Just in time for Oktoberfest, the Untappd iPhone app is here. Untappd is a social web service (now with an iPhone app) that helps you discover beers via a group of online members. Once you sign up for an account you’ll find the main Untappd app with 5 tabs: Friends, The Pub, Drink Up, My Tab, and Notices.
The pub is where you’ll find a feed of all the posts by Untappd users. It’s sort similar to the public Twitter stream, but only for beers. Each post includes the name of the brew, the micro or macro brewery who makes the beer, and the user who is enjoying it.
The best part of the app is the Drink Up tab where you can view a list of Trending beers. There are 3 ways to view the trends: Micro brews, Macro Brews, or Local brews. These lists are pretty useful for knowing what new beers are popular and can be a good way to explore. There’s also a search function here for looking up a beer by name. Just for fun, I searched for the keyword “Chocolate” and found 25 beers including Young’s Double Chocolate Stout, Terrapin Moo-Hoo Chocolate Milk Stout, and the Foothills Sexual Chocolate to name a few.
Once you go to a beer’s page you’ll see a few options. You can see its star rating, style, alcohol percentage, a list of Untappd users who’s checked in and are drinking it, read beer details, and find similar beers. From the beer page you can also check-in (meaning drink) the beer and share it on your profile. Or to bookmark it, you can add the beer to your wish list. Some beers have an icon with is the logo of the beer which is great, though not all beers have an image yet. There’s also a GPS icon on the beer page that tried to locate bars around you where you can order the beer.
Speaking of bars, the app also has a page for each venue, with a link to a Google Map (the address is not shown for some reason), recent Foursquare tips, the top beers there, and latest check-ins. You can’t save bars to wish lists however.
The My Tab area is where you’ll see your recent activity like check-ins, wish list, and settings for making your account private, and changing account password. If you start following other Untappd users, you can go to the Friends tab and see their updates. The Notices area is where you’ll find friend requests, notices and new from the Untappd team.
While Untappd is an amazing resource for beer lovers, the iPhone app suffers from non-native user experience. Navigation and tapping on links is not smooth and pages also take a long time to load content via the web.
Another feature that I wish this app had was to give you an advanced customizable search feature where you can specify type of beers, ABV, region and other filters. It would also be nice to be able to follow specific pubs, and breweries to get notified when they release new beers or start carrying new stock.
Overall, Untappd is a one of a kind iPhone app for beer lovers. Beside the speed issues, it is pretty much a must have if you’re a serious micro-brew fan. Let’s hope the developer finds a way to speed up the app’s performance.
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