Beer Peloton

Generally, I would say adding more bike riders to Los Angeles would probably just increase the car on bike hatred, I do really like the app that the City of Bologna in Italy has rolled out. Bella Mossa (“Good Move”) app gives points to those who use the app and then bike, walk, or use public transport to get to and from work instead of by car. For Good Move you can redeem your points in gelato or movie tickets or even, you guessed it, beer.

The app will tracks what they call “green journeys” as well as telling you how much CO2 you saved. The key are the businesses who have signed up to offer freebies for it.

Maybe this is an idea that could spread to the greener parts of the US and then you could “hop” on your bike and haul your free beer home.


Other than sharing an unfortunate word with the failing MoviePass, I don’t quite know what to make of PintPass.

From what I have read on the About and FAQ pages lead me to think that this is powered by gathering data on those users who fill out the surveys. And that in exchange for that data, you get the equivalent of a busted credit card that a harried beertender will have to manually enter the numbers on at still to be determined breweries who will participate.

I have signed up just to keep the e-mails coming but will be watching from the sidelines to see how this plays out. Like MoviePass, I don’t know how long this can last.

The App-ford Companion to Beer

I have the doorstop sized hardbound Oxford Companion to Beer. It was a lovely Christmas present a few years back. Now, you can easily afford to have a world of beer data at your fingertips with the app version that is sold for a mere $5. You can’t beat that price.


I don’t use a lot of beer apps. Untappd is my go-to 90% of the time. I have test driven a few but they either don’t add much more or are too glitchy. I also don’t trust the wisdom of crowds. (See Yelp as a prime example) But there are times when I am stuck choosing between beers and it would be helpful to see further information.
The BeerPic app though has something going for it, they are using the vast data storehouse of the RateBeer website. That is a major plus. The other plus is that you can add to the app like you can do in Untappd. That is essential when there are so many one off and special beers out there. The downside is that the app wants to be used primarily with a smart phone camera which partially negates the tap only beers out there. You scan a beer bottle or can and let the image recognition software ID the label and presto you get the RateBeer info plus further data like color, flavor, and beers that are similar.

Maybe later I will test the label recognition of BeerPic vs. NextGlass/Untappd and see who gets me better information faster. In the meantime though,I would like to see are bottled on/ canned on information added to these apps or at least a freshness window. Cellaring info and preferred glassware choice would be nice too.
The BeerPic app is currently available for free in the iTunes store; an Android version is in the works.

Hop Plotter

If you mashed up Google Maps, Yelp and craft beer? You would be lost, given 1 star but you would drink well. Alternatively, you can try HopPlotter, which is both a website and an app (and it is free!) Is it the map equivalent of Untappd?
I tested the web version at HopPlotter has been around since December of last year so I didn’t expect that a full picture of breweries would emerge. But I did want to see if the press release info was correct and that the site was easy to use and if the information was helpful and accessible

Markers indicate where breweries are located and have colors signaling if they are currently open or shut.

The rest of the instructions from the press release: “Clicking on a brewery will lead the user to even more information such as the brewery’s top-rated beers, Yelp rating, Facebook posts, Tweets, whether they serve food, whether they offer brewery tours, whether you can bring your kids along, etc. The site also gives you the ability to plan trips and visits to breweries by letting users create and save itineraries to their own account. Itineraries can be anything from just a day to a long detailed trip. Not seeing your favorite pub on HopPlotter? Add it by clicking “Add a Brewery” on the webapp!”

My quick test run of three cities and obscure breweries did not faze HopPlotter (though the Brouwerij West a soon to open wasn’t marked, yet) and I loved the drag and drop VISIT icon that you can plan your day with. You really need to use it in full screen to keep all of the logistics in front of you but it works well. You can share it and then re-arrange as needed. It really gives you a visual look combined with hours of operation that I haven’t seen before.

Check App

For some in the world of craft beer, knowing who owns who and who is craft and who is crafty is of paramount importance. My first allegiance is to good beer no matter the maker but I can understand a desire to stand by the little guy and instead of carrying around a chart, graph or infographic , you can upload the latest version of Craft Check.

Version 2.0 of the app is now free and has added some new features. Updates will occur faster and in the background, you will also get more information on ownership to allow for those who are kosher with Heineken but not too keen on SABINMILLERBEV. The interface of the app has been changed as well.

It is a great that anyone can simply scan the barcode or do a search by brewery name to get that background business information because a lot is hidden from view. But I don’t know if people who know the least will be aware of this app either.

Beer Map App

The new wave of beer apps are making the effort to better match beer lovers with similar beers in the way that Netflix suggests you watch Movie B after you watched Movie A.  The latest to come to my attention via beer buddy Rich is the Beer Mapper app (only for iPad)

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Similar in vein to the Next Glass app but harnessing the reviews of Rate Beer, Beer Mapper creates a visual look to beer choices.

Here is the 411: “Each of the 25,000 beers is represented as a unique pin on the map.  A beer’s coordinates are determined based on how it tastes in relation to every other beer on the map.  The closer the beer pins, the more similar the beers.  Tap and hold on any one of the dots on the map to pull up a beer pin.  Tap on the beer’s flag to find out more info on the beer, find similar beers, or add it to a custom beer list.

Currently on sale at .99 cents but will sell for more later. This app looks more complete out of the box than Next Glass.  I will test it out and see if it works.

SF Beer coming

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Never to early to plan for the massive amount of beer events in San Francisco during their SF Beer Week. The initial calendar is out and ready to be perused by beer fans by the Bay, and us Angelenos too!

Events like:

Festival of Firkins
Magnolia Pub & Brewery, San Francisco
February 12th, 11:00am – 8:00pm

More Impartial Suggestions

While scanning the online presence of the Oregonian newspaper for Blazer and Linfield Wildcat news, I ran across this article from the beer writer for the paper, John Foyston about a beer census.


Next Glass is kicking up the traditional, staid beer recommendation app to the next level with Science. (And a big truck).  They are literally going across the country, buying beer and analyzing it.  The plan is to create “the most objective aspect of taste: chemistry. Since we understand the chemistry behind your likes and dislikes and look at your taste, we’re able to deliver highly accurate recommendations.”

You can sign up on the website for news or follow their progress on the interwebs.  Though as of late October, I saw no schedule for arriving in Los Angeles.  (Which they better visit).


Craft Check



Have you ever been in a grocery store (most good craft beer shops don’t have this issue) and wondered if the beer in front of you was a “phantom” craft beer?  Well help has arrived from app creators Barrett Garese and Rudy Jahchan the folks behind Craft Check, an app whose sole purpose is to warn you if a beer is craft or not.

You can find it in this app store or search engine it.

Once downloaded you just shoot a photo of the barcode and you will either get “Congratulations! What you’re looking at is a genuine craft brew from a genuine craft brewery. This is as good as it gets (when it comes to beer).” or “Careful! What you’ve got there is an imitation craft brew from one of the big guys. It’s got all the soul of a spreadsheet. Crafty, but not Craft.”

This can be helpful if used correctly.  If someone uses it as a blanket condemnation and will not buy anything that is painted with the corporate brush, that would be bad.  We already have too many people who won’t drink Widmer or Goose Island or (now) Blue Point because of that reason. But if used to educate, this app can be a powerful way to show how deceptive the monolithic brewers are in trying to cash in on craft via labels and brand names.

Kudos to Garese and Jahchan for building an app that will help create transparency in beer buying.