Saturday, February 13, 2016

Beer Geeks Guide to the Galaxy: 6 levels of brew hierarchy

As the beer universe rapidly expands we find ourselves differentiating between what once was just two classes of beer, craft and macros. Today with options from hundreds of breweries across the nation becoming more and more conveniently available, there is a growing need to distinguish between what is now a multi-teir continuum of ales and lagers.

Ladies and gentlemen I propose to you the 6 levels of brew hierarchy:

Level one: Basic
Aka beer-pong fillers, pounders, piss water, or swill. No judgements, drink what you like. Just know who you're offering it to, some people maintain a no shoes in the house lifestyle.
Brewery Examples: Pabst, Budweiser, Miller, Coors.

Level two: Classic
Macro favorites that have survived the test of time.
Brewery Examples: Guinness, Smithwicks, Yuengling, Stella Artois.

Level three: "Craft"
Decent reputable beers you can get pretty much anywhere but started as micro brews and deserve to keep the craft name.
Brewery Examples: Sam Adams, New Belgium, Sierra Nevada, Goose Island.

Level four: Hype Beasts
Craft beer that is distributed on a large scale but is good enough that when they release they are highly sought after.
Brewery Examples: Ballast Point, Bells, Dogfish Head, Founders.

Level five: Geek Beer
Breweries who's beers can only be found outside of their area in specialty beer bars and shops. These are beers worthy of taking photos of but in most cases you didn't have to leave your state or trade your first born child for them.
Brewery Examples: Stillwater, Ninkasi, Evil Twin, Hill Farmstead.

Level Six: Fools Gold
Breweries that dont distribute out of their area and when they do releases beer geeks make road trips and stand out in the cold for two hours to get limited amounts.
Brewery Examples: Trillium, Other Half, Tree House, Russian River.


  1. Trillium has expanded so I'd put them in category 5. Also I'd say pure gold, not fools gold lol!

  2. I was in Boston just a couple weeks and Trillium was only in a couple shops and restaurants that were too inconvenient to get to without a car. All the shops I went to said there was a long waiting list before they'll get any, and this was in Boston. Also they don't serve at their brewery and their weekend hours are horrible (closed at 5 Sat and not open Sun). And when they do release the lines are crazy.
    I got some other comments saying I should swap Trillium and Hill Farmstead in categories but I can regularly get HF in Brooklyn at least. Just had HF James on tap last night at Torst.
    As far as the names, they're supposed to be silly and self deprecating. The idea is serious but the actual names were just an entertaining thought.
    Thanks to everyone who's been reading. The goal is for this site to be the more creative and fun but less serious of the beer blogs out there.
    I love hearing feedback. Thanks Thomas, you're input is appreciated here.