RateBeer is bookmarked on the computer of pretty much any serious beer enthusiast, but one guy in D.C. has taken it to the next level. The Washington Postdid a profile this week on Gene Bonventre, a 53-year-old U.S. Air Force retiree who is about to rate his 10,000th beer on the popular website.
Believe it or not, Bonventre is not the site’s top rater. A Danish man has posted more than 33,000 ratings (what!?), but Bonventre is still considered to be one of the top dogs on RateBeer. Only 30 people in the world, six of them Americans, have reached the 10,000 beer mark. Bonventre is also hailed for being one of the fastest raters who travels for beer more than any other American rater; his RateBeer handle is “Travlr.”
Bonventre has been a RateBeer member since November 2008, but he says his interest in beer began in 1993 while he was stationed in England. He was amazed to learn about a world outside of Bud Light and began incorporating beer outings into his weekend trips throughout Europe. Since then, he has rated beers from six continents and 145 countries and a rate of 150 to 200 per month.
He said that most of the beers he has sampled have been at tastings or on organized trips with his local RateBeer group. A typical tasting can be up to 12 hours long with a few ounces of up to 30 beers consumed. Bonventre told The Washington Post that when he went to RateBeer’s Winter Gathering in February in Asheville, N.C., he visited 12 breweries in three days and attended two “bottle share” events where RateBeer users from around the world provided samples from their personal collections. He is also a big fan of festivals where it’s possible to taste 100 beers in a single weekend.
Bonventre has a few personal goals for his beer drinking hobby, including reviewing a beer and a place in every European country. A place is defined as a brewery, bar, or store on RateBeer and as of right now, Bonventre is the site’s leading place reviewer with more than 1,300. He does not, however, have any big aspirations when it comes to being one of RateBeer’s top 10 reviewers. He said that he never wants his quest for a new beer to feel like a chore and he thinks it could become one if he wanted to try and reach 25,000 ratings.
To celebrate his upcoming milestone, Bluejacket Brewery has created a beer called “Gene Turns 10K” and it will be served at a party for Bonventre some time in June.
Congratulations, Gene. You make the beer drinkers of the world very proud.