Another post from our very own Graphic Designer: Tammy Findlay:
“O.k., I’ll be honest: it’s finally happened to me. I’m addicted to my iPhone. Now I’m trying to justify using it during work. Luckily, I’m a Web Designer at Boundary Bay Brewery and we’re toying with the idea of developing our own app, so I got the green light to do a little iPhone beer research.
I’ve only been downloading and researching free apps so far. I’m sure there’s a load of great beer apps out there for a reasonable fee. And if you wanna look cool, or dorky (the jury’s out) you can download Hottrix’s iBeer app for only 99¢. It simulates drinking a pint of beer as you tip the phone to your lips. Anyway, I’m not a professional brewer or taster, so go easy on me. I personally think my own beer tastes are a little weird, and probably really uncool to most Craft Beer enthusiasts. I like only a handful of IPA’s. I have to be in the mood for Stouts, Porters, and Winter Ales. When it comes to Craft Beer, I usually order a Pale Ale or an ESB. I love our Best Bitter here at Boundary Bay Brewery, but my BBAY favorites are the Pilsner, Amarillo, and Lightner (3B) which are usually only available in the Summer. Sometimes I even really enjoy (gasp) cheap beer in a can. All that being said, here’s a little review from my perspective.
First up is Pintley (available at the App Store for your iPhone or on Pintley.com for use on your computer). They also have a mobile site for non iPhone users. When you create a new free account with Pintley it takes you through an introduction to try to deduce your beer tastes. It randomly accesses beers from it’s database and asks you to rate the ones you’ve tried. As you rate beers you’ve had…even ones you don’t like…Pintley fine tunes your beer tastes and recommends other beers it thinks you might like. You can also help the app narrow in on your beer style preferences by searching it’s database for beers you know you love and rating those. Pintley covers the majority of beer styles, like Belgium, Stout, Pales, IPA, Import, and Cheap. You can search for a beer by brewery or style and we’re happy to report that that he database is actually really thorough. Each beer has an average rating, lists the brewery it’s from and includes a description. You can read other people’s tasting notes and you can add yours to the database. After rating a few beers myself, I got some recommendations…and it is making me too thirsty, because I see a lot of beers I’d like to try! Unfortunately, the app doesn’t tell me where I can get these recommended beers, but I believe this would take some sort of GOD app. Especially if you prefer beers from a small brewery like Boundary Bay. For a large scale brewery with national distribution, listing where each beer is available isn’t difficult. Here at Boundary Bay Brewery, though, we self distribute most of what we brew and we can’t bottle a ton. Most of our beer is consumed right at the brewery. When kegs get delivered to accounts, with a few exceptions, its hard to tell you what they’ll have on tap. As one keg runs out, another goes on. It’s constantly changing and hard to pin down…but our best effort is a “Find our Beer” list on our website. You can look at the list, then call the establishment and ask them which Boundary Beer is on tap. All in all, I like this app because it actually gives you a description of each beer and shows other people’s tasting notes as well as your own. I liked using it to make my wish list too…never again will I forget which sour beer that one guy recommended!
Next I tried an app called Keg O’Rator, which is also available through the App Store. This app uses your location to tell you which breweries are closest to you, which I think is a really great feature. Once you click on a brewery, a list of their brews appears. From there, you can rate the beer and view an average rating, but it doesn’t offer beer descriptions. You can search for beers and styles all over the world and it keeps track of your favorites,which we’ve had a lot of fun with after our general manager got back from her recent trip to New Zealand. It also has a BAC calculator, which I really haven’t had time to test out (I think it is more of a fun gimick). This is a great app if you are traveling and want to find a brewery near you. This app is awesome for finding a brewery close to wherever you are…great for when you’re exploring new places and want to check out new beers! You could find a great beer at every stop on your next journey. It also has a great search function that allows you to look by beer, by style, by brewery, by city or by state/providence. I also really like that the app allows you to rate both the beer and the brewery.
I also tried Beer Cloud and Grab a Beer. I didn’t find either of these apps useful. Beer Cloud’s database was lacking. It was built by GreatBrewers.com and I think they require the brewery’s membership to list it. Grab a Beer crashed on me and I didn’t give it a second go.
Next I’d like to give a little shout out to our own Mobile App. It isn’t an App you download from the App Store, it’s a mobile website, optimized for a small screen. That means it should work on most devices, but you do need an internet connection. If you go to www.bbaybrewery.com on your mobile device, you should be redirected to it. If not the address is http://www.bbaybrewery.com/mobile.
We are looking into developing a Boundary Bay Brewery app for the iPhone, but we aren’t quite sure what it should do. So share your ideas with us. Also, if you know about some cool beer apps for the Android or iPhone, let us know! Cheers.”