Thoughts on Tap

Are you drinking socially or selfishly?

Untappd’s tagline is “drink socially.” In reality, users of the app really fall onto a spectrum – social on one end of the spectrum and selfish on the other.

Untappd’s tagline is “drink socially.” In reality, users of the app really fall onto a spectrum – social on one end of the spectrum and selfish on the other.

It’s easy to be socially engaged with other drinkers, whether interacting with them on the app or through connected social media accounts.

However, I admittedly fall heavily on the selfish end – hardly checking in to any brews without the motive of self gratification.

Tapping into today’s app-drinking culture

Like many applications that consumers use throughout the year, Untappd allowed its users to check out a custom report about their previous Year in Beer. Many users, including myself, shared these stats with the world through various social media channels.

The interesting look back on previous year opened my eyes to how much I’m missing out on by only checking in beers the first time I try them. More importantly, I realized I’m not just following this practice on Untappd.

Always looking ahead to the next one

When I go out to a bar or restaurant, more often than not I make the conscious decision not to drink the same beer twice. This means I need to find a beer on the menu I’ve never had before and then, even if I liked the first beer, I need to find another one that’s new to me (and my Untappd profile). I rarely find myself ordering a second round of a beer, even if I LOVED what was just in my glass.

I don’t think I’m alone with this sort of compulsion to keep trying the next beer in an endless lineup of offerings. I do think this is a difficult way to appreciate the craft behind the beer.

Many of the beers I’ve “chased” have just been variants of the same base beer. Sure, new hops have been added, it’s been double dry hopped, it sat in a barrel for a couple of month, etc. But at the end of the day, there wasn’t much different about Version A and Version B except for the label and the check-in. (Whoops, can’t forget the manufactured hype).

Stop and smell the roses hops

If you’re actually using the app to take notes that you can reference in the future, go right ahead. More power to you! But I can’t recall more than a handful of times I’ve looked back to see what I thought about a particular beer. For one, like I’ve already mentioned, I often go out of my way to not drink the same beer twice. Second, I hardly leave any notes to what I checked in. The closest I get to truly analyzing the beer is giving it what often feels like an arbitrary rating between 0-5.

This year I’ve resolved to start appreciating beer more. I want to think a little more critically about what’s in my glass. I’ll continue to drink new beers but I’ll also get over the mental block of drinking a few rounds of the same brew. There are reasons certain stalwart beers have set themselves apart from the hundreds of thousands of craft beers available today. It’s important to understand those reasons.


2 replies on “Are you drinking socially or selfishly?”

I found that my own year in beer was surprisingly inaccurate — mainly because of how and when I use the app and, more importantly, when I either forget it just don’t bother.

I have no intention of changing my behaviour either. At the end of the day it’s just an app and I’m quite happy to accept that the way in which I use it means that the end of year overview will always be skewed.

It’s the beers that matter, not the app.


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