Brewery Rookie of the Year

Eno Sarris, March 22, 2016

It's time to name the Brewery Rookie of the Year.

But first, a note about our data. We only get (an increasingly smaller) amount of data every time we request it from the Untappd leaderboards, which we can do every minute or so. That's how an API works. We are at the mercy of our UT overlords. 

And then on top of it, to keep homebrews and certain misnamed beers off the leaderboards, we add a filter that requires that you get to 50 check ins before the beer registers on our leaderboards. Requiring that many people are checking in, and that they check in at different times to evade the fact that we don't receive all of the UT data at any given time, and that they check in enough despite not having distribution -- that's why we don't always have new beers up right away. The timing thing has probably also led us to have some international breweries before others -- we'll get a higher percentage of the checkins that happen in the middle of the day or night. 

The 'beers' totals below will look way off. Obviously these breweries (and more) have made many more beers. But they don't have the distribution (yet) that means that thousands of people will be checking their beers in all the time, and giving us usable data as we request it from UT. 

So call it a mea culpa. We're doing our best to acquire more data, of course. In the meantime, this list of 2015 rookies is interesting if not maybe the most complete list possible. 

But I asked our database which breweries opened this past year, and sorted by total Beers Above Replacement, and then added a little more information as I could. Here are the most relevant breweries that we should celebrate as being new and interesting and fun (I removed two instances of Bruery Terreux because that seemed like cheating.)

Name Total BAR Solid% Beers Best Beer
Pirate Life Brewing Company (AU) 17.9 100 5 6.2
Fieldwork Brewing Company 12.5 100 5 3.6
Hawkers (AU) 12.1 83 6 3.9
WarPigs Brewpub (DK) 10.1 83 6 3.1
Waikiki Brewing Company 6.3 100 5 2.1
The Hop Concept 6.3 67 3 4.9
Lord Hobo Brewing Co. 5.4 100 3 3.0

Both are top breweries were 'established in 2014' if you visit their sites. However. Fieldwork brewing didn't get really cooking -- it didn't open to the public for business -- until 2015, so we'll leave it alone. 

Pirate Life? They have cool branding, and none of their beers showed up on BeerAdvocate until late 2015 -- oh look at this. They officially released their frst beers at the Gilbert Street Hotel in Adelaide, Australia on March first last year. Scanning the reviews, it looks like the International Rookies of the Year have been universally well-recieved and that they feature big juicy fruity hops in their beers. 

That should sound familiar, if not only because it's a trend in beer -- natural sweetness levels are rising (perhaps due to the wisdom of the crowds) as well as fruit-added pale ales -- but also because Fieldwork's own Alex Tweet discussed that as a guiding taste in many of the pales at his new Oakland brewery in an early interview last year. Congratulations to Fieldwork on being the American Rookies of the Year. 

I won't say too much about beers I haven't had -- good job Hawkers -- but WarPigs deserves a shoutout for strength of concept. They took barbecue to Denmark and sell out their brewpub every night. Plus, it's brewers from 3Floyds and Mikkeller, so you know the beer is good. I'm glad I ran this query just so that I have discovered WarPigs. I currently want to plan a European vacation that somehow gets me to Cantillon and WarPigs in the same trip while not upsetting my wife and children. Castles! That's the ticket. 

I want some Waikiki and will have them the next time I'm in Hawaii, I want some Lord Hobo and will have some when I'm in Boston. The Hop Concept beers have been interesting to me, and Dank & Sticky has brought them to this place in the leaderboard. I bet something they do in the future will be even better. 

In the meantime, congratulations to Pirate Life Brewing, our International Rookies of the Year, and also Fieldwork Brewing, our American Rookies of the Year. We can't wait to see what new beers you come up with this year.