There are not very many beer apps or websites, besides the odd blog, that I visit regularly. I used to use the Good Beer Guide in England, but now I don’t live in England anymore. BeerAdvocate is the only constant, mostly for their comprehensive directory, which I consult when travelling. Even that is a pain in the ass to use, why no maps? I’ve finally found a non terrible beer app that I feel like I could habitually use (if there are other good apps, please let me know).
Untappd is a sort of beer social network you can use via the web or iPhone app (I think they have an Android app too, but who cares?). Essentially it lets you easily record what you’re drinking wherever you are. This is handy for me because I find myself frequently saying “hey man I had the best beer the other day and I remember nothing about it”. You can also follow breweries, track friends, create wishlists, rate beers, and a bunch more. I will use this to track my own beer drinking and maybe contribute the odd non-extensive beer review (how many BeerAdvocate reviews can you read before desiring suicide?).
Things I like about Untappd:
- I can track my beer drinking on my iPhone
- It actually finds beer I search for
- Breweries can choose to control their fan pages
- A person I know has actually used it before
- Feels way less pretentious than BeerAdvocate
Things I don’t like about Untappd:
- A bit awkward usability wise
- I don’t need anymore virtual social networks
- Can’t find a way to invite people
Seriously, in the age of apps demanding you invite every Facebook friend and person you’ve ever emailed before you’ve tried them, how can there not even be one invite mechanism in Untappd? Oh well, I guess they don’t want more users.
Anyway, if you want to be my Untappd beer drinking buddy, my id is carichardson. I just got started, but I’m going to give it a serious go around. I feel like Untappd has a lot of potential and I recommend it to any interested beer drinker.
It is indeed the Great Canadian Beer Festival this weekend. This will be my first GCBF and I had no idea how popular it was. I lucked out in getting tickets by just happening to show up at the beer store to grab the last few available. I had planned to buy tickets a few days later, but the fates tempted me out on the first day of sales. Anyway, even though tickets are long sold out, there are still a few ways to get to GCBF:
If you miss out, we’ll post about how awesome it was next week so that you can feel really bad about missing it. Maybe it’ll motivate you to get tickets nice and early next year? Seriously though, it is going to be an awesome time. The lineup looks wonderful and our stay at Swans includes a free tasting, and then we’ll have the excellent Canoe brewpub just down the road…
In preparation for GCBF (and to help recover from the Labour Day weekend) I am embarking on an epic four day beer fast. Wish me luck.
I tried Bard’s Gold last night, my first sorghum based beer. Sorghum is a species of grass and its seeds can be harvested as grain to make beer, a frequent practice in Africa. In fact, most African beers, including their locally brewed Guinness, are sorghum based. Bard’s claim to fame is that it contains no barley, wheat, or oats and is gluten free, like that’s a good thing. I know that there are many people who are allergic to gluten (and many people who claim to be allergic but probably aren’t), so this just might be the beer for them. It should be noted that gluten based grains nourished and helped form human civilization, which is why I find the present day prevalence of gluten allergies a bit ludicrous, but that’s just me…
Anyway, I’m not sure I liked sorghum beer, or at least this sorghum beer. I found that it tasted a bit like grass. It was rather light and had a distinctly different taste from similarly light barley based beers. It wasn’t really bad, but I agree with some of the Beer Advocate reviews. If I had a non-fake gluten allergy and had to drink sorghum beer for the rest of my life, I might just quit drinking beer, supposing I couldn’t find any better options than Bard’s. For now, I’m going to stick to the gluteny goodness of the barley, wheat, and oats people have been eating for ten thousand years.
Gavin, a coworker of mine, just returned from Hawaii and was thoughtful enough to bring back some of the local beer. Gavin is a good man. More of my friends should learn from his shining example and bring me beer back from places. I just finished a can (labelled as welcoming me to the microcanning revolution!) each of CoConut Porter and Big Swell IPA from Maui Brewing. They were both quite delicious beers, even after overheating in my car yesterday in the epic Vancouver heat. Like Erik, I am not a huge fan of fruit beers, but I really enjoy a good Coconut flavor. The coconut adds a subtle sweetness that really rounds out a porter. The Big Swell IPA was quite good also, full of fresh hoppy flavor.
I’d never thought of Hawaii as a beer destination and I was surprised to find that Hawaii has some really excellent craft beer. I am going to Hawaii soon (when your Dad offers you free accommodation and you find cheap flights, you go!) and might have to make some detours to a few of the local breweries. The BeerAdvocate BeerFly directory for Hawaii will guide me on my quest to find deliciously fresh craft beer in Hawaii. Me, sea turtles, beer…heaven.
Have you ever been outside on a hot day and craved a cold beer ever so badly? I have and I can remember finding that first sip of ice cold Corona (with a lime) gloriously refreshing. Have you ever noticed how that same Corona doesn’t taste nearly so good a few minutes later? Note: noticing this might depend on how many Coronas you’ve already had. I’ve noticed, but I thought it had to do with the beer warming in the sun. Turns out I was wrong, the sun hates beer. It is an indisputable fact of science. Okay, I made that up, but the sun can turn a beer “skunky” in a matter of minutes. Scientists have noted that UV light interacts with certain hop byproducts found in beer. When UV light hits these chemicals they breakdown into the very same chemical that humans revile in the scent of actual skunks. Who knew? Turns out these scientists did.
Apparently humans are super sensitive to this chemical and can detect less than a milligram in a swimming pool. This is why you might find yourself enjoying your beer a little less if you’ve been out in the sun. I’m writing about this because I found myself turning my nose up at a glass of delicious beer this past weekend. I was really concerned there was something wrong with me until I recalled reading about the sun’s malicious intent in a recent issue of Beer Advocate. I figured I’d best blog about this and spread the word. This Summer, if you plan on drinking your favorite beer out of a clear glass or drinking Corona, Sleemans, Dead Frog, Heineken, or Stella Artois out of the bottle, shield your drinking vessel from the sun to preserve the taste.
Have you seen those Corona commercials where two people are sitting on a fabulous beach with their bottles of Corona? They are advertising skunky beer and I find that funny. If only you could taste ads, more people might be drinking quality BC microbrew, no lime required.