There is a delicious wave of new craft beers flowing into San Francisco. And while there are a lot of decent beer apps that funnel this information and help you find particular brews, the great beer apps are not only well designed and easy to use, but are solidly supported by beer brewers, sellers, and fellow beer fans. We’ve sifted through, downloaded, and test-driven several smart phone apps and found the four essential free beer applications for Androids and iPhones. Download away.
Beer is the most social of adult beverages; who among us has ever played in a wine-pong tournament? If you occasionally post a photo on Facebook of a beer you’re enjoying, download this widely used app. Untappd is not only a great forum for posting what you're drinking and where but also for checking out what friends or people in the same bar or neighborhood have recently enjoyed. Bonus features include a button for checking trending beers, and it's also extremely handy for walking into a new bar and getting a quick look at what the beer fanatics there have been drinking.
What Netflix does for movie watching and Pandora does for music listening, Brewgene does for beer drinking. Using the genome concept, Brewgene builds a profile based on how you rate various beers. The simplest way to start your profile is to click on Brewgene’s Top 100 list and assign 1 to 5 stars for the brews you have consumed. Keep in mind it’s as effective to rate beers you don’t like as well as the ones you do. As you work your way down the list, you’ll notice a unique feature of Brewgene: it starts including its own recommendation for some beers, based on your earlier ratings.
The more beers you rate, the more inclusive and accurate Brewgene’s recommendations for new beers becomes. If you see any in the list that look inviting, add them to your Watch List. This sets up the app’s other handy feature: Clicking the location button brings up the bars in your area and makes it easy to find the ones that stock the beers on your watch list. This second feature relies on Brewgene users’ input so results may vary.
The world’s most popular beer rating service has had a web presence since 2000 and now boasts millions of user ratings on over two hundred thousand beers. The mobile version has two essential features: a comprehensive events calendar and, obviously, the ultimate database on beer ratings. Get on their Facebook feed for excellent posts on craft beer.
My personal favorite. Among other features, this app shows you a list of nearby bars. Tapping on a bar in the list displays a screen showing the bar’s location, the beers they have on tap or in bottle, and some basic stats about each. If you’ve used this app to flag your favorites, Taphunter highlights those. The interface is slick, quick, and well designed. Taphunter relies on vendor updates, which works well in San Francisco and other beer-centric cities, but travelers to other areas may find fewer entries.