A lot of my enjoyment of beer comes from the fact that I’m simply not a snob. This has been a common theme throughout my life. While I enjoy good music, I still get all geeked when the Black Eyed Peas come on. I like pop music for the same reason that I like Boddington’s; it’s honest and simple. It tastes like a stereotypical English bitter. It’s not hugely nuanced but it’s certainly far from bad. The nitro ball that they put into it gives it a nice, creamy head and is cool to watch as it tumultuously and magically fills your glass with beer. Being the child of a couple of corporate buyouts it has moved from “craft” to “mass.” But it just works. It’s not going to win any competitions. It’s not the supermodel, it’s not the cute artist girl who quotes Socrates, it’s the girl that you went to high school with who was cute and nice and just wanted you to be happy. It’s decent beer. And a lot of people agree with me because they sell a ton of this beer all over the world. Its pale malty flavor is distinct yet not alienating. If you’ve looked down your nose at this beer before, do yourself a favor and go buy a four-pack late at night at a grocery store outside of your neighborhood. Smuggle it home, pour yourself a glass, and remind yourself not to be a douchebag right before you take your first sip. You’ll never have to admit to anybody that you didn’t mind it, but you’ll be a better person for realizing it.
If I were good at topic transitions, I’d do a smooth one here, but I’m not, so I’ll just say that I’ve stumbled across a few beer apps lately which are worth mentioning. I use the term “lately” pretty loosely here because some of these have been around for years, but forgive me stretching of the truth.
This is my go-to app for logging my beers. It’s a genius little bastard in that it turns drinking into a game. Not only do you get to log your beers and provide conveniently Twitter-like 140 character comments about them, but you also earn badges. The reason I’m having a Boddington’s right now is purely because I’m trying to log my ten different English beers to get my God Save the Queen badge. Don’t get me wrong, I like Boddington’s, but it’s far from a staple in my beer-drinking diet. If you are a beer lover, it’s an excuse to break away from your norms and revisit some beers you’ve probably had before. If you’re not a beer lover, it’s an excuse to try something new. In addition to the different badges for types of beer and locations for drinking beer, the app has a solid social network built into it so you can share your beers with your friends, toast each others’ beers, argue over whether Boddington’s is tasty or swill, or share all of your drunkenness of Facebook and Twitter. To boot, the founders of the app keep up a beer blog that is never short on ideas for good new beers for you to try. This app is available for both iOS and Android.
Taphunter is a newer app that helps you track down beers. Let’s take Pliny the Elder, for example. That delicious bastard from Russian River Brewing is always elusive since it’s hugely popular and produced in small batches. Tell Taphunter what you’re looking for and it will tell you what bars and liquor stores are currently stocking your grog. I’m presently 8.58 miles from the nearest Pliny. It also gives you directions to the bar/liquor store as well as the number so you can call ahead just to make sure. The app also has information for beer events in your area, ranging from simple bar specials like IPA nights to full-blown beer festivals. The app doesn’t cover most of the United States at this point, but having watched the growth over the past several months I expect Taphunter will be providing your locale with beer GPS sometime in the near future. This app is available for both iOS and Android.
Beer Hunt is another app that you can use for logging beer. Beer Hunt lacks the social networking features of Untappd, but it makes up for it in fun. You can add your friends and compare who gets the most points in a month. You earn points for all kinds of stuff; what you’re drinking, where you’re drinking it, where it’s from, how old the brewery is, and on and on and on. These points are displayed as different levels of mustaches. It’s good, clean, drunk fun. The biggest bummer is that it’s iPhone only, so Android people will just have to wait for now. If you’re an iPhone user and you want to see if, say, you’ve drank an entire barrel of beer yet, then this is the app for you (it tracks your drinking stats so you can show how big of a drunk you are using several different graphics). Unfortunately this is exactly the type of stuff I enjoy, so I hope the code monkeys are hard at work on the Android version. Seriously, make the Android version already.