By Brittany Anas for Hack Reactor
Beer is tasty year-round, whether you’re cracking up a cold kolsch after a summer hike or imbibing with a brooding stout by a fireplace on a chilly night. But technically, April 7 is National Beer Day. Consider this a reminder to celebrate however you see fit.
Propelled by a craft beer movement, beer is big business. It’s a $116 billion industry in the United States, according to the Boulder, Colorado-based Brewers Association. Over the course of five years, the number of breweries in the United States has doubled.
To put it another way, the growing popularity of homebrewing as a hobby coupled with a burgeoning brewery scene has led to a niche for software engineers and coding bootcamp graduates: Beer lovers want tools to help them find (and create) the best beer.
To celebrate National Beer Day, we’ve rounded up the best apps that were developed with beer lovers in mind. Here, nine apps for those who love beer—drinking it, brewing it, and enjoying flights of it at local breweries.
The 3 Best Apps for Beer Drinkers
BJCP Beer Style Reference Guides: The scenario: You order a flight of beers at a brewery and get to sipping. You know which beer styles you like most, but can you put your finger on why? Consider these apps the CliffsNotes of beer. (Both iOS and Android users can access similar apps made by different developers). With these apps, you can quickly decipher between, say, an American and English IPA and read up on characteristics (things like mouthfeel and aroma) that define different beer styles. By incorporating the Beer Judge Certification Program guidelines, you can taste and describe beer like a pro. That’s right: things like “malt impression” will enter your beer-tasting vocabulary and soon you’ll be noting whether the hops are fresh, floral, earthy, or citrusy. The iOS version is open source with the source code on GitHub.
Tavour: There’s so much incredible beer in the world, but so little of it makes it to the coolers at your neighborhood liquor store. Enter Tavour, an app with an easy interface that connects craft beer fans with limited releases and other hard-to-track down beers from around the country. That absolutely means you can buy beer from your favorite faraway ski town or find a tasty pastry stout that satiates your dessert cravings. Reviewers love that they’re introduced to not just new styles of beer, but also a wide range of independent breweries around the country.
Untappd: This app is a social media network for beer lovers! You can connect with friends and follow along to see what beers they’re drinking and loving. The app also has a “trending beer” category that helps introduce you to new brews. Another feature allows you to keep lists of beers you like and ones you want to try.
The 3 Best Apps for Homebrewers
Brew Guru: An app from the American Homebrewers Association, Brew Guru gives you access to award-winning beer, mead, and cider recipes. The developers have included descriptions of the beers and award information. You can also replicate your favorite craft brewery’s beer at home thanks to an expansive library of clone recipes. The app will also help you find local deals on homebrewing supplies.
Craft Beer and Brewing: As an extension of the highly regarded magazine, this app from Craft Beer and Brewing has practical advice doled out by the best craft beer writers in the industry. You’ll also find dozens of beer reviews, in-depth tasting notes, exclusive interviews with well-known brewers, and up-to-date brewing trends. You can also browse reviews of brewing equipment and products and access beer recipes.
Brewfather: A must-have for homebrewers, Brewfather has a powerful recipe designer with intuitive batch tracking and inventory management. Homebrewers can explore the library that has hundreds of recipes or create their own recipes. To help, the app has a slate of smart features, including fermentation charts, cost tracking, beer style guides, and calculators to help you scale recipes up or down.
The 3 Best Apps for Brewery Lovers
Brewtown: Yes, there’s an app that gamifies the beer-drinking experience. No, it’s not virtual beer pong. Brewtown lets users start their own craft beer brewery. You can come up with your beer menu, design your bottles and cans and upgrade your buildings.
Brewee: With a massive database of breweries plus a community of beer enthusiasts who share their experiences, Brewer allows you to find new craft breweries in your area and around the country. The developers enabled a search feature that allows you to find the best beer on a map and allows you to choose breweries based on ratings. Plus, relevant information for the breweries (things like phone numbers and website information) is included.
Taphunter: If you’re a sour beer lover you don’t want to end up at a brewery where the taps are dominated by, say, IPAs. Taphunter helps you find exactly what’s currently on tap at your favorite watering holes. Taphunter is only available in some markets, a drawback that developers are working on as the app expands.