The world of beer has moved from ancient Egypt to the 21st century. With help from a few basic apps, first time drinkers and seasoned hopheads can expand their brewniverse. Several are all encompassing; others cater to a specific boozy need. Check out some of the best below.
Recommendations and rating: Untappd, Rate Beer, Beer Advocate
Untappd is one of the most popular apps in craft beer and a personal favorite. The app lets drinkers track beers they've already shotgunned (or poured in a glass, whatever) and, similar to social media, share with friends and followers who can "toast" their drinks. It also points users to new brews they might like based on the beers they've shared, as well as beers, bars, and breweries nearby.
RateBeer and BeerAdvocate are great apps for people seeking in depth information about a beer or brewery. Rate Beer and Beer Advocate primarily share beer reviews and ratings, and the latter also has a healthy beer trading community.
Untappd and BeerAdvocate are free apps available on iOS, Android and Windows phones. RateBeer is available on iOS and Android, and costs $3.99.
Bar crawling: BeerMenus
BeerMenus helps drinkers find beer and bars nearby via website and iOS app. Search for bars and broswe menus, or if you're already planning to visit a specific establishment, look up the menu in your Uber on the way there, so you know exactly what to order when you walk in.
But you don't have to be in search of a spot for a frothy bev to use this app -- it comes in handy when seated with poor sight lines to the menu on the wall, or when it’s hard to find a physical menu. Bars update the beers in their systems, for example, when a keg blows and is replaced, so the app is usually up to date. BeerMenus is a free download.
Food pairing: Beer Match
Beer Match: Beer, Food, Cheese Pairings breaks down pairing options for 31 different styles with more than 500 foods. Users can start with a food and find a beer style that pairs with it, or start with a beer and find foods that pair with it. There are more beer-and-food pairing options than wine-and-food pairings out there, since beer has more ingredient combinations than wine, so finding pairings can be more challenging, but definitely more rewarding.
The app is $0.99 and available on iOS only.
Trading: BEX Cellar (The Beer Exchange)
BEX Cellar, also known as the Beer Exchange, helps users keep track of their beer cellars, list what beers they're looking for, and find people who want to trade. The best thing about this app is the ability to mark cellar items FT (For Trade) and create an ISO (In Search Of) list, both of which are updated automatically when you complete a trade. If you've ever wondered what FT/ISO means, now you know!
The app is free, but only available for iOS. Other smart phone users can limp along by opening the website in a browser.
BeerSmith is the bee's-knees for homebrewers. It has a searchable bank of recipes, helps users create original recipes, and saves previous recipes. (If you save a recipe on your computer, you access it from your phone, too!) The app keeps track of unit conversions, has a built-in timer, and allows homebrewers to track gravity/efficiency throughout the brew day.
Pivo is something of a novelty app (for iOS only) that teaches users how to order a beer in 59 different languages. Sure, you could simply look for a translation online, but what's the fun in that? It costs $0.99 cents to download.
Bonus: Find the song of your people on social media
It can be a challenge to nerd out about beer if your friends aren’t as into the scene as you are. Social media has you covered on all bases.
There are groups on Facebook and Reddit that are keen resources for trading, finding beer hotspots when you travel, homebrewing, and simply learning and loving beer with like-minded folks. Instagram is a great place to search hashtags of specific beers and to find trading partners, and Twitter gets you beer news faster than any other source. Between apps and social media, you'll always have someone to toast with your latest pint.