OK --this is essentially a tricky subject with perhaps some answers---as well NO answers--depending who you talk to...
What is a good beer?everyone would have something to say--the most common beliefs is 'Beer is ALL about personal preference"--and that says it all--that A can say Xx is a good beer while B would disagree--because it's all about Personal Taste...
But is that all there is about Beer? How do you choose a Beer--or deciding which one is a good beer or which is better?
Let's take a look at some of the scenario:-
Believer of RATINGS
It's common knowledge among beer geeks/mid level drinkers that some "beer ratings" site like RateBeer/ Beer Advocate or apps like Untappd would help to provide some info about a particular beer one not familiar with--much like checking on HOTEL info/ratings /reviews before deciding which one to book.
The debate of whether it's more Helpful OR Harmful these "ratings" check can be to a drinker is an interesting one--and relevant one--as these RATINGS are basically the combined opinions of ALL SORTS OF Drinkers-meaning among those who commented about a certain beer--there might well be someone who is not familiar with a certain beer style--or not having the palate to differentiate a good brew from an ordinary one.
网上有很多关于啤酒的专用网站/部落客/手机应用程式，那么多意见可参考，总会找到适合自己心意的，无论是依据Rate Beer, Beer Advocate又或是Untapdd等啤酒评级网站/手机应用程式，都有各类啤酒资讯，评语，评分以致最佳啤酒排行榜，最佳酿坊，不同类别啤酒排行榜等等别人意见供参考。
In short--checking on RATINGS is essentially checking on someone else's opinions--the best way to go about? Since it's you who will be paying and drinking a particular beer---isn't it only right that YOU should decide rather than let others decide for you?
Follow the HYPE
At times--craft beer can be a bit like High Fashion--there's trending going on--there's certain breweries/beers becoming RARE/HOT items or Must Have items---and people actually chase after them--lining up or paying high prices in secondary "trade" market---it's all happening much like people chasing after shoes or bags or whatever...
理论上，这是错不到哪里去的方式，浩瀚啤海中，能脱颖而出成为啤迷目光焦点的啤酒自然有突出之处，例如近期很多人追捧很红的美国“混浊果汁”New England 风格IPA，又或是长期被誉为最佳啤酒之一的比利时修道院啤酒westvleteren 12，又或者说位处美国偏远农场的最佳酿坊Hill Farmstead啤酒。
Craft beer can be Scarce Commodity due to relatively small production --or due to geographical/logistic issue---hence it's understandable sometimes drinkers rave/hype about certain brands/beer styles/breweries---like the recent crave for New England style cloudy IPAs---or say the constant seeking out for Hillfarmstead beers or Vintage Lambic or a bottle of NARKE "dark magic"(not a beer name--just saying).....
the mentality is that-when a beer is trending--or being constantly chased by many(especially geeks?)--then it's definitely a good beer--isn't it?
Keep it within GUIDELINES
While BEER has always been treated as some form of casual quick gulp--There's actually someone out there doing serious work about beer--there's examinations to get qualifications to be a certified beer person--program like CICERONE or BJCP (which emphasis on beer styles guide and producing certified Beer Judges) are 2 prominent ones.
Though not very commonly seen in ASIA---but there are drinkers who uses BJCP guidelines when sampling a beer or trying to decide on a beer's quality-i.e. saying if the beer is a good one or otherwise. Naturally--if a beer fits the guidelines description of a beer--then it should be a good beer...
Good beer can be Brewed
Let's face it---imported craft beer can be "expensive"--especially if you live in a country where alcohol taxes/import taxes are high--hence some friends who are into home brewing would say--though some imported beers are good--but price wise not so nice--why not try brew your own good beer at relatively cheaper/ more reasonable prices?
It's a known fact that some who are being regarded as among world's best brewers/craft brands in the world started from home brewing--so there's definitely gems to be found among the sea of home brewers here in ASIA--you just need to seek them out.
HOW I Feel is the MOST IMPORTANT
Ok--back to where it started--end of the day--it is YOU who would pay--and drink that beer--so it's very important how you feel about a certain beer--that's no denying.
But--is that all? is it to say how you feel about a certain beer would be the correct experience/ how a beer should taste or deciding if a beer is good or bad?
The answer is YES and NO
The KEY is--to be able to taste and make a better judgement--one really need to have some form of PALATE TRAINING over a certain period of time with VARIETIES of beer styles sampled.
As human--perhaps even the most senior taster of beer would still base his/her preference for a particular beer/beer styles on personal choices--BUT--with more rounded palate/tasting experiences--it would greatly reduce ignorance/ mistreatment of a particular beer for sure--even if that beer does not taste within the "i like" category--it does not mean the beer is NO GOOD or Bad--it could well be a case where YOU as a drinker does not know how to appreciate that beer--yet
What really is a Good Beer or How to pick a Good Beer?
Personally i would think all scenario listed above is relevant in deciding if you like or dislike a beer--depending on which side you lean on more--or how do you pick up the useful info/knowledge in the process---how to identify a good beer from sea of beers out there can be a hard task at times with no definitive guide--you just need to TASTE more--gather more tasting experiences--talk to beer friends---learn from the knowledgeable---eventually all those experiences would help in making the task of identifying good from so so or bad ones easier--most importantly--never just learn or read--you need to drink & taste--that's the ultimate fun.(otherwise why even start?)
认真来说，以上所有说法都成立，问题只在于你会偏向哪方多些，craft beer 好玩在五花八门，什么类型口味的啤酒都有人酿，选择那么多情况下，干嘛要限制自己味蕾范围，就算尝试一些自己不熟悉味道类别啤酒也是乐事，会是打开自己味蕾感官敏锐度方法之一，一旦味蕾功力有所提升，辨别好啤酒这件事就会变得比较容易。