Beer apps: fun and value in one

A beer and a hand that's giving thumbs up
© Pixabay, User: MabelAmber

Online platforms are a regular feature of the modern brewing industry: A variety of beer apps enables consumers to archive, rate and buy just about any beer they want. These online offers are not only fun to use, they also serve as a valuable aid to beer lovers and brewers.

You are sitting with a group of friends at a beer bar somewhere in the world,  sampling all of the delights on its long menu. The next day, you think back on the evening and recall one beer that really stood out from the crowd. What was its name? And who brewed it?

A whole host of apps has been developed to help you with this dilemma and inspire you. Beer lovers can use these platforms to archive information on their favorite hops and malt beverages, including photos, to share it with other beer lovers, and to collect free-beer points. More and more such beer apps, some of which have completely new functions, are entering the marketplace. In addition to helping consumers, they serve as a business tool for all brewers who want to hear and analyze a range of opinions about their beverages. The key role played by these programs is also reflected in the many beer shops that offer top-rated products on popular evaluation platforms in addition to their normal items. Here is an overview of the best of the free beer apps:

Untappd – Beer archives with awards

Untappd is one of the oldest and most well-known apps. On the site, users can enter beers they have sampled and rate them on a scale of one to five – with or without a photo. Remarks about the beer’s color, aroma and taste can be entered into a comment field. The more beers a user enters, the more honors he or she can collect – including, for instance, the title of “beer connoisseur”, which is awarded after a user has posted 25 beers from 25 different countries. You can also use the app to see which beers have received the best ratings on average by the community and which types and styles are especially popular at the moment. The site also has a map that you can use to find the nearest bar or brewery. Friends can be invited to the app via Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare or e-mail. Untappd is available free on Apple, Android and Windows Phone.

RateBeer – Evaluation platform with its own award

Another “grandfather” among the beer apps is the free RateBeer, which is considered to be one of the world’s best sources of information about beer. This app even offers advertising and contact options. Beer lovers can use a scoring system to rate beer on the basis of appearance, aroma, taste and overall impression. They can also compile their own lists of favorites. Users can search for special beers and use the ratings to decide whether they want to try them. RateBeer also allows beer lovers to assess and comment on breweries and taprooms – and provides the address and contact information for each location. The RateBeer competition is held once a year to honor beers and breweries that have won the highest ratings from the community. Shops then use the top scores in their sales pitches.

Bierpoints – Free beer via beer app

Especially popular among beer lovers in Germany is the app Bierpoints, where users can earn points for each beer they drink. A virtual glass appears on the display and fills with any type of beer consumed, including non-alcoholic brews and beer-based mixed drinks. When the glass is full, a user can get a free beer by cashing in the collected points. The free beer is only available at participating locations, but their numbers are rapidly growing. There is also a “regulars’ table” chat function that friends can use to converse and arrange get-togethers. Free on Apple and Android.

Beer Tasting – rate and order

Beer Tasting offers an especially diverse range of functions. In this German-language beer app, beer lovers can search for beers and comment on them as well as buying them online or adding them to a wish list. It also includes a news page filled with up-to-date information about the global brewing industry and event tips. Free on Apple and Android.

With beer apps on the way to the next drinktec

The broad range of free beer apps creates tremendous added value for beer lovers and brewers. It definitely makes sense to have an app or two on board when you visit the next drinktec: Visitors can use these exchange platforms to discover a variety of creative and special brews and find inspiration.

The beer apps can also play a role for craft, hobby and small brewers at Home & Craft by drinktec. This exhibition, which will become an annual event starting in 2018, will be held for the first time simultaneously with the German Championship of Homebrewers sponsored by Störtebeker Braumanufaktur in Stralsund. Beer lovers were able to vote online on the competition beer style – just like beer apps – before the jury, together with the audience, award the favourite brew in September. So it remains exciting to see what new features beer apps will have in the future to make the beer experience even more unique.

Mareike Hasenbeck

Mareike Hasenbeck is a freelance journalist with her own craft beer blog (Feiner Hopfen), she is also a beer sommelier and an international expert for beer sensory certified by the DLG (German Agricultural Society).