We don’t close the brewery that often, but this week all the staff that works in production had the week off. They’ve done a great job over the past year, or since we moved into our new Kungsten brewery and brewed our first beer there on the 21st of October 2015. So far we’ve brewed 23 new beers at our Kungsten brewery and released one new beer from our Sockerbruket Sour brewery.
The latest of our new beers is called “Raters gonna rate“, and the best way to explain why we did this beer, I’ll repost one of the questions and answers from last week’s interview with Adam, our head of brewery operations.
What is your biggest challenge as a brewer? What is your personal philosophy on the beer that you want to release?
Adam. Well I guess the main thing is to be self critical. Every single beer you make you should understand what’s wrong with it, before you start looking at what’s right with it. And every single beer that is made there’s something wrong with… just ask raters.
Darryl. Is that why our latest beer is called “Raters gonna rate”?
Adam. We did “Raters gonna rate”, because… well it’s a challenge right? It will stir up some raters and it will be interesting to see what the ones that think rating is important in the context of beer development thinks in the rating of the beer, compared to people trying it for their own sake and publicizing how much they know about beer. Of course it’s tongue in cheek, but half a finger up, from my point of view. I don’t speak on behalf of the whole brewery (laughs).
With that said, this week we’re discussing ratings, judging and the craft beer market.
The top 10 global beers
The following video was published at the end of 2014, but not a lot seems to have changed with regards to the top 10 beers in the world. The criteria was to pick one beer per country that tasted best, sold best and had longevity.
Having been in the craft beer market a couple of years now, I have heard what people have said about some of these beers in this list. The fact is however that the craft beer market is still in its infancy, but is growing steadily. The US which has the biggest craft beer market represents only 15% of their total beer market, with some in the market setting a goal of 20% by 2020.
All the craft beer markets in the world are showing some sort of growth, and seems to follow the same pattern from the US market. Their market share stood at 5.7% in 2011, so the industry has more than doubled in just four years. This is good news for us here in Sweden, where the craft beer market is still in the lower single digits.
One of the ways we can grow faster, is to become better. Not just better beer from better breweries, but better reviews from the craft beer lovers out there. Craft breweries such as ourselves don’t mind bad ratings or low ratings. It’s part of parcel of being in a market that is filled with so much choice and so many great breweries. What doesn’t help anyone is not giving a reason for the low rating.
How can we improve a specific beer if there’s no comment added to a low rating? How can we make better beer if the only comment was “I didn’t like it”?
Only together can we grow the market, but for that to happen, the craft breweries would need some concrete feedback from the people drinking their beer.
Victory Brewers Read Mean Beer Reviews
In the video below you’ve got the brewers from Victory Brewing reading some comments written along with reviews of some of their beers. Listening to the comments as a brewery owner, one can only sympathise with them, because we’ve received similar comments. Tough to not get frustrated, but this is where everyone is entitled to their own opinion.
The Untappd algorithm
- Beer ratings are now calculated at a PURE average. They are not longer weighted against other beers. To get a rating, a beer must have 10 or more ratings.
- You cannot rate a beer a 0. If you do – it’s the same as not rating the beer. By not rating a beer, it doesn’t count toward it’s total. It doesn’t mean a 0 rating.
- You can rate as a many times as you want – but you only get 1 rating per beer per user.
So You Want to Be a Beer Judge?
Really not going to pretend as if I know what it takes to judge beer, as I am still learning about craft beer with every passing day. I get help understanding beer from talking to our brewers as well as other people in our industry who really know beer and what it takes to judge it. One solid resource are the guys and girls from Craftbeer.com.
Our friend Magnus Svensson (M2) judging beer like an expert.
I’ll highlight a few things here, but if you’re interested, the best would be to read their entire article on judging beer and follow the links from there.
Their guide is divided into four main sections:
- Beer Style guidelines, to make sure you understand the differences between different beers.
- Getting started includes practising judging beer, recognising off flavours, expanding your flavour vocabulary and then volunteering.
