App the taps

Mobile tech geeks craft brewing

By Hayley Fudge

Photo: The Untappd app allows users to check-in and track the beers they’ve enjoyed

Thankfully for lovers of the hops, a group of like-minded, tech savvy beer geeks have put their glasses down long enough to create apps and websites that help the craft beer industry and consumers connect, engage and learn about their favorite pastime.

For brewers, bottle shop proprietors and restaurant owners, getting and keeping their passionately made and served products in front of patrons has become easier and quicker than ever.

For consumers, the ability to find, learn about, track and enjoy new beers appears nearly as limitless as the number of craft beers available today.

Here’s a quick rundown of some of the best apps and websites for beer lovers.

Untappd

The mother of all social beer technology platforms, Untappd is available online or as an app. It allows users to “check-in” and track the beers they’ve enjoyed, and also allows users to explore nearby bars and breweries, see who is drinking what near them and share ratings while connecting with other users. It also awards electronic badges to show milestones in beer consumption. “It’s like Facebook for the beer community,” says Dayton beer lover and Untappd user Matthew Smith.

Facebook

As obvious as it may be, Facebook is another widely used vehicle for information sharing and connecting with other beer lovers. Dedicated Facebook groups such as the one named Beer Geeks (Dayton Ohio Chapter) keep a constant dialogue among local hopheads. They share everything from what they’re drinking to where they’ve found what others are seeking and proudly boast about the previous night’s bottle share with pictures showing a lineup of empty bottles that were consumed. “I use Facebook more for beer-related information than for any other purpose,” says local beer enthusiast Zach Baldwin. “I also use Facebook as a resource more than my beer-dedicated apps.”

BeerMenus

A location-based app and website, BeerMenus allows users to select establishments they frequent and receive updates on what has been added to the shelves or taps. “I like receiving the daily emails about where my favorite brews are and what is on tap at my favorite pubs,” says Springfield beer geek Tony Tucker.

TapHunter

Like BeerMenus, TapHunter tracks the user’s location and offers information about what is happening is bars and restaurants nearby. The ability to also see beer-related events that can be posted by the business users (i.e. breweries and restaurants) happening in your region is a bonus.

BeerMode

Even breweries themselves are developing apps to connect with enthusiasts. New Belgium Brewing Company has created its BeerMode app to promote its offerings. Phil Hite, the brewery’s representative responsible for coverage in the Dayton and surrounding area, says it offers information on New Belgium beers, a beer finder, a beer industry news section and even games.

Find Craft Beer

Another location-based app, this one will search for all types of beer-related establishments—breweries, brew pubs, beer bars, homebrew supply stores and bottle shops—and enables users to offer quick reviews. It’s simple to use and easy to read on the road.

Brewery Map

If you’re planning a road trip anytime soon, this is one you’ll want to download. This handy travel companion allows you to enter your starting and ending destination points, and it will map out all of the breweries along your route. Breweries large and small are pinned on a driving route for you to discover.

State Lines: Alcohol Laws

Rather dull visually, this useful app provides a quick glance of every state’s beer taxes, blood alcohol limits for drivers, on- and off-premise alcohol sales hours and open container laws.

BeerAdvocate

Started by two beer-loving brothers from Massachusetts nearly 20 years ago, this website-turned-app provides a global, grassroots network of beer consumers and industry experts dedicated to promoting and sharing knowledge and passion about beer. A quick-to-find rating system offers views on particular beers from both the founding brothers as well as the site’s follower base. In addition to the online resource, BeerAdvocate publishes a monthly print magazine and hosts a massive annual beer festival. Dayton beer geek Jed Taylor says he uses BeerAdvocate to contribute full-blown reviews of beers and to analyze and read reviews from others.

ratebeer

Similar to BeerAdvocate, ratebeer has been around a while and is both a website and app that provides an active forum for beer lovers to share opinions on beers, retailers and breweries. Volunteers both created and maintain this forum. The easy-to-read interface also offers a rating score based on how a particular beer stacks up to others of its same style. “I still use ratebeer,” says Kettering beer geek Tom Madigan. “It is very useful to find places in a particular city, and I still read reviews if I’m unfamiliar with a beer.”

Hayley Fudge is one of Dayton City Paper’s Resident Beer Geeks. An enthusiast of craft beer and the culture that surrounds it, Hayley aspires to share her love of beer with others by whipping up beer-infused cupcakes on the regular. Reach Hayley Fudge at HayleyFudge@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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Hayley Fudge
Hayley Fudge is one of Dayton City Paper’s Resident Beer Geeks. An enthusiast of craft beer and the culture that surrounds it, Hayley aspires to share her love of beer with others by whipping up beer-infused cupcakes on the regular. Reach Hayley Fudge at HayleyFudge@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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