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Imbibe’s “99 Bottles” and Why I’m So Frustrated

“What’s the best beer in the world?” This is the question that starts the article 99 Bottles in the latest Imbibe issue. “100 of the Best Bottled Beers in the World” is splashed across the cover and my writing juices get flowing. Lists are gold for a writer, we can pick them apart, scoff at the #1 pick, and walk away in the end without daring to make our own list with a sense of superiority knowing that someone else is absolutely wrong. Imbibe even sent out a press release to let me know about their latest compilation of beers. It is precisely due to all this build up that I sit here today completely frustrated. 

Here’s the thing, Imbibe’s 99 Bottles is not a list. The way Imbibe puts these 99 Bottles (and one special offering to move the total to 100) together is by groups. These groups make a lot more sense to the average drinker than to break them down by style guidelines.  The groups that Imbibe uses are as follows:

  • Beers to drinks with a burger
  • Seasonals
  • Hop Monsters
  • Different…but good
  • Small beers
  • Beers to serve to your friend who claims to be a beer snob
  • Beers to drink with dessert
  • Organic beers
  • Barrel-aged beers
  • Beers to cellar

Each section has its own readers pick to go along with those picked out by Imbibe.

So I must have found a problem with these categories, right?  They must have tried to rank the beers under each heading, giving me something to rant about, right? No! They simply listed a few selections that fit with category. Even worse, they all make sense!

I would love to share the article with everyone, but I have to be fair to the people who produce Imbibe and recommend you go pick up a copy for yourself. Despite having a category dedicated to satisfying a beer snob, as a pinky-out/nose-up beer snob myself, I wouldn’t be upset if any of these beers were brought into my house. It’s a good read for those with a solid beer background and an informative read for people that are just getting into the craft beer scene.

In the end, I’m frustrated by not being able to nitpick an article, but I’m doing alright. It’s a good article and having written about and seeing it lay here on my desk, I may go back and read it again.