Sunday, August 2, 2015

There's Even an App for THAT? Beer Apps Part 2

Welcome to the App Age!
I grew up in the "Space Age". During my youth, in the 1960's, the ultimate in high technological achievement was represented by the Apollo moon missions. They put a freakin' man on the moon! Well, some people believe Stanley Kubrick helped the government fake the whole thing, but I'm a believer. They REALLY put a freakin' man on the moon!

That incredible achievement was accomplished with the aid of some newfangled gadgets called "computers". The Apollo Guidance Computer (AGC) weighed over 70 pounds, had a processor speed of 1MHz and about 4kb of memory. Compare that to your typical smartphone, the kind that almost everyone carries around in their pocket or purse nowadays, and you'll soon realize that you personally own and regularly access thousands of times the computing power it put a freakin' man on the moon!

My Samsung Galaxy S4 weighs less than 5 ounces, has a processor speed of 1.6 GHz and 16 GB of internal memory--and it's an old, soon-to-be obsolete model. It's a thing called Moore's Law. George E. Moore was a brainy computer dude and the co-founder of Intel. In 1965, he postulated that computing power would basically double every year. There have been various add-ons, changes and challenges to the theory over the years, but the basic premise that computers have been and will continue to become exponentially more powerful, smaller, cheaper and easier to access holds true to this day.

The tasks your average Joe or Jill can accomplish with their pocket-sized computer power is truly amazing. When was the last time you had to do any long division in your head or on a scratchpad? ("What's a scratchpad?" says all the Millennials in the room.) We have the world literally at our fingertips and  have almost instant access to any kind of information our hearts desire. Of course, my heart usually desires beer, so I'm focusing this post on beer-related smartphone applications. 

This is part 2 of what may turn out to be a series, depending on my blogging whims. Part 1 focused on applications dedicated to tracking beer consumption and rating the numerous conquests of the beer enthusiast. This post takes a look at some other kinds of apps that beer drinkers (and brewers) may find handy.

PairWise makes beer and food pairing easy for gastro-beerologists.
Some people actually care about what kind of craft beer they drink with the food they eat. They have distinguished, discerning palates and want to elevate their gastronomic experiences by making sure the beer actually compliments the food! That's a new thing for me. When I was growing up, beer WAS NOT allowed at the table and rarely in the house. Typically, my dad and uncles had to either drink beer in the garage or on "hunting trips". But of course, my dad's beer was not the refined, elevated craft beer of today. Truly excellent beer deserves respect and is now welcome at any dinner table, just like fine wine.

Enter PairWise. This handy application makes it easy for beer and food enthusiasts to find foods that pair well with a variety of different beers, based on expert recommendations and user ratings. You can search by specific beer or specific food. Once a pairing is made, you can rate the experience, make a few notes, and save your result for future reference. I've been trying this application out and I think it could be quite useful for the foodie/beer lover. Me, I'll eat and drink just about anything and would give almost any meal that includes ANY beer a five star rating. However, if you're a bit more picky than your's truly, you may want to give PairWise a try. Download at the Google Play Store HERE.

Wortcho brewin', Willis? 
I'm a homebrewer. Thank you, Jimmy Carter and Charlie Papazian! I'm not a very good homebrewer, I'm sorry to say. My brews are drinkable and sometimes, just by accident, dang delicious! I've been keeping all of my recipes and notes in a plain manila folder, like something out of the old Mission Impossible TV series. I even scrawled "Top Secret" across the front of the thing to discourage spies and prying eyes.

Truthfully, I'm terrible about keeping good brewing notes and it finally occurred to me one day...I BET THERE'S AN APP FOR THAT! And, of course, there is--several in fact. The one I really like is Wort Homebrew Calculator. This handy homebrew application helps you through your whole brewing process, from recipe creation to OG and ABV calculation to bottle priming. You can create and store recipes and utilize a wide array of useful calculators that are included in the app. Wort Homebrew Calculator is available for Android at the Google Play Store HERE.

You now have LESS THAN zero excuses for drinking and driving.
I don't know what more I can say about drinking and driving. JUST DON'T EVER DO IT! NEVER! Driving while under the influence of any drug--yes, alcohol is a drug--is the height of irresponsibility. At best, you can get arrested, tossed in jail, lose your job, friends and family. At worst, you can kill some innocent person and/or yourself with your 4,000 pound death machine. Beer is lovely, wonderful, delicious and fun. Please don't ruin it by getting behind the wheel when you've been drinking.

"But how can I get home from Curly's Bar after a long night of slamming multiple high ABV brewskis, Wolf?" you ask. Welcome to Lyft. Lyft is basically a taxi service. It's similar to Uber. I've tried both and I like Lyft the most. The application is super easy to use. You request a car to pick you up and the app knows exactly where you are by using your phone's GPS. The app tells you exactly how long it will take your driver to pick you up, providing his/her name and a photo of the car. All payment is done through the app, and you can use PayPal, which is my preferred method.

Easy-freakin'-breezy. Bam! You're home safe and sound! From my experience, the pick-up usually arrives in less than five minutes. The fare is cheaper than a taxi and every driver I've encountered has been friendly and professional. Download the Lyft app for Android at the Google Play Store HERE.

There's always the bus...
Last one. We have excellent public transportation in Stumptown, no matter how much we like to complain about it. I usually get to my favorite breweries, bars and taprooms by bus--sometimes by MAX train. It's called "pre-planning" and that's what I always do when I'm going out drinkin'. You should, too. No more preaching from me, but I'm doing my best to make beer enjoyment safe for all of you good folks over the legal drinking age of 21. A couple of years ago, I did an entire series of posts outlining the beer drinking spots located off most of the popular bus routes. Check that out HERE. Some of this info may need a little updating, but it's still fairly accurate.

Get the TriMet Tickets application for your phone and you can always have access to tickets, as long as there's money in your bank account. Get the app HERE.

Cheers! Now, go forth and compute!


  1. AMEN brother. No room for careless driving,

    1. Yup, if I can avoid drinking and driving anybody can!