I am not an early adopter when it comes to technology. Probably the only thing I was way ahead of the curve on was joining Facebook, something I did before most of my friends had heard of it. I peruse Reddit occasionally and have been known to comparison shop between about 7 Google Chrome tabs, but I still pay a few bills with envelopes and stamps. In fact, the idea of even starting a blog seemed quite vain to me originally. And recently I was peer-pressured into Twitter, which I will admit I now enjoy.
So for all of you Smart Phone users, whether or not you embrace the multitude of apps out there and no matter how wary you are of change, check out Untappd. I’m sure a lot of you already use it, but because I am still shocked when a regular beer drinker asks me what it is, I’ll briefly let you know (just yesterday while in the middle of writing this post another brewing professional asked me, “what’s Untappd?” So you aren’t alone).
Untappd is the social media of beer and beer drinking. Think Foursquare meets Twitter.
While you’re at a bar or having a beer with dinner you log in to the app, type in the name of what you’re drinking, and “check in” to that beer. You have the option of adding a photo, a location, a rating, and comments. Unlike Foursquare, however, you cannot check in with another person, but you can “toast” a friend’s check-in.
Untappd serves several purposes for me. It replaces the need for me to whip out a notebook if I don’t feel as comfortable with my nerdy side while out drinking, or if I’m in a dark bar. Of course that doesn’t take the place of jotting down actual notes for a review, but it does help, especially when tasting many beers at once.
It can be handy to see what friends are drinking and enjoying when considering a beer purchase. Most of the feedback I hear, however, is people who are just grateful for a way to note what they have tried over time.
Untappd isn’t the only beer tool out there, of course. What you may not know is that a brand new project out of Connecticut will likely change the brewery-visiting experience for people like you and me. The website is called BrewTrail and it is utter genius, filling a need in the taproom-finding process that for me constantly eats up my time and inevitably creates frustration. It was created in part by Chris Pooley and Chris Margonis who describe it this way:
“We’re two guys who love craft beer and visiting the breweries that produce it. The challenge we found was that there wasn’t an easy way to find breweries that offered tours and have taprooms. Sure, we could find a map with all of the breweries but we couldn’t see which ones offered tours and what the tour details were without having to visit each and every one of their websites. We thought that if there was a way to bring all of this information into one place where people could easily find breweries, see which ones offered tours and tastings and then give people the option to create their own brew trail, it would make it easier for everyone to visit and support their local breweries.”
My next beer mini-trip will be to Austin in February (that’s right, I can’t get enough of Texas) and this tool will be magical compared to all the time spent for other trips mapping, researching, calling, creating a time-table, praying that tour times are up-to-date…blah blah blah. Solid work, Chris and Chris.
I would also like to mention Mould’s Beer Blog, which not only lists and maps breweries in each state, but offers a lot more information on the blog including BJCP syles, beer reviews, and general beer information. His reviews by style are very helpful and well written, check out this one on Porters (12c).
These are three of many useful beer websites and applications that enhance beer knowledge and provide for a very specific beer need. Cheers to the dedicated people behind these applications, and keep up the good drinking!
All images are credited to Untappd and Brew Trail respectively.