in list form at the end of the piece, if you're more into brevity and all that. Feel free to add in the comments and we'll improve the list!"

A Craft Beer Wakeup Call for Germany, Harris King
"Once again, the clear indication is that German breweries need to wake up or be left even further behind. And things potentially do look up in 2014. Germany took home both the gold and silver medals for German-Style pilsner."

Higher Grips for Colder Beer, Josh Augustine
"Avoid warming the beer as much as possible. This is the driving theory behind BeerGraphs Editor-In-Chief Eno Sarris’s choice to grip his beers toward the top of the container."

How Much Difference do Beer Grips Really Make?, Josh Augustine
But how much difference does where you hold your glass actually make? Are you really keeping it so much colder by avoiding as much contact as possible?

A Beer on My Shirt Retrospective: Year One, J.R. Shirt
"Maybe a retrospective of Beer On My Shirt's first year on the Barely Beer side of BeerGraphs is slightly egotistical. Maybe it would seem less egotistical if it was written in the third person. Maybe that would make it seem even more egotistical. Well, J. R. Shirt does not care."

Change the Laws So I Can Trade My Stuff For Beer, Alex Fossi
Some laws are oddly specific; in St. Louis, one cannot sit on a street curb and drink beer from a bucket. I can only assume this law was created after a cantankerous lawmaker saw some youths engaged in bucket-drinking and felt the need to curb this dangerous behavior through the legislative process."

Bourbon County Stout: A Case Studay in Vintages, Matt Murphy
"While it may be irksome to see three different BCS entries on the first page of the leaderboards (especially when one of them is a "Non-Vintage" entry which isn't a unique beer, but just a bunch of ratings from people who didn't remember or care to check the year on the bottle), the different vintages provide a window into how vintage beers change each year and how they are perceived by the beer drinker."

The Business of Beer: Innovation and the Rheinheitsgebot, Alex Fossi
"Site founder and peerless captain-for-life Eno Sarris wrote a few days ago about a recent case of several German brewers who conspired to raise prices. He argued that if they really wanted to earn more for their beer, there was an easier way: just make better beer. They wanted to charge more for the same beer, and that's tough to do without cheating the system."

My Affair With Saison, Jeffrey Wiser
"I strolled through the door just like any other day. Another stint at work was in the books and I was ready to unwind. I dropped my bag, hung up my hat and took my customary spot on the couch. My roommates were home, as usual, and the Angels game was on.  Perfect."

Fenway Park Ballpark Beer Review, Josh Augustine 
"As the oldest standing Major League ballpark, many baseball fans regardless of rooting interest make a pilgrimmage to take in a game in the shadow of The Green Monster at Fenway Park. The ability to grab a great beer while taking in said game would be a nice bonus, but that's not why you go to a game there. Which is a good thing."

Hops As Baby Names, Michael Donato
Ignoring for now that the hop is the female flower of the hop plant, what hop names would make good names?"

Pure Biss: Something New!, Eitan Kensky
The reason to celebrate these chef-produced beers is that tap lists are only as good as the people making the purchasing decisions. According to Style+, there are at least two Jack’s Abby beers as good as Hoponius Union. But until chefs, restaurateurs, and bar managers perceive the need to serve newer and different craft brews, they won’t be on tap or in bottles.