Thursday, July 26, 2012

Finding Good Beer in your Travels

Zeno's in State College
I love going to new and different places. I love finding a neat little beer bar. Sometimes you get lucky and walk into a place that has 8 awesome taps, other times it is all BMC. For me, I have started preparing before I get to my destination to know where I might want to go. But for those times when you show up, what can you do?

1. Think Local. Is there a local brewery or brewpub? Stop in and have a drink. Chat up the staff. Most will know the local beer bars and where their beer is located. 

2. Stay away from chain restaurants. I always try to stay local when eating, and I have yet to find a chain that has a good selection of quality craft brews. The big boys pay for this spot on the taps.

3. It’s all in the Apps.
  • Untappd- If you aren’t a part of it, it is a beer social network that allows you to log your beers, where you drank them and view what others are drinking. This becomes useful when you use the “Nearby” feature. You can see what other users are drinking near you, and many times where (the bar)- showing what is on tap at the places.
  • RateBeer Places app- RateBeer is a website that allows users to rate and review beer. Its app allows for you to search for a bar/brewery/brewpub using the GPS on your phone. Very convenient, and since it is a beer ratings app they bars have a star rating.
  • BeerCloud- BeerCloud is another app that allows for user input on bars and become “fans” of the bar. I don’t think this is as good of a resource as Untappd or Ratebeer Places, but it is another that could be useful.
  • Foursquare- This is good for letting you know that people are there, but it not being a beer app, there isn’t much of a filter on whether it is a good or bad beer place.
Overall, I like to preplan for my trips, but when you are there, you never know what info you want or need. Hopefully these tips can help direct you to good beer in the future.


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Session 65- Go it alone

While I was not ready and prepared for The Session #65, I decided to go ahead and post late anyhow.

The Session was hosted by Nate over at Booze, Beats & Bites.  He mused:

How do you feel about going to the pub alone? Do you feelit’s necessary to be around friends to spend time in a pub?
If you have ever talked to me, or read a couple of my older posts from when I lived in Baltimore, you would know that I would have no problem going to the pub alone. Every Thursday, I would head down to McGoverns, but there I knew a bunch of friends lie within.

For a couple of years, I would meet a friend at Max's Taphouse every Wednesday (take the pint night). After he left the city, I continued to go. I met some others who went most weeks, and they became friends.

But mostly, I was there alone. And 90% of the time, I loved it.  It gave me 1-2 hours of peace after work. Time to drink pints of some of the best beer on earth, time to catch up on the sports that were on TV,  and also a bit of time to think about blog posts or how to review different beers.

The acquisition of an iPhone lead to a whole new function. Directly posting from the pub became fun. Looking up facts on the different beers or breweries became habit (it was before untappd became an app).

But most of all, I loved meeting new people. The simple question, "So, what's in your glass?", would lead to either a recommendation or a conversation. Both things I would accept. Social interaction and beer, hand in hand.