Did you know that as of the end of 2014, there were over 3,400 beer breweries on the United States? That’s a 19 percent growth over the previous year. And what really blows my mind is that we finally surpassed the number of pre-Prohibition breweries that existed before many were shuttered. If you’re a beer drinker, that’s great news! But with so many choices, where does one begin? Well, as the cliche goes, there’s an app for that, and this one is called Untappd.
I have been an enthusiastic Untappd user for a few years now. I don’t remember the exact date on which I joined, but I have logged nearly 1,200 unique beers on my account. Now before you get all judgmental, a high percentage of these were tiny samples ingested at one of the many beer festivals or tasting events I’ve attended. At these festivals, I’ll likely sample 30 or so beers, in very small quantity, just to try as many as possible. I’m a firm believer in quality over quantity. But I digress.
Why do I use Untappd? Well, that’s simple. It fulfills my needs as a beer drinker. First, because there are so many beers out there, I like to keep track of the ones I’ve tried. Second, It allows me to rate those beers and provide notes and/or a photo if I choose. Finally, when I am traveling, which I do fairly frequently, the search function helps me find local breweries. If there’s not a local brewery nearby, I can visit a bar that will likely be serving local brews. For example, in the summer of 2012, my family went to San Diego. While there, I used Untappd to locate Russian River’s Pliny the Elder – one of the highest-rated IPAs in America. At the time, we lived in Texas, so there was no chance I would find it there. But while cruising the Pacific Coast Highway, I used Untappd to find Pliny on tap at a nearby bar. Since then, I’ve also used it to find breweries and beers in Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Hamburg, Houston, London, NYC, Orlando, Seattle, Vancouver, and other places.
Speaking of beer festivals, the Great American Beer Festival is September 24-26th in Denver, where I am fortunate to live. It is the worlds largest competitive gathering of brewers. There will be 154 breweries in site, just from Colorado! This till be my first year to attend GABF, and I have been looking forward to it for months. While it may appear anti-social to be using my iPhone the whole time, I’ll be logging my beers in Untappd as I go along. Plus, I’ll be there on my own, so it’s not like I’ll be ignoring conversation with anyone. If you happen at GABF on Thursday the 24th, hit me up on Twitter @FlyingPhotog and we’ll raise a glass. It’s always great to meet other people with the same appreciation for great beer.