Our 10 Years of Building the Ultimate World Beer Chart

World Beer Charts - 7000+ Different Beers

The Beer Experience is really about you, The Beer Community member and fellow beer sampler/rater/reviewer, and what you have to say about the beers and pubs of the world. But I couldn't possibly be the webmaster of this site and not have a section on my own endeavours through the years, especially given that it is these endeavour that have led to this website's creation. If you don't want to hear me waffle on about my story, click the link above to jump straight to the beer charts.

It began when my dad started taking me to the local pub in my home town of Liverpool, England, when I was barely old enough to legally drink. I didn't really care about beer back then, and in fact I didn't like the taste of it. I immediately latched onto cider. (But then, I think a lot of people start out that way.) I gradually moved on to rubbish, macro-brewed lager, and still, unlike my dad, didn't have an appreciation for real beer (or Real Ale, as we English call it).

I suppose that if I'm to tell the whole story from the beginning, It really begins with my dad, as he often took advantage of cheap ferry fares across to Amsterdam and Belgium since about 25 years ago. I remember him coming home after mini-trips away talking about exotic beers. Although he appreciated the tastes of real ales and world beers, it had a lot to do with escaping the bland lagers, such as Carlsberg, Carling, Fosters and others that were rising in prominence around that time. He didn't write them down, much less rate or review them.

When I was sitting in a local pub one evening, I found myself looking across the bar at the different names of beers and ciders. I wondered if I could try them all over time, just for the hell of it. I suppose that was the seed of what was to come. I can't remember if I ever did make a concerted effort to try them all, but I began to realise that the world had a lot of variety in beer. I'd just never throught about it before then.

On one fateful evening out with my dad, I asked him if I could come with him and his friend on their next trip to Amsterdam. I think I was 18 or 19 at the time. He thought about it and agreed. Later that year was my first beer-jaunt to the continent. It was in fact Amsterdam and Antwerp. It was a real culture shock for me. Still, though, I didn't have a real appreciation for beer. It was just about drinking lots of it and having a great time.

I went on similar trips over the next two years before my dad's friend suggested I start writing down the names of the beers we try when we're away. We were walking through London at the time, on the way to the Eurostar terminal en route to Brussels. We went into a newsagents and bought a small red cash book that would do the job nicely. It was another fateful moment. I did indeed use that book to write down the 50-or-so beers we tried. I didn't rate them or anything. It was just for fun.

It was on the next trip, I think, that I got the idea of actually giving the beers a score out of ten. It wasn't a regular thing, and I didn't even "rate" every beer I tried. I was still just about having fun abroad. Nevertheless, my appreciation for variety in beer brands was growing and we tended more and more to go out of our way to try different beers.

I am a person who easily gets obsessed with collecting things, and it this aspect of my personality that tied in more and more with my growing appreciation for beer variety. The following year, I bought a larger beer-logging book and formalised the process of writing down beers. It was still very basic, though, with no throught given to actually reviewing and describing beer.

The following year came another, yet more sophisticated beer logging system and logbook. It was then that I also starting collecting the odd few beer bottle labels and gluing them into the book. It was still only about basic rating of beers and none of it was computerised in any way yet. Also, I still only logged beers when I was abroad, and sometimes on special occasions. After a trip away to Toronto, I got onto the novel idea of actually rating every beer I had, even in local pubs in Liverpool and Wales.

The next beer logging book was gigantic, and it brought the beer logging system closer to its modern format with scores for taste, aroma, drinkability, etc. I also introduced the idea of describing the beer very briefly with a single word, just to give an idea of what it actually tastes like. We had also been broadening our horizons in terms of destination. We sampled beers as far afield as Canada and the USA. Relative to my standards today, it was still very basic, though. Later that year came a disaster for the beer-logging campaign, but it was a disaster from which emerged great things...

On a visit to Ghent, in Belgium, I lost the logbook in a pub near the hotel on a boozy night out. I was very disappointed, but on the train on the way home, I suggested to the other two that we begin a whole new series of logbooks that last merely a month or so. A serialisation, if you will. I was the only one who was enthusiastic about the idea, but I tried it and we starting logging beers in earnest in April of that year. Book 1 began in The Ship and Mitre in the city centre with an Erdinger Dunkel German beer. I used the same rating system that I'd been using earlier that year.

I should mention that the whole endeavour then, for a couple of years before and for several years after, came under the heading of "The 3 Gents". The title originated in Toronto, when a tour guide (back when we were daft enough to do multi-day tours) called us by that name in her knowledge of our "men behaving badly" attitude. The name stuck. It was just a bit of fun. Indeed, I set up an early website hosted under "the3gents.co.uk" with some basic beer reviews. It didn't do very well, but I was proud to have an online presence. A couple of years later, I launched "the3gentsbeer.co.uk", which at its peak was receiving hundreds of visitors per day.

The series of beer logbooks continued and evolved and soon became not of a fixed duration (i.e. a month) but of a fixed number of beer ratings. I also used them to store bottle labels and related paraphenalia. After about a year, I inserted all the records of beer tastings into a database which enabled me to create the first proper beer chart.

Through the years, the logbooks have continued to evolve, improve and streamline. In Book 77 I introduced the idea of reviewing beers completely, in terms of their taste/aroma, etc. This system of reviewing has itself evolved considerably over the years. Upon reaching book 100, the series became known as "Beer Journals". Book 200 saw the start of the "Beerlogs", and book 300 start the start of "The Beer Experience".

At the time of writing, I have reached the 373rd edition (or The 373rd Beer Experience). The Beer Chart has now grown to over 7000 different beers and I can pull off a complete descriptive review for almost 90% of them. Beer reviewing has long become my life's passion and who knows where it will evolve from here...

Chimay Blue Cap

The Beer Experience, 2010

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