06 June 2008

RateBeer versus BeerAdvocate

Generally, I try to stay as far away as I can from website rivalries. As for myself, it all comes down to what site has the best signal-to-noise ratio, which seems to have the most knowledgeable contributors, and which is most usable.

In the beer-geekery web-world, the "big Kahunas" seem to be RateBeer and BeerAdvocate, and to me it's always been a toss-up as to which is a more reliable or useful source of information. (If I'm searching geographically, I tend to lean towards the increasingly-crassly-commercial Pubcrawler, which tends to focus more on the overall venues than the beer-centric reviews of the above two.)

Well, yet another beer site, RealBeer, came up with an analysis that, though imperfect and somewhat statistics-overladen, does tend to give food for thought over the rivalry.

My big problem with these sites (and Beer Advocate Magazine): It seems, too often for my liking, that these sites--or more accurately, the "personality," the vibe, the chatter, and the atmosphere of said sites--tends to push the "extreme beer" movement, while losing sight of the fact that far more customers--the customers that are the bread and butter of the brewers' business--drink the blueberry-wheats, the lighter ales, and the lagers that many reviewers at such sites would turn up their noses at. The noise of "extreme beers" tends to be out of proportion to the actual impact and market share, in my opinion.

What think you?


Warren Rose said...

I definitely agree with your assessment.

Although if I had to chose one, it would definitely be BeerAdvocate.

Folks at RateBeer.com seem to give out perfect scores like they're going out of style.

The BA folks' taste seems to be a bit more refined.

Mikey said...

Agreed. I would campare many "raters" to the Comic-Book Guy on the Simpsons. Praising the "big" and "extreme beer" labels. While the everyday labels bearly warrent a mention. Not all, but most.

Anonymous said...

I think they both have a place. Problem is that when average people are allowed to review things you get so much variety. (just look to see what the top movie on IMDB is right now) Some people will say it is the best ever some the worst.

For ease of use rate beer wins for me. For good info and better review beer advocate gets my nod.

But neither felt just right so I started rating beers on my own blog.