Visualization Randomization

Friday, May 12, 2017

Best Beer in the West

A friend and I hosted a beer tasting event the other night and despite small sample sizes in both beers and drinkers we crowned the Best Beer in the West. Actually we split the title with Sticky Hands by Block 15 taking the "Best Beer " portion and Gift of the Magi by Lost Abbey taking "n the West". They are congenially splitting the middle "i" and a collaboration brew is sure to follow.

Good beers from top to bottom

We served up five flights of beer with representatives from Washington, Oregon and California in each one. As each flight was enjoyed, our increasingly malleable samplers ranked the three beers on their phones to the best of their abilities.

IPL, not so much

It wasn't a shock to see Crux Pils came out on top of the lager flight, but I did not expect to see Firestone at the bottom. The group didn't enjoy the extra hoppy aspect and voted for the more traditional lagers.

Pfriem got what?

This was the first surprise of the night. When picking out these beers I didn't see any way that Pfriem wouldn't win. When have you ever had a Pfriem beer that wasn't awesome? You haven't. That being said, Modern Times knocked it out of the park with Blazing World. Hoppy-Dank-Amber, simply described and beautifully brewed. Not too sweet, like I find many ambers, with enough dank, hoppy aroma to make it interesting without turning off those who find IPA's too bitter. This beer also struck a chord with the design wonks present as they loved the can and kept referring to it through out the night.

A billion dollars does not get you the top spot here

Sticky Hands came in first here and overall. Our taste buds both won and lost this round. They went out in a blaze of glory.

What's funny here is that Port Brewing Board Meeting came in second here, but dead last over all. There have been no claims of statistical significance nor rigor in test and measurement here. The second funny part of this flight was the profuse cursing by the native Scot when we introduced High Road and challenges to pronounce sláinte.

Big beers backed by big data

What do a Farmhouse Lager, a NW-Style English Strong Ale and an Imperial Stout have in common? Not much, other than the potential to mess you up quick. We picked out some fun and interesting beers to fill out our final flight of the night, the wild card round. By this point we needed beers that would still stand out after trying 12 different beers and these three surely stood out. Gift of the Magi ended up tied for first overall, Kratovo (one of my personal favorites) poured like motor oil and HUB's Double Vision literally popped out at you (it came with 3D glasses).

Golf Scores!


IPA - 18
Ale - 18
Lager - 25
Wild - 28
Dark - 30

IPA tied for first and took spots 7 and 10, putting it, along with Ale, at the top of the style ranking. Ale clustered a bit more tightly with placing at 3rd, 4th and 11th. Dark and Wild Card
didn't fair so well, despite a well scoring Gift of the Magi.


OR - 29
CA - 39
WA - 52

Oregon is the Best of the West! I knew this already, but it is nice to have sound statistical analysis (wink, wink) to back it up.

Friday, April 21, 2017

A day late, a beer short

Happy four Enjoy By 04.20.17 and I drank this on 04.21.17. Complete failure, this beer is ruined. This "devastatingly fresh double IPA" had completely tipped over in a day. With all of Stone's prowess and resources I was amazed they couldn't get a beer this loaded with hops and alcohol last 24 hours longer. I'm speculating of course, I couldn't possibly know how much better this beer would have been if I drank it yesterday. Yesterday, this beer was the stuff dreams are made of. Today, well, it's just another over cellared beer past its prime. A beer held on to for too long by a well meaning, but distracted and forgetful wannabe beer connoisseur.
What day is it?

Friday, September 2, 2016

The rise of IPA ABV?

Are beers, specifically IPAs-the default craft beer, getting stronger? The rise of the IPAs included for a while a rise of IBUs and while that has calmed down with the influx of juicy beers I've had the feeling that ABV was also ticking up along the way. Session beers, including Session IPAs have had some popularity and I crunched my data to see if my assumptions held true. Now the Dow/S&P is not the market and my drinking does not represent a measured sample of the beer industry, but let's see what it looks like anyhow.

y = -0.0025x + 6.654
R² = 0.0093

Bam. ABV is not rising and with a regression slope of -0.0025x is in a bit of a decline over the last four years. This is an ever so slight decline and is reflected in the fairly constant average ABV per year. What is interesting in this data is the increase in variance and low R². The yearly standard deviation has increased from 0.5 in 2012 to 1.2 in 2016.

Just the numbers

2012 21 5.5 7.5 6.5 0.5
2013 20 6.0 8.0 6.7 0.6
2014 18 4.5 8.1 6.6 0.8
2015 36 4.3 8.0 6.6 0.9
2016 16 4.0 8.0 6.1 1.2

Why the greater variance? I see it as fewer beers taking the middle ground for an IPA, around 6.5 ABV, and more trying to differentiate with either flirting in the DIPA range or dropping down to a session level. Either way this is good to see more variety, even within just the IPA range, and not just a race to make a stronger beer.