In a recent editorial in Beer Advocate magazine, the Alstrom brothers lament the “gamification” of beer. Apps like Untappd and the proliferation of rating sites have beer lover’s noses firmly implanted in their smart phones. I know. I’m one of them. It’s fun and there’s great marketing potential for savvy brands. But, when you go out to your favorite craft beer pub with that carefully curated draft list and have a seat at the bar, do yourself a favor:
Leave that stuff at home.
Connecting to beer geeks the world over through social media is a marvel of modern technology and a wonderful thing. However, a bar or taproom is also a social event. Why not connect with the dude or dudette sitting next to you?
Let me tell you a little story of olden days. About 2006 to be exact. My buddy John is a fellow beer geek and whenever we travel together our mission is to seek out a world-class pint. Or two. On this trip we found ourselves in Chicago on a Friday. It was mid afternoon and we took the train to that neighborhood bar with a ridiculous draft list known as The Map Room.
As we discussed options for beer number one, the guy next to me chimed in with some thoughts. The bartender added his two cents. It became a group decision. The conversation continued but drifted from beer. By the time we had to decide on beer number two, a couple had come in and sat next to John. They now became part of the Board of Directors of beer decisions. As the crowd grew, so did the Board. Sports, politics and where to get the best Italian Beef all became topics of discussion, but always came back to beer when someone’s glass emptied.
We stayed too long. Way too long. At one point, John was talking to people at one end of the bar and I at the other. I do believe we met every soul in the place that day. When we finally decided it was time to skedaddle, it was like leaving an Italian wedding reception. All of the handshakes, high fives, backslaps and waved farewells took at least 45 minutes. A decade later, we still talk about the amazing afternoon (ok, early evening too) we spent at The Map Room.
If we’d had a smart phone to consult for our first beer and not the guy next to us, it might never have happened.
So, if you want to have a beer with your phone, stay home. There’s a reason we go out for a beer. I’ll save you a seat. It’ll be fun, I swear.
Peter Culos is the editor of “Beer Bites,” Jersey Bites’ coverage of breweries, bars and good beer in the Garden State. A graphic designer by day, and a lifelong New Jersey resident, Peter was first introduced to the novel idea that beer could actually have flavor during several visits to the UK. He’s been riding the craft beer bus ever since. It has been called the ultimate social lubricant and Peter’s philosophy on beer is, “I’d rather split my last good beer with a friend than drink the whole thing by myself.” Besides beer, he also likes history, dogs, Jeeps and painting. Life is short. Drink good beer.
The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of Ora Media, LLC, its affiliates, or its employees.