Frequenting bottleshops is the great American pastime for beer nerds like us. We could spend hours inspecting shelves for new arrivals and hidden gems. I know I did. Before smartphones, if I didn’t commit a list of potential acquisitions to memory; or, better yet, back it up with a physical print out of available beers I had yet to try, beer selection was often an educated guess prior to purchasing. Other times, it was a leap of faith. In extreme cases of trepidation, I’d leave the bottle on the shelf, research it on RateBeer back home, and, if it faired favorably on the site, hope like hell the aforementioned bottle would still be on the shelf upon my return to the store.
As mobile technology improved, my undivided attention went in the opposite direction. Over the years, I’d increasingly be accompanied by my two little helpers on bottleshop visits. The time it took to do a browser-based search on a smartphone was a luxury afforded to only a relative few beers.
BeerBuddy saved my life. (How’s that for drama?!)
Functionality. The barcode scanner feature is a godsend. It’s accessible from the toolbar dock on every screen. It takes 10 seconds or less to bring up a beer’s trusted information on RateBeer. Compare that to the 60+ seconds it would take to navigate to a beer and you’re living the dream. What’s more, in using the iPhone app for the past three months, the barcode scanner performed as expected all but once. And that’s only because a beer wasn’t associated with that barcode yet. I was able to link it up so other users will be able to live the dream uninterrupted. You can even access a log of your past scans. Score.
Another feature I like is the ease of referencing beers I’ve rated. For example, in doing a keyed in search for “expedition,” the results display which beers I’ve rated. It saves me a click (screenshot 1). The RateBeer integration allows me to pull up the beers I’ve rated, which can then be sorted by date, name, style or rating (as pictured in screenshot 2). You can also search by beer name; for example, beers that have “bourbon” in their name (screenshot 3). The places search is awesome too, especially when out of town (screenshot 4). You’ll also find real-time information featured in the Forums view (screenshot 5), which has been especially helpful in staying informed as the 2012 Great Taste of the Midwest approaches.
You can view your profile, stats and ratings via the RateBeer integration as well (screenshot 6).
Wish List. The only function I find myself wanting is the ability for my ticks to be reflected in both the search and scan results of a beer, for example, Goose Island Juliet (screenshot 7) and within the beer’s landing page as well. In a perfect world, there’d be integration with Untappd as a means to populate ticks based on the 5 star rating system.
Price. I paid $2.99 for the app. As I write this post, it’s $3.99 in the App Store. It’s a steal. Your productivity savings alone will offset the costs. I use the app primarily for beer research. If it were a universal app with an iPad version, it would be indispensable in rating beers.
Bottom line. Get it.