Friday 25 January 2002

eczematic, beermeister extraordinaire

Cooper's beer sign

. The pub across the street from the New Wok in Town where I ate dinner tonight has this beautiful glowing Cooper’s sign in one of its windows. I was sitting in the restaurant drinking a Cascade Premium Light. I’d actually ordered Cascade Premium Lager but the new waitress brought me the light beer by mistake and it didn’t seem important enough to make a fuss about. As soon as I looked up and saw the sign, I wished I’d ordered a Coopers Best Extra Stout instead. Except that the New Wok doesn’t stock Coopers.

All of which is just a preamble to writing about this terrific beer site I discovered: RateBeer.com. (Over 44,000 real user ratings of more than 11,600 beers!) The range of beers rated is astonishing and, while the quality of the ratings obviously varies, the knowledge and wit of some users is impressive. I looked up Cascade Premium Light and found this gem by eczematic:

Drank some of this last night when we ran out of anything else. Better than some light beers, having a reasonably pleasant hop aroma, and some cleanish barley grain in the body, but I still get the feeling that I’m a victim of some practical joke where the brewers piss into green bottles and see how many people will buy it because it says “premium”. I think the accelerating drunkenness versus sobering over time graph will show that this stuff actually sends you backwards - it’s the antimatter of the beer cosmos, and should be annihilated.

He gave it a score of 1.4 out of 5. He rates Coopers Best Extra Stout at 4.5. As a point of reference, he gives Anchor Steam Beer a score of 3.6, describing it as the best American beer he’s had. When I checked eczematic’s user profile I discovered he’s only been a member since September 25 last year and in exactly four months he’s rated 552 beers! Each member profile page shows a distribution graph for all the beers rated and there’s a spike in eczematic’s down at 0.5. He’s not xenophobic—his worst ten includes four Australian beers but, I’m pleased to say, Schlitz Red Bull and Schlitz Ice occupy the two spots at the absolute bottom of the barrel. I’ve tasted some wonderful American beer over the years but nothing can erase the memory of two mouthfuls of Schlitz I drank in Vicksburg, MS in 1981.

The really good news is that eczematic lives in Sydney. I’m going to suggest to Garth that the three of us get together and talk drink beer. We might even be able to talk eczematic into starting a beer blog—though given his strenuous tasting schedule he may not have the time.

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