This is a subject that really interests me. Finding the right beer to compliment what you’re eating can have some amazing effects. Along the lines of beer apps suck, until last night I couldn’t find one app that had a comprehensive pairing guide that I could just pull out before dinner to see what beer in my fridge would go with our dinner. All apps that had a pairing feature in them were pretty awful. Either poorly organized or not enough content. Last night, however, I checked out Gallagher’s Beer Guide. It’s actually pretty old, for App Store standards, at version 1.0 and not updated since 2009, so it doesn’t even support iOS features like multitasking. But, though I never checked it out due to its silly-looking interface, I happened to notice last night during a search that it had pairing in it. The screenshots for that feature looked pretty good, so though the reviews were pretty bad, for $0.99, I decided to check it out. I was very pleasantly surprised. The pairing feature is by far the best I’ve found in an iPhone app. Well-organized and quite comprehensive.
It actually sort of passed my initial test for cataloging apps: it contained beers from Sixpoint. But only three. The only other function of note is the Flavors tab. Not sure how much I’d use it, but it lists different flavors you might notice in beers, and which styles in which they tend to appear. The Flavors tab also has a Wine to Beer converter, listing wine types and associated beer styles. I like Malbec. It listed Dark Lager for that, which I definitely don’t like.
With all this app has, or doesn’t have, if they forked the Food tab off into its own app, I’d still pay more than $0.99 for it. Well done, Gallagher. But how about an update?
Only beer-related in that I keep my database of beers on my iPhone, but I have to announce that iOS 6 officially rocks my world for one particular reason, and not even an announced one: Mail finally behaves quietly and intelligently when I’m in the subway with no signal. “Finally”. That’s driven me nuts since the original iPhone.
As a joke, along with a bunch of awesome beers my brother gave me as a bachelor party type gift, he included a 24 oz. can of Miller High Life. We finally had it last night with sushi. I had also just come back from a 10-mile speed workout. The conversation once we tasted it went something like this:
I: What do you think?
Wife: It tastes like water.
I: Yeah, this is the “yellow beer” that craft beer bars warn against.
Wife: People really like this?
I: Yeah, lots of people consider this beer.
As much as I talk about things like Untappd, truth be told, I really dislike social networking. I hate Facebook, though I keep an account there because sometimes it’s unfortunately necessary. Facebook is the new Evite.
I call this anti-social networking, because the irony is that I use foursquare and Untappd mostly to track myself. I have an awful memory these days, and living in NYC I’m out a lot. Foursquare helps me remember where I’ve been. They even have a private ICS feed so you can see all your checkins in calendar applications like iCal. It wasn’t until recently that I even noticed the point system there, pointed out by a competitive friend of mine.
Twitter I initially thought was silly and useless, but I’ve come to like it more, especially because of Tweetbot. The vast majority of my tweets are Untappd checkins. I do this so bars and breweries can see that I’m drinking their beer or at their bar. I’ve gotten free beers because of it. I would love nothing more than to make my Twitter account private, but unfortunately when you mention or message someone on there from a private account, they never see it. I think that’s kind of stupid, but it is what it is, so I leave my account public. This unfortunately makes me link my Untappd checkins to Twitter less frequently since people can search for my name and see all the beers I drink. I can stop any time I want. Really.
Untappd needs a little work in this department, which I know they’re aware of. People on there friend others as it were myspace. And some of those people drink so many beers that my real friends get buried and I never see what they’re drinking. They need friend lists, or something like Tweetbot’s Mute function. Untappd does have a privacy option, but like Twitter, anyone who isn’t your friend won’t see your activity. Untappd has great brewery support, so unless every brewery whose beer I have were my friend, they’d never see anything. So I have to keep that account public as well, but fortunately on Untappd, anyone who isn’t your friend only sees your first name and last initial. And my avatar of my hand holding up a pint of Pliny the Elder at the Russian River brew pub.
Now off to purge some Untappd “friends” until there’s better functionality to organize them….
Well here’s one I don’t get. It scans beer barcodes and links them to BeerAdvocate. But of the seven beers I tried it with, including a 24 oz. can of Miller High Life my brother got me as a joke, it found exactly 0. And you can’t manually enter beers, just scan barcodes.
BeerAdvocate really needs to get moving with their supposed iOS app. I read some references to a an iOS app that did indeed link to BeerAdvocate, but apparently the bros killed it. And the screenshots I saw looked EXACTLY like Beer Buddy, which links to RateBeer. Interesting. I can only assume that Beer Buddy originally used BA, but after being denied access, switched to RB.
I received an email this morning from PintLabs announcing their new beer app, PocketBeer. Nice app. It passed my first test, finding most beers from Sixpoint, even with great labels. Even though I like the overall setup of this app better than BeerBuddy, BeerBuddy definitely still has the edge due to its access to the RateBeer database and reviews. And sadly, the official BeerAdvocate app is still vaporware as of yet.