- Resources for beginners and those a bit more advanced.
- Practice makes perfect.
As I said, this is a great interest for me, as I’ve held my fair share of wine tastings, and in the past 3 years a lot of beer tastings. In my honest opinion, beer tastings are tougher, especially the blind tastings.
Tips on how to review craft beer
At Beerbliotek we have a lot of events and tastings for 10-50 people. Since we started we have learned a lot from our consumers at these tastings. One thing that I have noticed is that there’s always a style of beer for everyone. It’s a challenge when someone comes into a brewery and says “I don’t like beer”.
Judging home-brews during a competition.
We’ve done 162 different beers at the last count, and that means a lot of different flavours and tastes. What I usually try and do is find out what it is in beer they do not like. Maybe it’s bitterness, sweetness, darkness, sourness, or something else.
As soon as you know that, it’s easy to take them to the opposite side of the spectrum, and 9 out of 10 times there will be something they like. And it’s usually a surprise that beer could taste like that 🙂
If you want to be a better taster or a better rater of beer, then there’s a great article I would recommend you read, from Beer Advocate. It provides some solid tips from experts, as well as some do’s and don’ts. They cover everything from appearance, look, smell, taste, mouthfeel to the overall rating. The four things that stand out in their advice is:
- Respect Beer. And Brewers. Behind each beer is a person with feelings and pride. Brewing might be their passion, livelihood, or entire life. Even if you don’t like a beer, at the very least have some respect and be constructive with your criticism.
- Scoring All Ones or Fives. Rating a beer with all ones (no redeeming qualities) or fives (no room for improvement) should be rare. It can be a sign of someone abusing the rating system, too, so consider writing a review to back up your unusually low or high rating.
- Form Your Own Opinion. It’s important to not be influenced by others when reviewing. Everyone is going to have a different experience, so make sure the opinions you express are in fact your own. Don’t allow others to influence you before you review the beer yourself.
- Don’t Review While Intoxicated. Your judgment will be clouded, as will your senses.
I hope you have enjoyed this week’s brewery update? I’ll say it again; we don’t mind low ratings, as long as we know why. You can help us grow the craft beer market when you give constructive feedback on our beer, which will help us improve them for you. That’s what we call a win win 🙂
I’ll end off with this very last reminder to tag your photos of our cans with #FreshestCanInTheLand, to stand a chance to win tickets to the All in Beer Festival. This is the final week.
That’s it from me for this week. Keep the ratings coming.
Until next week.
One month left to compete in our freshest can in the land competition and stand a chance to win tickets to the All in Beer Festival.
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If you’d like to get hold of the same Beer T-Shirt Henrik is wearing then you’d need to get to our webshop soon. We have limited stocks available.
But fear not, we’re releasing our new merchandise range soon, so keep watching this space.
Brekeriet Bar with friends – 13 August 2016
Join us as we head down to Malmö for the ”Brekeriet Bar with friends”. They have invited 11 friends to join them behind the bar and we just happen to be one of their friends.
The other breweries that will join us are Malmö Brewing Co, BrewDog, Remmarlöv Gårdsbryggeri, Hyllie Bryggeri, Constant Companion, Brewski, Alefarm Brewing, Stockholm Brewing Co., Dry & Bitter Brewing Company and Charlis Brygghus.
Each brewery/importer will be represented with two beers and a staff member working the bar. This year Darryl and his fiance will be pouring the beer, so come and say hi.
For more information on the festival and getting hold of your tickets, have a look at their website.
All in Beer Festival 4-5 November 2016
One of our favourite festivals is the All In Beer Fest. The reason? It’s just about beer.
We’ll be attending again this year, but if you’d like to attend, then there’s two ways to go about it. Buy a ticket, or enter our #FreshestCanInTheLand competition, where you stand the chance to win two entrance tickets.
Finding our beers in Sweden
Folköl (Low ABV Beers)
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