Last week, I asked for craft beer lovers to hype what beer that they think is deserving of more attention. One recent way to do this is through the website Untappd.
Untappd is a cross of Facebook and Twitter. You type in what beer you are drinking and where you are drinking it at and voila, with the click of a mouse, you can share it with everyone in the Untappd universe (Facebook too).
I just started using the site last week and it is addictive watching as new beers are added to the list. The range of beers being drunk is quite amazing and heartening to see. It really shows how craft beer has taken off.
It is obvious that the creators of Untappd have thought through their rules and regulations, which will lead the site to be focused on the beer, which is great. But, as of now, there are some drawbacks to the site; which put me on the fence about it.
First, the stream of posts is split into macro and micro and the default is the macro category. Seriously? Craft beer geeks have to search out great beer, why do we have to do extra work on a website for beer too? Make the Bud/Miller/Coors brigade work harder. And get rid of the macro/micro names. Size does not determine the quality of the beer. I would go with craft and crap.
Secondly, finding and “checking in” that beer you are drinking is a bit frustrating. You can’t (as of now) do it on a regular computer or laptop. So you are stuck with a mobile platform that took me awhile to even figure out. Intuitive like Facebook? Not yet.
Here is my biggest caveat, which is addressed by the creators of the site as well. It is not a contest. If you are having a particularly great beer, let people know, then go back to enjoying it. Untappd stops a user from posting another beer for ten minutes after the previous post. I would up that to at least fifteen minutes if not more. In conjunction with that, I would create a beer festival system that would allow for sample sizes being smaller. It would require logging in to the festival (which would need to be verified) first to enable more entries in less time.
Time will tell which craft beer apps emerge but Untappd has the potential to be a great way to talk about the world of craft beer.
For the craft beer of the week, we return once more to Stone for Highway 78 Scotch ale. This is another collaborative beer from the Escondido brewery and they are combining forces with two breweries that are linked by a common road. The 78 highway. Green Flash and Port Brewing are the partners this time around for this somewhat neglected beer style. To learn more about this new offering check the Stone Collaborative beers page
Your homework this week is to make a birthday a little more memorable. Facebook does make remembering friend’s birthdays easier but instead of just posting “Happy B-Day” on someone’s wall, how about getting them a beer. It can be a pint or a bottle. A brand new beer or an old favorite. Then you can wait for them to post it on Untappd.
Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.