Frequently asked questions

Many people email me asking the same questions. And believe it or not, even the glaringly stupid questions keep getting asked. Please avoid wasting my time and yours by checking here first before you email. You won't get a reply if you ask any of these questions by email.

Click on any question to see the answer.

Why do I need Javascript enabled?

The benefits to the user-experience of Javascript in modern websites are immense. It can make things much quicker and more dynamic, so is used in virtually every website that is anything other than very simple. It's very much part of the modern Web experience.

I appreciate that for a small group of Internet users, particularly blind people using screen-readers, the dynamic rendering involved in Javascript can be problematic. As a one-man band running this site essentially as a hobby, I don't have the time or resources to make every feature of the site work without Javascript, but I have tried to design thing so that you can still access at least the core information the site is here to communicate.

A few features of the site won't work without Javascript:

How does the search system work?

As you may have noticed it's not just a simple "match what you type" system. It has a small degree of intelligence built-in, albeit not to the same extent as Google's search algorithm.

All matches are case-insensitive. When searching for a location, matching is performed against the location name, the county name and (if there is one) the nearby town name.

Can I buy advertising on Beermad?

No. In order to maintain its independence, Beermad doesn't accept any advertising.

Will you link to my site?

Beermad is an information site, not a link-farm. The only links across the site are to producers' own websites, Cyclops data and to the relevant producer's page at Quaffale, Beermad's partner site. So the answer is "no" unless you're a beer producer listed on the site.

Producer X has a website, but there isn't a link on its page. Why?

Possibly because I don't know about it. However there are certain circumstances when I don't link to a producer's website even when I do know about it, such as:

Can I use your database for my app/website/etc?

Possibly. However, I've put a large amount of time and effort (we're talking thousands of hours) into building up the information in my database. Make me a financial offer and we'll see if it's sufficient. But please don't insult me with stupidly small offers; I once received an email offering me a massive(!) £500 for the Beermad domain and database! (apparently he might have possibly stretched to £1 000).

I Can't find beer X on your site. Can you tell me anything about it?

No. If I knew anything about it, it would be on the site.

Who brews beer Y?

There's a beer search option at the top of every page. If the beer's in the database, you'll find it this way.

Where can I get beer Z in some town?

I have absolutely no idea. I've probably never been to that town and it's likely that I never will. Try asking the brewery.

Why did you stop listing every beer produced?

When I started Beermad back in 1999 there were far fewer breweries than there are now. The sheer number of breweries now in itself means that there are just too many new beers every week for me to keep up with.

This problem is exacerbated by the fact that a lot of breweries these days produce ridiculous numbers of one-off brews to exploit the "scooper" market - I can think of at least one brewery that's "brewed" over 250 beers in little over three years of operation (from considerably fewer mashings, I understand).

To demonstrate how silly the numbers have become, in a single month, November 2008 I added almost one thousand beers to the database.

Where do you get your information from?

From a number of sources, including:

In collating a producer's regular or seasonal beers, I take a brewery's website to be the definitive source of information (providing it makes it clear which are or aren't core products and it appears to be up-to-date). Where I can't be certain about core beers from the website (or there isn't one), I take whatever's listed in the Good Beer Guide as being the core range.

Do you reply to every email you get?

Beermad is run as a hobby, so while I try to reply to emails that need a response this isn't always possible and it may be some while between you sending an email and me having time to respond. I don't reply to emails asking for information that's already on the site or others asking stupid questions. Nor do I reply to emails from people too stupid to work out that Beermad isn't the website of a brewery whose page they've found here.

Emails ignoring everything I say about sponsorship, asking me to sell them advertising, or worse still emails from idiots trying to sell me stuff, are treated as spam and reported as such.

Is Beermad connected to any company or organisation?

No, Beermad is entirely independent. My only connection with the beer and brewing industry apart from being an enthusiastic consumer of its output is that I have a number of brewers and publicans as personal friends. I am, not surprisingly, a member of Camra.

Why do you do this? What do you get out of running Beermad?

Beermad started originally in 1999 as an exercise to learn how to put together a website. I thought maybe a couple of people a week might visit, as opposed to the nearly 2000 people a day who actually come here. Beermad is my contribution to the promotion of interesting real ales by providing information to publicans about what's available so they can give their customers an interesting choice, and providing a reference to my fellow beer-lovers about what's being brewed and has been brewed in the past. I get nothing personally out of running Beermad apart from the satisfaction of knowing that I'm doing something that a lot of people find useful.

What happend to the Beer Writings section?

I had originally intended to write regular articles about beer and brewing, but I simply haven't had enough time (and have had too much else to do). So leaving a handful of out-of-date articles lying around seemed silly. However, as the Beginners' guide to Belgian beer has been one of the most popular pages on Beermad, I've updated this and retained it.

I keep getting spam emails from Beermad. Why are you sending these?

I'm not. Unfortunately spammers pick random domains and send their unwelcome rubbish with forged headers so it looks like that's where the spam came from and there's nothing I can do to stop them pretending to use Beermad.

The only emails sent from the Beermad website are the email alerts listing new beers and breweries. These are only sent to email addresses that have requested them and confirmed that they are wanted.

What are these "Beermad Top Tipples" I see in some brewery listings?

I make a personal rating of every beer I try, on a scale of 1 (it was so foul I spat it out) to 10 (I want to drink it for the rest of my life). I don't publish all of my ratings - mainly because they're only a matter of personal taste and I don't want to condemn breweries just because their beers don't suit my palate. But there's a small number of beers that I think are so delicious (worthy of a rating of 9/10 or 10/10) that I think they're worth highlighting. Everybody's taste differs, so it's no bad thing if you think the beers I rate as great are horrible (sadly there are people who regard anybody having different tastes to their own as being in some way reprehensible - I wish this were a joke).

What happened to the European beer listings?

Analysing the access logs, I found that this section of the site was receiving very few visitors. In fact, it was getting more hits from web-crawlers than from real people. This, and the fact that I've never had particularly complete or authoritative data on beers and breweries in the rest of Europe (it wasn't listing much more than beers I myself have sampled and recorded), prompted the decision not to include this section when I did a major redesign in 2013.

Where's the pub in the banner picture?

There are actually a number of different pubs shown; they're changed at random on a regular basis to make things interesting. All of them are in Suffolk, with photographs taken during my travels for the Suffolk Camra pub guide website. What you will see is one of these:

Note that these pubs are not selected on the basis of their beer quality (though many of them are excellent, but rather for the fact that the photographs work well in the context of the banner.