We’re all used to incoherently blathering gibberish when we’ve had four or five pints down our gullets, but the idea of looking like a fool in front of some snooty foreign bartender before we’ve ordered our first drink is an off-putting prospect for almost any international traveler. Consequently, while a love of good beer is a worldwide constant, many find it a stressful idea to even attempt getting blotto abroad.
Yet despite the fact that smartphones have been smoothing the avenues of communication for years now, there was a surprising void of apps dedicated to the simple task of easily ordering a beer in another country. It’s a shame, because experiencing the entire spectrum of what humanity can do with hops and grain is one of the many true joys of travel. But the App Store abhors a vacuum, and so we now have Pivo, a smartly designed app meant for the traveler who only wants to speak one language well: the universal language of beer.
Pivo (which is the Czech word for… you guessed it) is intended to be simple enough for any pickled souse to use. Upon loading up the app, it invites you to swipe to select one of 59 different languages. Each language has its own unique icon, so even if your beer goggles are too frosted up to read properly, you can just look for, say, the Eiffel Tower, a Shamrock, or a Czech sausage to guide you. Once you’ve selected your language, a simple swipe down will reveal the local translation for “I would like to order a beer,” along with a phonetic translation. Finally, just rotate your iPhone to the side and, if available, a video will play of a friendly native barfly coaching you through the process of local beer ordering. In the Czech video, a cute blonde will even invite you out to buy her a beer. (Don’t everyone crowd her at once.)
It’s a fun app, the brainchild of two ordinary 30-year-old Brits, Justin Amey and Ollie Hepworth, who were frustrated one day when they couldn’t figure out how to order a beer when they wanted one abroad. “The idea was sown on a trip to Prague earlier this year, when we realized that neither of us knew how to order a beer in Czech,” Amey tells me. “A search for a suitable app to aid us proved fruitless, and so the idea for Pivo was born.” The pair then approached the WalkerAgency to make the app a reality.
The genius of Pivo is that it’s exactly like the beer it wants to help you to order. It’s a cheap single-serving app that goes down smooth, lubricates you socially, and helps gives you a false sense of confidence in your own foreign language skills. Even better, it’s cheaper than ordering a beer in almost any country: You can download it from the iTunes App Store for just $0.99.