31 August 2011

A Goodbye to Our Roundtable Rankings

Now that Hoosier Beer Geek has entered our sixth year, we're looking at ways to make the site better fit who we are now as beer drinkers.

The central idea to HBG has always been that the Knights of the Beer Roundtable would gather to meet and rate beer. This will not change. But one thing we'd like to reconsidered are the beer rankings in the right hand column of the site.

The list is lengthy - and while some of us enjoy the quick reference provided, we now know that the scale is ridiculous, the standards inconsistent, our knowledge ever-increasing. Yes, some beers are better than others. But context is everything. Our top rated beer may have been perfect at our first anniversary party, but it can't possibly be every time after. Some of us refuse to give any beer a perfect score, so the philosophy behind the entire ranking system has changed.

We've come to realize that beers need not be ranked, only rated in the moment. While we'll always love a great beer, we've learned that the real magic happens when friends get together. You can't put that in a table.

As a result, we've removed the roundtable ranking list from the site. We'd love to hear your thoughts.



  1. Considering how much and how often my own palate and preferences seem to change, I've always thought of rating as futile. They can change by the day and by the situation and by what I feel like drinking - could be the greatest porter in the world, but if I'm sitting outside on a summer day, it's the wrong beer for the wrong situation and it's rating would likely suffer as a consequence. Though I've referenced reviews on Beer Advocate for years and been a member of the site for quite a while as well, I've never ticked for that reason too. It's a nice way to keep track of what you've had and how your tastes have changed or developed, but I feel there are way too many variables and biases in place for anything to be critically accurate. The only way to do it is to rate to style alone, which shouldn't even take "liking" it into consideration. And then what's the point?

  2. Based on my view of your site, you could fit one more page along the top menu bar. I would suggest an "Indiana Beer" page to replace the right column below the recent comments on the right sidebar. When it is a single post on a page, you end up with about 2 full pages of nearly empty screen.

    Personally, I hate the double column sidebar in general, so this would kill two birds with one stone.

  3. I liked the list...no so much because of the rankings, but because it just became this out-of-control monster list of beers you guys had rated!

    I think in removing the list, you are closing a chapter...no, more like a volume...of the hoosierbeergeek story. Are you prepared for that? Is that part of the master plan, or more a result of a hasty decision?

    Either way, it's okay to make changes and move on.

  4. Well it's not like we're not going to rate beers anymore, it's just that we're not going to have this list where we say "this is now the best beer". I'm prepared for that. It'll be nice to not have a crutch where we're out drinking and I go "this porter is pretty good, but do I like it as much as Founder's Porter?" or stuff like that.

    It shouldn't matter how much I liked Founder's Porter. It's not a contest, and I'm not going to stop buying whatever strikes me when I'm at the bar.

    At least that's what I think I'm going to do..