Barley Mowat 

Top Ten Lists

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Okay, I’ll admit it. Beer geeks are an obsessive lot. Nothing proves this more than the recent wave of consternation and discontentment that rippled through the barley fandom after a random website published a “Top Ten List of BC Breweries” that wasn’t in line with what many expected. Or reality.

Was the list bad? Hells yeah. How bad? Well, when your Top Ten list includes a brewery that no longer exists you know you’re doing something wrong. I’d like to think there are a few breweries out there that both outcompete Dockside in terms of quality and still produce, you know, beer. Basically the whole thing reeked of a desperate attempt to throw together something–anything–to cash in on this whole hot “good beer” trend and get some page views. And we happily obliged this hackneyed effort by linking to it over and over and over again.

Which website? Who the fuck cares? It sucks. If you’re curious about it, a 10s trip to Google or twitter will turn it up. Not directly, mind you, but rather through blogs about it, again pointing out the stupidity of the matter, that the blogs discussing it are more highly ranked than the source page. I’d advise against going there in any event, as there’s nothing to learn. I’m not going to link it here, but rather I will talk about my favourite BC breweries instead. Mostly because I’m awesome… or a complete narcissist, I can’t remember which.

I have a list of BC breweries on this site. And implicit in that is a ranking (you can sort by any column, including “Ranking”). However, I don’t like the notion of anything as arbitrary as a top ten list. What’s the difference between 10 and 11? By the time you get down there, you’re really splitting hairs.

So what’s my top ten list? I don’t have one, as the notion is too subjective and changes too often. I do, however, group breweries based upon a simple notion: if said brewery were to create a brand new beer, what would my preconceived expectation be? For those too lazy to click the link above and sort, here’s the summary:

I expect great/awesome beer:

  • Driftwood
  • Crannóg
  • Howe Sound
  • Central City

I expect solidly good beer:

  • Craig Street
  • Granville Island Tap House (NOT the big brewery)
  • Longwood
  • Spinnaker’s
  • Steamworks
  • Storm
  • Swan’s

I’ll omit the balance for brevity. Am I right? I doubt it. Will this list change? Absolutely. Several breweries are doing their damnedest to improve their beers or produce interesting casks (R&B and Russell among them) and new contenders are popping up all the time. For every new entrant I’ll just have to try their beers and see what I think. Man, this job sucks.

Written by chuck

March 10th, 2011 at 12:56 pm

One Response to 'Top Ten Lists'

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  1. I have been quite enjoying the hype concerning this in the twitterverse. Your take is quite accurate and sensible. I do agree that what your expectations are of a new or upcoming beer is a way to assess how good you view a brewery to be. I always wonder whether The Alibi Room knows how quickly a new cask will be drunk based on the name of the beer and brewery and their reputation.

    http://www.Odysseyales.com

    Odyssey Ales

    10 Mar 11 at 16:17

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