Our Review Methodology
In late 2016, we put out a call to manufacturers across the industry—some we work with regularly, some we don’t— and asked for new, interesting, and valuable products to test and review. Those who visited our office in January and February can attest to the flood of gear we received—we were a great candidate for a brewing edition of the TV show “Hoarders.” Because it’s impossible to blind test brewing equipment in the same way we test beer, we tested the gear in a number of ways ranging from office brew days (we were very thankful for the mild winter weather this year in Colorado) to editors and staff checking out gear for brew days at home. After brewing, each staffer wrote up his/her unvarnished opinions—what they liked, what they would change, and who the ideal customer is for the gear.
In addition to the written reviews, we asked each reviewer to evaluate the gear in five categories, which we’ve included as the “scorecard” with each review. If they found the gear to be a standout in any of those five categories, it earned a check mark. If it reached a level of quality and utility where the tester would purchase it for themselves (or recommend it to the intended customer), then we awarded it the mark of approval . Due to space limitations, we prioritized gear we’d recommend over gear we wouldn’t or gear where we didn’t have a deep enough field to include multiple products.