Beer Travel History viewed through Charts


One of my favorite Ratebeer features is the chart created from a user’s history of beer ratings. Your account statistics page shows the most-rated styles as well as a rating distribution and total accumulation through the years (or months) of entering beer ratings.

Added today is the ability to view these charts for individual styles, providing you with a graphical history specific to any one beer style. What’s the point? Consider my ratings of Porter, a style I rarely seek out these days, but one which is found at nearly any brewpub in the United States.

My early days of beer travel consisted of a number of road-trips across the western United States, and the number of Porter ratings is concentrated around this period and drops off in recent years.

Much more interesting are the charts of region-specific styles; ones which you can best experience traveling to their place of origin. In 2006 I visited Cologne and reviewed nearly every Kölsch available in the city at the time.

Ratings of Zwickel/Keller/Landbier are concentrated around three trips to Bavaria, in 2008, 2009 and 2011.

Similarly, Bohemian Pilsener ratings are concentrated around visits to the Czech Republic in 2008, 2009 and 2011 (when I went a little nuts and tried about 60 different in a week).

Cider ratings come almost all from a trip in Summer 2011, across the Sidra Natural-producing regions of northern Spain.

Unblended and Gueuze lambic ratings spiked during visits to Belgium in 2006 and 2008, which included sessions at the Weekend of Spontaneous Fermentation, an event which offers more jonge and oude lambik than probably any other in the world.

This all may seem a bit too navel-gazing to the non-raters in our company, but hopefully these good folks do not confuse the acquisition of ratings strictly with “scooping” or “ticking”, or trainspotting, as some like to say. Beer rating for some people surely can be an obsession, and though there’s nothing wrong with being obsessive about beer rating if that makes you happy, it’s not why I (and a lot of other Ratebeer members) rate beer. For me, the biggest reason to keep ratings current and track everything I’ve had over the years is the ability to look back on my travels and relive the experience just a little bit.

ratebeer google map v3 – sorting, filtering, clicking, traveling


Two days until I leave for Copenhagen; from May 10-12 the town has organized a weekend fit for the beer traveler, one that I feel I shouldn’t miss. The looming trip has pushed me to launch version 3 of the Ratebeer Map: a searchable, sortable, dynamically-loading web app containing every brewery, brewpub, bar, store and beer-worthy restaurant in our global database. As of May 2012, that includes over 21,000 user-submitted places which either brew beer, sell beer or otherwise focus their business, in some way at least, on good beer:

The above view of major cities is presented first, with city markers clickable to zoom in for a closer look. In addition to a fullscreen toggle, the right side panel allows filtering by type (brewery, brewpub, bar/pub, beer store, restaurant) and score (All, 75+, 90+), and displays locations which appear in the map window, ranked by score at right:

Hovering the street view icon (located at top-left) over the area shows available ground truth views:

Dropping the icon onto the Nørrebro Bryghus marker gives us a taste of what the scene is like from nearly 8,000 miles away:

So what’s happening in Copenhagen this weekend? Thursday is a three-course beer dinner at Mmm – zonen for madkultur (Sour & Bitter dinner), featuring new releases from Brouwerij 3 Fonteinen, including a collaborative blend made by Armand Debelder and Tomme Arthur of Lost Abbey. Sour & Bitter also features the release of vintage 2010 3 Fontienen Framboos. Excited yet? Thursday through Saturday is Ølfestival København, while across town the Copenhagen Beer Celebration takes place on Friday and Saturday evenings. The CBC is a new event, with a limited number of tickets (now long sold out) and a small number of carefully-chosen breweries in attendance.

I hope my Danish brethren forgive me for waiting so long to visit their fair country, but you gave me a great excuse to do so now.