Review: Untappd App for Android

A closer look at the social beer drinking app

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Craft beer enthusiasts are very enthusiastic, and we love trying new beers, sharing our discoveries with friends old and new, and finding out what's on tap before we get to the bar. The first thing we seek out when in a new city is where to find good beer. While Google Maps is helpful for such things, apps devoted to beer and other alcohol are much more helpful. Untappd for Android is a fun to use app that helps you connect with fellow craft beer lovers, find new brews, bars, and breweries, and earn badges while you're at it. Let's take a look inside.  

Getting Started

To sign up, you can create a login or connect with Facebook; you can do this either in the app or on a desktop, which is nice. I created an account on my desktop for easier typing. In addition to creating a username and password you need to provide your email, name, location, gender (can choose "don't want to say), and date of birth. Then you check a box to prove you're not a robot. Finally, you have to verify your email and download the app. (You can also use Untappd's mobile site.) Oddly, you have to click to send a verification email yourself – it's not automatic as with many apps and websites. I do like that you can then confirm that you input the correct address. The verification email arrived immediately after I requested, and I was ready to go.

Unfortunately, I hit a small glitch at this point. I used Pushbullet's excellent universal copy and paste feature to copy the password from my computer to my smartphone the first time I logged in. However, my login details were not recognized after several attempts. I ended up having to reset my password, and then, at last, I was in. Phew.

Discover New Beers and See What Everyone Else is Drinking

At the top of each screen are five icons representing the activity feed, search nearby, add friends, view profile, and notifications. The activity feed page is represented by messaging bubbles, so I initially thought it was an inbox. It turns out it's actually a commenting bubble: you and your friends can chime in on each other's check-ins. You can also add the people who show up in your activity feed as friends. The activity feed has three tabs: friends, global, and nearby. The friends tab shows your activity as well as that of anyone you've connected with in the app, the global tab shows activity from all over the world, and the nearby tab shows what's happening near you. In my case, the nearest activity ranged from bars and restaurants within a few miles of me, all the way to a ski resort about a two-hour drive away. The nearby tab is just one of many ways to discover new beers and learn where your favorites are tapping.

The first time I used the app, I had some trouble figuring out exactly how to check into a bar. Unlike Foursquare or Swarm, you actually check into the beer you're drinking. To do so, you use the search button at the very top of the screen, and type your beer into the search bar, choose it from the results, and hit check in. Then you can add your location, leave tasting notes, add a picture, rate the beer, and share your check-in on Twitter or Facebook. None of these fields are required. If you want to add your location, Untappd pulls up a list of nearby venues, but not all of them are bars. My results included nearby playgrounds (LOL), a bus station, and a farmer's market, in addition to actual watering holes. So, if you like, you can be really specific about where you're drinking, even if you're sitting on a swing.

One annoyance is that when you want to log a second (or third) beer at a the same location, you have to start the process all over. Your location is not saved, so it's a bit tedious. I'd love to see a way to do this in a future update.

Connect with Friends and Find New Watering Holes

As you log more and more beers, you start to earn badges, which is fun. After logging just two beers—Pith N' Peel IPA by the Greenport Harbor Brewing Company and the Flower Child IPA by the Cambridge Brewing Company—I earned a newbie badge and a night out badge. Untappd database of beers is comprehensive and up to date.

Tap the compass icon next to the comment bubble and you can view nearby beers, brews that are trending on the app, top-rated beers, and nearby bars and breweries. Trending beers are organized by micro vs. macro and is a great way to see what's new for the season. Perhaps not surprisingly, among macro brews, Guinness was at the top of the list when I last checked. Nearby breweries can be viewed on a map or as a list, while nearby beers and bars are filtered by "popular" and "nearby."

You can find friends in a few different ways. First, you can search the app using their full name or user name, if you know it. You can also connect the app to Twitter, Facebook, and Foursquare, or invite friends via email or social media. If you connect to Twitter, you're warned that all of your earned badges will be automatically tweeted, though you can change that setting.

Untappd is very easy to use and a lot of fun. I definitely recommend downloading it if you're into craft beer. Whether you're just starting to try out IPAs, or down with sours, it'll help you keep your palate entertained with new brews.