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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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Filtering by Tag: Beer Apps

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.

Beer Apps: Untappd.com

Brad

Hello Beer Friends Nation! Welcome to 2011, where everyone has a blog, makes 14 tweets a day and "there's an app for that."  Recently the Apple App store has been filling up with "craft beer apps" that can do any number of things from find a beer on tap to give you food pairings.  This is the first post in the Beer Friends App Reviews that will walk through these apps to find (trumpets) "The Ultimate Beer App!" (end fanfare.)

Ironically the first "app" reviewed isn't an app at all, but gets a huge endorsement from the Beer Friends, so check out Untappd.com! Untappd.com is actually a website built for a mobile device.  There are pros and cons to this format, but I believe this is the best "app" out there (so far).  Untappd.com is the brain child of Tim Mather and Greg Avola and is "a new way to socially share the brew you're currently enjoying, as well as where you're enjoying it, with your friends!".  Basically like a FourSquare for beer drinkers... which is awesome.  Now I can drink an awesome Great Divide Yeti, rate it, check in on FourSquare and post on Twitter and Facebook and let the millions (ish) that follow thebeerfriends where to find this divine brew.

Master BadgePros:

It's a mobile website.  This has created a lot of debate in the Beer Friends circle.  Since it's a mobile website it never needs to download an update - awesome, because sometimes those downloads are annoying if they are too big and you have to connect to a computer, or you're on 3G and AT&T charges you an arm and a leg for your data plan; however, you can't check it out without 3G or wifi, like in the subway (to which I say get out from underground and find a dimly lit bar to drink at - and check in!)

Mobile websites aren't platform specific.  Amongst the Beer Friends we have both iPhone and Android users.  Sharing apps turns into searching the appropriate app store for hours trying to find some - then the differences between the apps on each device can be drastic causing a lot of yelling, glass throwing and basically a Tuesday night with the Beer Friends.  Untappd.com is available on both platforms because both platforms (and others out there) access the internet.  Win!

Doesn't take up space on your mobile device. Raise your hand if every year you get excited when Apple offers a free iTouch with purchase of a new computer for "school", me too.  Suddenly that year old P.O.S. in the corner looks in need of an upgrade - with iTouch!  However, Apple only offers the 8GB iTouch model and by the time you download Angry Birds, Plants vs Zombies and the (legally) ripped movies - Goonies and the latest Star Trek for me - you're out of GB's.  Untappd.com just accesses the web so no GB's needed!

Badges. Now I was (and still am) against the weird Social Movement where you tweet a hundred times a day about the long lines getting coffee and the size of that number 2 (I don't tweet, just tell who-ever is in the room), but tweeting/Foursquare check-in's/facebook updates with a purpose is alright by me.  Twitter can be a brillant way to update everyone where they can find a delicious brew or what beers are on special at the local store.  Badges fall somewhere in the middle, badges can be gained once the user (drinker) achieves something, most of the time unknowingly.  But badges can be fun, especially when they are interesting and make you think.  I don't care about the 5 American Light Beers badge, but enjoyed getting the HomeBrewer badge (inputting so many new beers into the system - only means I'm finding the rare stuff).  I also enjoyed the "Take It Easy" Badge (12 beers in 24 hours) - I was on vacation dammit!Easy Badge

Cons:

It's a mobile website. While there's no need to download updates - you don't have any idea when badges are added or improvements have been made.  Of course when your life is beer I check often enough to recognize these updates.

Mobile Websites aren't Apps. Duh, but if you've played around with an app and then notice the limitations of a mobile site in interactivity it clicks.  Oh yeah... this isn't an app.  While FourSquare now allows you to take a picture, there's no functionality (yet) on Untappd.com because it would involve uploading to the website, but an App can put everything in a package.

All in all any app or mobile website with social networking as the focus is only as people on it, and as Garth Brooks once said "I've got friends in low places" which I can only assume is bars, and I've got plenty of friends (look mom - 155!) that would like to know what beers I'm drinking and where... or I'd like to think so.