When I first began my blog I was trying to find ways that would allow me to track the beers I have had as well as my general thoughts about them. Our phones these days help us not only connect with friends and family by phone or over the internet but they can also help us connect with our hobbies and those who also enjoy them. Our smart phones are usually glued to our hands these days so naturally it became my main tool for helping me organize my beers. I contemplated using a notepad but figured I would forget to bring it along with me or leave it behind places. With a phone app you always have it with you, are less likely to leave it behind and you have one less thing to bring with you or keep at your side. The smart phone is the beer lovers dream tool. I can find breweries, see what my local bottle shop recently got in stock, see where my buddies are drinking, read reviews of a beer I am interested in, rate and share beer reviews and even track my cellar. You can’t go into a bottle shop these days without seeing someone browsing the selection with their phone out and beeradvocate.com open in their browser. I do this from time to time myself but I try to stay away from it because it eliminates the mystery and often can over or under hype the beer your researching. There have been several apps that I have used and one that stands out from the group; BrewGene, AleGrail, TapHunter and Untappd. All but one of these apps attempts (TapHunter being the exception) to allow to track and rate beer.
I am not going to do a review of each app specifically because I lack the time and the patience. I will go over why I think the others are inferior to Untappd by doing comparisons of the other apps best features. As you can see in the photo above Untappd not only tracks what you have had but also the brewery, the style, ABV, IBU and ratings. BrewGene (the other app pictured above) only shows the name and rating of your beer. The overall look of BrewGene is childlike in comparison to the sleek design of Untappd.
Adding a beer to your ‘had’ list isn’t hard to do on either app and they each have some of the same features (add to wish list, find it, etc) but there are major differences within that set them apart. In Untappd it shows how many people have also had the same beer and you can scroll down and see how they rated it and view any comments they made. One major issue I have with BrewGene is visible in the photo….there is no recommendation because not enough people have rated it. A major plus for Untappd is the number of users and how easily connected they all are.
Untappd allows you to view anyone that has checked in a beer in your area and even worldwide. From the same screen you can easily click and view what your friends are getting drunk on. BrewGene honestly sucks at this aspect. You can’t find new friends but you probably wouldn’t anyway since it seems no one uses this app.
Both apps track a wish list for you and there isn’t much different in either app other than their appearance. What sets Untappd apart from BrewGene is being able to add a beer to your wish list by viewing a beer someone else has recently had. I am sure you can probably do this on BrewGene (only with friends you have already made) but again I have no friends on there.
TapHunter (featured on the right) is used specifically for locating beer. It shows you nearby bars, breweries and shops and is set up to help you find a specific beer you are hunting. this could be a very useful app especially when you are in an area of the states that you’re not familiar with. Unfortunately, TapHunter is designed to only work with 13 different markets nationwide. This means it is useless unless you live within a close proximity to one of them. Seattle is one of the markets available but you can see that Untappd also has the ability to do this and does it in a way that I find easier to use.
AleGrail is an app that I actually used quite a bit before I discovered Untappd. It was very useful to help me keep notes on the beers I have had. If reviewing beers was the only thing I wanted to do then I think I would have stuck with this one. It’s a very well made app and sets itself apart from the others by giving you the opportunity to numerically rate your beer. That type of review doesn’t really interest me so I have stuck with Untappd because it already has so many other functions that do interest me.
Now on to my favorite functions of Untappd! Right from my personal page I can see my kill count and get access to any area of the application. Badges are awarded after you reach certain milestones such as drinking a specific number of a beer style, loyalty to a specific location and even for special events like Oktoberfest or the Super Bowl for example. This feature really appeals to people’s sense of accomplishment and may drive you to try beers you might otherwise skip over. When I am awarded a new badge it makes me feel like a beer scout….now if only I could have my wife make me a sash. You can also connect Untappd to your Facebook or Twitter to let your other friends and family see how much of an alcoholic you are.
Untappd is by far the best choice of applications available out there. Beeradvocate has being saying for a long time now that they are developing an app of their own and I am interested to see what they come up with. Until then Untappd will be what my friends and I use.