This is what I drank today….

I think Untappd has skewed my interest in beer.

If for some odd reason you’ve never heard of Untappd (and it would be odd for someone with enough interest in craft beer that they’re reading a beer blog to be unaware of Untappd), it’s a site that allows you to check in with whatever beer you happen to be drinking.

It also offers a tally of how many unique beers you’ve drunk, as well as rewarding you with badges for reaching certain milestones.

It wouldn’t be right to say that I’m totally obsessed with logging onto Untappd. No, wait, actually now I think about it, it probably would be right. I usually have the app open on my phone or iPad any time I’m drinking a beer and, if I’m at a beer festival, I’ll likely add all the beers I’ve drunk the following day.

The whole thing appeals to the same part of me that loved collecting footy cards as a kid – even though there’s no way of collecting ‘‘the whole set’’ of beer (or turning them around and making a puzzle out of them – anyone who collected footy cards will get that reference).

I do love the idea of ‘‘collecting’’ beers and watching my ‘‘unique beers’’ number climb. I also like getting a new badge, while at the same time being totally aware that a man in his 40s should not be excited about such things.

But Untappd has had an undeniable effect on my beer drinking. For instance, I used to be able to just sit and enjoy a beer. Now, I need to pull out my phone, log into Untappd and check in the beer that I’m drinking.

So, instead of just relaxing and enjoying my beer, I’m pissfarting around with an app, searching for the beer, entering a location, and then ‘‘checking in’’. Sometimes, by the time I’ve finished that process, the beer in my glass is half-gone and I haven’t been focusing on it at all.

And I really think you buy a beer to drink it, not to immediately tell other people that you’re drinking it.
It’s also made me, in a scary way, look forward to drinking crap beer. I’ve been at a barbecue and been served crap like Tooheys Extra Dry and heard a voice in the back of my head go ‘‘this is another unique beer check-in’’. I’ll go to a restaurant that I know only serves ordinary crap beer and a small part of me gets perversely excited because it means the chance of picking up another new beer.

Yep, I’m getting excited about drinking crappy beer. I went to Hog’s Breath for a friend’s 40th the other day and, while I chose to drink wine because of the woeful beers available, at least once in the evening I thought about ordering one of them to score both a ‘‘unique beer’’ and ‘‘unique location’’ check-in.

The other way it’s changed my drinking is that I now lean towards buying beers I’ve not had before just so I can bump up the ‘‘unique beer’’ count.

I’ve definitely gone into a pub, looked at the beer list and zeroed in on the two or three beers I know I haven’t checked-in with. Doesn’t matter if there was also a stupendous beer I’ve had before and utterly loved on the list, I’ll go for one of the new ones to get the beer tally ticking over.

I’ve heard other people speak on this too, so I know I’m not alone. I’ve heard them admit disappointment when they go to a pub and find out that they’ve already checked-in every beer on the list.

It’s the same thing at home. I’ll have six different beers in the fridge and it’s a safe bet the one I choose first is the one I’ve not had before.

There is a chance that Untappd works as a sort of pub substitute when I’m having a beer at home. That it’s a way of ‘‘sharing’’ a beer with others in different places. I do know that, if I was drinking with a friend, there’s no way I’d ignore them while I tinkered around with Untappd (though I do confess doing that to my wife once or twice. But she’s been known to stop talking to me to text a friends, so we’re even on that score).

Maybe I should drink the beer first, enjoy it and pay attention to it. Then, when there’s nothing left in the glass, check that sucker in. I do know I’m not brave enough to go cold turkey and remove the Untappd app from my phone. Not when I getting close to the 250 mark.

3 replies »

  1. I know the feeling! I have fallen into the same damn trap.

    It’s even worse when you geek out on BrewFeed ( and download all your untappd data into a csv file and then Excel spreadsheet the shit out of them! Good geeky fun.

    However, I don’t believe in retrospective check ins. I know social media is completely anti-social…because it distracts you from the physical social interaction happening in front of you…but…the point of social media is that it is live interaction. Social media is supposed to play-out in real time. As typified by twitter, it’s just a perpetual feed where you share what is happening to you here & now.

    Ok, catching up a few hours either side of it happening, yeah, no problem with that. I’m not a fan of people checking in beers they’ve had in the past though. It skews your data, because it removes the ability to look back at your metrics and limit them to time and place.

    Anyway, that’s a whole different discussion.

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