There are more craft beer options than ever before and I don’t see that changing any time soon. So it can be a confusing world without a way to navigate. While I provide a lot of information on my site as well as fun talking points, I wanted to give you some tactical resources as well. So I’ve created a list of the top tools for craft beer fans.
I’ve included tools for learning about craft beer as well as finding and enjoying it.
Did I miss a tool that you use? Let me know in the comments or send me a message – I’d love to hear from you.
Tools For Craft Beer Fans
Understanding Craft Beer
Beer has a rich, deep history and continues to evolve as techniques and customer preferences change. It can be nearly impossible to know and understand everything. It can even be a challenge to understand what is or isn’t craft beer as well as decipher each style.
Here are some options for learning more about craft beer.
Who Owns Who
To help understand which breweries have remained independent, check out my list.
You’ll be able to see who has sold out, taken on investors, merged, etc.
Know Craft Beer Styles
There are two really great sources for this; both are really good but the BJCP is more focused on beer judging:
In addition, you should check out the articles I’ve written about different beer styles. I haven’t covered them all . . . yet; but I’ve covered many of the most popular ones.
Understanding the different styles of craft beer will help you better prepare yourself for drinking it.
Choosing Which Craft Beer To Drink
The age old question, what to drink?
There are more options than you could possibly ever drink – and no, that’s not a challenge.
So how do you go about making up your mind? A great way is to see what other people think.
This is one of the better options for researching beer prior to going out to buy it. Here’s where they list the top beers ranked on their site.
Most of this list won’t be easy to get; I’ve only had 12 of the top 50 myself. But if you look to the right, you see options to break down the top beers by state, region, and style.
Again, these might not be the easiest to find but it’s a great resource for understanding what makes a great beer.
Furthermore, you can look up individual beers by name and review ratings, comments, etc.
If you want quick access to beer ratings while on the go, there isn’t a better option than Untappd. It’s a social site for tracking, rating and researching craft beer.
The app allows you to see what other people think of a beer as they rate and comment.
I really enjoy the ability to check-in and track the beers I drink. This helps me know which beers I want or don’t want to try again.
Over the years, Untappd has improved their app and added the ability for venues to include their beer list; more on that next.
Learn More: The Problem With Craft Beer Reviews And Ratings
Where To Find Craft Beer
While most people drink what is available, there are times that you will want to specifically seek out a specific beer or know what is available at a venue before arriving. Luckily, there are some tools that can assist.
Ever wonder if a brewery distributes their beer to your area? Or wondered what beer is available in a specific state?
Seekabrew is a great resource to check out where a specific brand of beer is available.
I’ve found this very helpful for picking which beers I want to look for when traveling. You can also compare distribution between two states.
Basically, Beer Menus is a tool for restaurants, bars and bottle shops to upload their menu so you can view it. It allows for draft, bottle and can options to be shown.
You can also elect to receive notifications so you’re always up to date with what your favorite places add something new.
As I mentioned earlier, Untappd has added the ability for venues to provide their beers lists on their app.
This means that you can see what is available before getting there as well as find out which venues have a specific beer. Both are very powerful ways to ensure you can get the craft beer that you want.
One of my favorite features is the ability for venues to have multiple tap lists on the app. This means they can provide lists for special events as well as their normal taps.
Learning More About Craft Beer
Want to learn more ? Well, you can always keep reading my articles – subscribe to my newsletter.
But there’s also a lot of other great resources too; here’s some ways to learn more.
Become certifiably obsessed with craft beer by achieving a Cicerone Certification.
There are 4 levels of this program. It starts with the Certified Beer Server and goes up from there. I’ve heard the first level isn’t too hard but it gets quite complicated from there.
Becoming certified is especially worthwhile if you are employed in the craft beer industry.
Every consider judging a beer competition? Then you want to check out the BJCP.
This process gives you the knowledge and tools to be able to accurately judge craft beer. This program focuses on understanding beer styles and the tasting process.
And once certified, you can be an official judge at beer competitions.
I’m a huge fan of podcasts and even wrote about a few that I listen to on a regular basis. I’ve even updated it to include a few new ones. Check out the updated article here.
Many are specific to a city, state or region which means there is probably one about your specific area. If not, you should start one.
Make sure to comment below and let me know which podcasts you listen to so I can check them out.
Local Classes / Tastings
Don’t look past the programs that your local breweries offer. Many offer beer tastings that help you expand your knowledge of what beer styles should taste like.
This includes beer dinners because learning how to pair beer with food is a worthwhile skill.
And if you like to taste bad beer . . . look for an “off flavors” class. In Cincinnati, MadTree Brewing offers these on a regular basis. They teach what causes beer to taste bad and how to recognize it.
My goal is to provide you with information and resources to keep you up to date and drinking the best craft beer.
These tools for craft beer fans are examples of how you can ensure you are knowledgeable about the beer we love so much.
Let me know your thoughts on these tools and how you use them.