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The Beer Friends write, review, and discuss Craft Beer as fans instead of experts.  They share their unique voice and affinity for craft beer through multiple platforms and offer a range of media to join their craft beer conversation.

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Beer Apps: Beerby

Beerfriend Paul

Beerby is an app that follows the lead of Foursquare, but (obviously) focuses its energy on the beer you are drinking, where you can, and are drinking it. Beerby runs on the game platform Levlr to allow you to track your beers and locations as well as keep your stats so you can compete for "Badgers." Much like Foursquare, this is a game, but it's one that everyone wins. First you are drinking delicious beverages, and second you get to earn achievements that are known in this app as (the aforementioned) "Badgers." The "Badgers" are a fun take on the Badge concept employed by Foursquare and other location based applications. Being just another name for the game achievements, it gives this app a little more personality as they were able to create a cartoon badger holding a beer to be it's mascot. It's a creative was to go about an common concept. Each badger looks one way until it is unlocked and then the badger raises it's glass to you. Even some badgers have costumes and accessories, like the "Merry Beermas" badger has a Santa hat on it's head.

The App is a good way to keep track of your beers.  You input information for the beer and then you may add comments and a picture if you so desire.  It is a good way to keep track of the beers you drink and has a very simple 5 star rating system to show everyone (and remind yourself later) if you liked the beer or not.

The process of tracking beers is pretty simple and gives you a lot of options.  It starts with a page giving you a change to rate the beer from 1- 5 stars, and underneath that has a list of other people who have shared in this particular beverage.  Then once you choose your rating you move onto a separate page that lets you set your location, write a comment, and take a picture before you save your entry.  I like the options you have when you are checking in, and the ability to take a photo is a huge plus.  This page also has a "Send to Twitter" and "Send to Facebook" button that you can switch on or off depending on who you want to share this with.  There is no specific "Send to Foursquare" button, but if you add a location (and have your foursquare account linked) it will automatically send your check in to foursquare.

The community on Beerby is fair.  The integration with the other social networks is good.  As I mentioned, you can specifically check into any of the the big three social networks.  The app also has its own community where you can friend other users and comment on their beers.  The home screen shows you a list of the most recent beers tracked by your friends and yourself.  It's nice because you can look at all the tracked beers, or you can flip over to the tab that only holds your recently tracked beers. While this is an

expected feature of social networks, Beerby does a good job of making sure this is the first thing you see every time you check in.  This helps promote the community on the app and not just make it a port for other social networks.  However, they don't get it exactly right.  While the execution of the friends list is good, the process of adding friends is cumbersome to say the least.  While they show you other users when you track your beers the app won't let you add friends from these screens.  You must go into the "Friends" tab, go to "Add Friends" and find your friends that way.  It gives you the opportunity to search your foursquare friends, as well as your address book, but I found that most people in both of those places weren't on Beerby.  I could invite them to join but, while this is a great tool for the app developer to bring in new users, it is annoying to a casual user.  What Beerby needs is an easier way to friend people with similar beer interests within other parts of the app and not just with the friends tab. 

There is something that could make this app incredible, but feels as though it's in beta right now.  The places tab allows you to see a map of your area and you can click on pins inside the map to see what locations around you have which brews.  In theory this tab could be the most impressive part of this application, but it doesn't quite come together... yet.  It allows you to look around for beer in your neighborhood but not every pin in this tab is a beer venue.  The most glaring being the Subway Sandwich shop in my neighborhood that I know doesn't sell beer but shows up on the map anyway.  Also, I had an issue while searching for venues outside of my neighborhood.  While it has a search button I was unable to locate a bar that I know exists; it is even a bar that I was allowed to check into as a location when I was tracking my beers.

My biggest issue with this app isn't with the app at all.  It is the lack of web support. With Beerby it is all app or nothing.  I realized this issue when I was having trouble uploading a profile picture on the app (to be fair, it was user error) and I went to the website for another way to access the information and i was denied.  I think it is important for any social network app to have some form of web support for your profile.  To be able to search through beers and add friends on a website adds a much needed dimension to  social networking applications.

Overall it's a good app for tracking beers and sharing your beer adventures on the Beerby network as well as the other big social networks.  Ultimately if you are looking for an app to do just that, Beerby is worth a look.

This review was done mostly with the iPhone app, Android app follows the same concepts but does differ in layout slightly.