All About Beer has a very thoughtful (and thorough) piece on the ups and downs that go along with the avalanche of beer feedback available nowadays.
“The beer websites, in particular the forum community on BeerAdvocate, can be pretty toxic, and I use that term with some reluctance, but I find that’s the case,” says Smith. “I see horrible things written about brewers that I know, beers that I know, by random, anonymous people. The Internet is certainly filled with trolls, and it seems like the forums on BeerAdvocate have more than its per capita allotment.”
Grains of salt abound for any savvy beer drinker, I think, but we’re all susceptible to negative takes and groupthink from time to time.
One of the founders of BeerAdvocate still insists on the value in the system
“There are no beer experts, just beer drinkers with opinions’ is an old saying that Jason and I coined and displayed on the site in the early days of introducing user reviews. It was our way of telling our users that their opinion was just as important as the so-called pros, which we still believe to this day,”
Aggregate anonymous opinions can certainly help, but wholesale dismissal of expert opinion always makes me raise an eyebrow. Some people always know more than you, and realizing this is helpful for learning.