How Social Should Craft Beer Be?

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I’m sure many of you already know of and use the app Untappd, but for those who either aren’t aware of it, aren’t using it, or both, high-five/hats off/curtsy to you. However, I’m a fair and honest person. First I’ll talk about its pros…

According the official website, “Untappd is a mobile social check-in and discovery network specifically for beer enthusiasts. We provide breweries with a unique platform and suite of tools to connect directly with and analyze those who matter most, the consumers.”1

Breweries, distributors, bars, and others in the beer market chain can use the app to advertise, engage with their drinkers, and analyze performance trends. As a copywriter who has worked in advertising and for many agencies who have beer clients, I can definitely see how advantageous these features can be.

But for once, I’d like to remove my marketer lenses and think about this app as your average consumer; like a real person. says, (and my former Beer & Wine Tasting Professor at Syracuse University would agree,) “When analyzing a beer, you can’t just swill it down, burp, and say ‘it’s great’ or ‘it’s crap.’”2 There are steps to be followed to get the most out of your beer. I’ve summed them up below:

  1. Look: Pause and marvel at its greatness.
  2. Agitate: Swirl you glass to pull out aromas and slight nuances as well as loosen and stimulate carbonation.
  3. Smell: 90-95% of what you experience is through this special sense, so you’ll want to breathe in through your nose, then with your mouth open, followed by your mouth only.
  4. Taste: Sip, but don’t swallow right away. Let the beer move throughout your entire mouth and over every taste bud. Absorb the mouthfeel and consistency. Exhale to release stimulations and detect any sweetness, salty flavors, acids, and general bitterness.

And now for my favorite personal addition of a fifth step:

  1. Share: By “share,” I mean face-to-face sharing of your tasting with the great people you’re having this amazing experience with. Rather than rudely hopping on your phone to check-in to your beer, rate your beer, describe your beer, take a picture of your beer, or potentially earn some random badge for drinking your beer, remember to simply exchange your comments right there. In-person. With whomever you’re drinking with and…ENJOY IT. Enjoy the moment.

This is a blog post and just my opinion, but I believe that brewers have worked hard to make their perfect little masterpieces and deserve the respect of your full attention. Their enormous amount of time and labor went toward making a great beer to be shared with great friends via live human interaction.

Even more telling, there have been numerous studies on the psychosocial benefits of moderate alcohol consumption amongst peers, including enhanced moods in natural and experimental settings, leisure enhancement, reduced stress, and increased sociability and social cohesion. 3 Seriously, why would you want to do anything that could take away from these benefits?!

So next time you decide to step away from the real world for the several minutes it takes to check-in, think about the people around you, the brewers, and the benefits you’re checking out of. You’re really only hurting your own experience.