Drinking alone has never been so much fun.
After our recent report on the brew-sniffing augmented reality app from Stella, we started drinking thinking about the wider world of suds. Turns out there's a keg's worth of new beer-themed iPhone apps that have recently bubbled to the surface of the iTunes store. In the brave new AR world, you'll always be able to find craft beers and a cozy watering hole wherever you go. Unlike last year's hokey iBeer app, the following actually have practical applications.
Punch in your location and you'll get directions to the nearest bars, brew pubs, and even stores that sell home-brewing equipment. With America's ever-expanding beer culture--there are 1,500 craft brewers in the nation--this app will help you turn a Sunday afternoon bar crawl into an epicurean experience. Price: $.99.
It's like having in your pocket a beer sommelier who will explain and define 140 different styles of beer, a handy tool for those who can't tell an Imperial Stout from an IPA. The app will also offer suggestions on matching your brew with food, a hot trend at high-end eateries at the moment. Free.
It does all of the above, plus it suggests the proper glassware for your beer--you weren't thinking of drinking that Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout out of a common pint glass, were you?--and your brew's ABV% level. Price: $.99.
This one also takes the food-pairing approach, though their database of beer/food combos is quite impressive, with suggestions for everything from anchovies (pale lagers and pilsners) to smoked salmon (smoked beers, pilsners, stouts, and porters); each beer style is linked to a specific brand of brew and includes a calorie count. Price: $.99.
As most home brewers know, making beer is more about chemistry than anything else. With Brew Pal or BeerAlchemy Touch you can formulate just how much hops you want to achieve a certain ABV% level or perfect temperature to make your mash. Brew Pal is a bit clunky but covers all the bases. Price: $.99. BeerAlchemy Touch is much slicker, but hardly slick enough to justify the $14.99 pricetag. That's like, a case of Miller of High Life!
Of course, these apps should all be enjoyed responsibly. If you'd make too much use out of them try the r u drunk app from Mobilityware. Just answer a few questions and you'll know soon enough if your okay to drive home or if you need to call a taxi. In which case, just use your iPhone to do what it was originally intended to do--make a phone call.