Craft beer has gone from flourishing to spoiling its acolytes for choice. The go-to place to navigate this sudsy world is our phones — but a quick search for “beer” will reveal an endless rabbit hole of apps, many of which are geared toward binge drinking games or just poor attempts to cash in on the craft beer boom. But look deeper and you’ll realize there are insightful apps to be found. The best craft beer apps are informative and easy to navigate even after you’ve downed a few Imperial IPAs. Though they overlap in their uses, these are the best apps for honing in on one aspect of craft beef. Whether you’re seeking out a brewery, learning what makes a good craft beer (officially) or concocting your own home brew, here are the best pocket-based helpers.
Best Beer Journal App: One of the most popular craft beer apps, Untappd picks out nearby establishments that serve craft beer, allows users to rate and take photos of different beers and gives away badges for the more craft beers you try. Yes, it’ll recommend different beers, allow you to “compete” with friends, and has strong ties to Twitter, Facebook and Foursquare — but this app is magic for two main reasons. First, it’s the best example of a “beer journal” app, keeping a backlog of any beer you’ve previously tried and how you rated it. Secondly, the app is constantly updated and runs like a race car. iOS | Android
Best Beer Education App: Not everyone can commit the time and effort required to complete the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP), which officially certifies one to judge craft beer. Which is why the BJCP Styles app exists. Simply type in a beer and the app will draw from its extensive archive to tell you its history, ingredients used, expected aroma, appearance, flavor and more based on the BJCP’s actual guidelines. It’s a great app for those looking to rate beer consistently or who are just in search of a little beer enlightenment. iOS
Best App for Brewery Hunters: With a living archive of over 4,000 breweries throughout the world, myBeerNation outclasses any other brewery hunting app. Simply type in a specific beer, city or state and myBeerNation guides you with vital brewery information (address, website, phone number, touring options, whether it serves food, etc.) and a history of which breweries you’ve already been to. So if you’re trying to hit a number of breweries on a road trip, or simply live in a brewery-rich city, this app is worth the $5. iOS
Best Home Brewing App: Brewing your own beer is a science — not to mention a substantial time commitment. For those willing to dedicate themselves, this is the app to have. It comes with 50 pre-installed recipes (although many more can be purchased within the app) and also lets you create your own. Depending on what you create, it’ll give you estimations about original and final gravities, alcohol content, IBUs, color, calories and more before you start. And once you’re on your way, iBrewMaster guides you through the entire process, from buying ingredients to fermenting, bottling and aging. iOS | Android
Best App for Discovering New Bottles: Taps are the holy grail for drinkers, but by the very nature of the business, beer hunters need to rely on bottles and cans to find the rarest prizes. The Beer Buddy app is great for anybody who constantly hunts around the liquor store for new beers to try. It’s got the best barcode scanner of any app around, which allows users to go up to any beer and find out its history, what the brewery is about, what people think of it and much more. The app has a large database, is easy to use and has extremely positive reviews. iOS
Best Tap List Finder: BeerMenus is really the only app that provides up-to-date tap lists, so beer hunters know what’s on tap before they go. The app also lets users follow specific beers and businesses. When a beer becomes available, or when the “On Tap” menu changes, the app will notify you. It also shows what other bottles or growlers are available. Clean and easy to use, it’s a unique app for city dwellers who have to decide between copious bar options. iOS | website