I have a confession to make. It’s not something I’m very proud of. Some might call it a huge character flaw, something to be embarrassed about. But I need to get it off my chest. So here it goes…
I am…a beer snob.
Yes, I know, it’s terrible. I’m “that guy”…I look at the color of beer and smell it before drinking it, I look down on “common” beers, I’m horrified at the idea of beer pong, and I always always ALWAYS want to drink beer out of the right glass.
It’s not something to be proud of, but there’s no point in denying it either. I am a full-fledged beer snob…and I make no apologies for it.
The thing is, it wasn’t always like that. I didn’t even like beer for the longest time. This whole thing came about quite organically.
Back before I became a beer snob I was like most people, I equated beer with what you get at most bars. Most beers tasted the same to me; fairly bitter, very gassy, not much flavor. I only drank it occasionally, and mostly when there wasn’t anything else to drink.
I always figured all beers tasted the same more or less and there wasn’t much variety.
That all changed when I was introduced to a few beer-centric restaurants in Toronto. You know, the type of place you go and there’s 100 beers on the menu? It’s a bit intimidating and I didn’t know any better, and neither did my friends.
So we did what anyone does in that situation, we asked for recommendations from the bartender. He recommended we try a few Belgian beers. Right off the bat I knew I was tasting something I’d never tasted before.
We tried a few that night, but the one I remember the most was Delirium Tremens. It was an eye opening experience. The next time we went to these restaurants I tried other beers; Duvel, Leffe Blond/Brune, La Fin Du Monde, etc etc.
Each experience opened my eyes more and more to the world of beer. I started exploring more and more, learning about pouring techniques, brewing methods, and which glass to use for which beer.
So even though I had barely tried a handful of beers in my 20s, by the time I was 30 I was a full-on beer snob. Like I said, totally organically.
Whenever I’ve talked to other beer snobs over the years, their stories are similar to mine. One beer became the spark that made them go “wait, there’s more to this drink than I thought” and took them down the rabbit hole to discovering more beers.
It’s an interesting hobby to take up and you end up learning more about alcohol than you ever thought you’d care to learn.
The big problem with beer snobbery
If you ever decide to take the journey I did and become a beer aficionado (aka snob) then you’ll quickly realize one major issue…there are literally thousands of different beers in the world.
Pretty much every country in the world brews beer and some countries (I’m looking at you Belgium) produce literally hundreds of different types of beers.
It’s basically impossible to keep track of it all.
I realized this fairly early on in my journey when I had more than a few “did I try that one already?” moments. One day I had enough and took out my phone, opened the Notes app and started writing down all the unique beers I was trying.
This was a crude and primitive method, and also very inefficient. It became very unmanageable very quickly.
First off I was only making a list of the beers that I had tried but I wasn’t indicating which ones I actually liked…so I had to start a second list of the beers I liked. The second problem was that my list grew quickly and it became harder and harder to sort. Finally searching in the Notes app is very clunky.
I resorted to using the Pages app. But still, it wasn’t much better in terms of managing everything.
My beer list became 300 long and it was becoming harder and harder to maintain. I needed a solution to help me keep track of everything.
There’s an app for that
This lead me to discover an app called Untappd. It was created for people like myself who are going through the discovery of the world of beer and wanted a way to manage and catalogue it all.
Every time you try a new beer you enter it into your Untappd list. You can give it a rating out of 5 and give a description of it. You can categorize it based on the type of beer and even take a picture to help you remember what the beers looked like.
There’s even a gamificiation aspect to it as you get a badge for “unlocking” a certain category, depending on the type and number of beers you’ve added.
It’s a great way to keep a history of all the beers you’ve tried along with knowing how much you like it as well as recalling the flavor of the beer.
It’s easy to search and to sort by type of beer. It even gives you recommendations on new beers based on the ones you like and allows you to keep a separate list of beers you want to try.
The app has evolved over the years and there are many new features to make it more than a simple beer list app. You can tag your friends and share the beers you’ve added. You can search nearby for bars that serve the beers you like.
It can even help you find a ride if you’ve had one too many.
Untappd also opens you up to the greater beer drinking community. It helps you find events nearby as well as helping you connect with beer drinkers who share similar tastes to yours.
To date it has over 7 million users and they’ve been growing rapidly over the years. My only wish was that they had an importing feature so I could just import the beer list I have in Pages into the app. As it stand now I need to re-enter all 300 beers from my list into the app.
It’s not often that you can combine alcohol with technology but Untappd is an app that does just that. It’s a must have for anyone who considers themselves a beer lover as well as anyone who wants to start down the (wonderful) path of opening their beer horizons.
For those of you that love wine (aka rotting grapes…not that I’m judging) there is a sister app called Next Glass. It works very similarly to Untappd and I’ve heard rave reviews from wine lovers about how it’s a great tool for them as well.
There’s never been a better time to dive into the world of beers and an app like Untappd will help you navigate the sometimes intimidating path.
Just be careful you don’t enjoy it too much, or you’ll end up like a beer snob like me…not that there’s anything wrong with that.