Windows Phone beer drinkers, feel free to crack one open for this review. We are going to dive into the world of beer. Smaller breweries have been popping up all over the states for the last decade or so, and increasingly brining new flavors and ways to brew beer. Throw in the centuries old breweries from Germany, Austria and the rest of the world, and the beer market can be a mind blowing place. Now maybe it’s because of my German heritage, or just the fact they taste so darn good, but I want to try as many beers as possible. With a simple app on your phone to guide you, it’s becoming easier than ever.
As an Android user, I used the app Beer Cloud, and had a great time with it. It was run be Great Brewers and offered a vast array of beer’s, a somelier, as well as personal notes and favorites. Since switching to WP7, this is one of the apps I really want ported over (I put in a request to see if they are in the process of developing for Windows Phone). Of course I had to find an alternative though, and Beer Reference has done a decent job.
When you load the app, you are greeted with a wallpaper that looks like the inside of a bubbling beer. They stay consistent with the Metro UI theme, and let you swipe left and right to cycle through beers, breweries, styles and favorites. It’s performed very quick in the last couple of weeks I have been using it. I have not seen any glitches and stuttering throughout. The only thing I have to note performance wise is the load time when waking up. It’s not terrible, but doesn’t load as fast as other apps. Of course, this is an area Microsoft has said it’s improving in the NoDo update due in the coming weeks.
The entire purpose of the app is to be a reference for beers, look at the name. This does a pretty solid job. They have a majority of the worlds beers, and there aren’t many I haven’t been able to find. Heck, they even have information on Sam Adams Utopias brew that only comes out once every 3 years or so (I recommend it if you can get your hands on it). When cycling through beers, you select one or search for one in the search box (only have a search box in beer section, not breweries which is silly). They give you information on who brewed it, alcohol by volume, style, country and a full beer description. This is available on the majority of beers/breweries, but not all. If you end up at the bar and enjoying your new beer, you can add it to your favorites from here as well.
When you scroll over to the breweries and styles page, you won’t find a search box. This is a pretty serious omission considering the thousands of breweries and styles to choose from. Scrolling through the A’s is tedious, let alone getting down to Paulaner breweries or even Dogfish Head. Needless to say, the Favorites section is your saving grace. You can search from anything in the beer section to find, and add it to your faves. From here, you can buy beers with confidence, and even recommend to your friends with a full flavor description and even some tidbits about the brewing process.
Beer Reference is a version 1.1 app. It’s new to the field, and brings a lot to the table. Having a brewers description of the product is key in determining some beers, considering the selection available. They need to include the option of adding your own notes to beers you have tried, or one’s friends recommend. A brewers description is fantastic, but sometimes you can interpret better using your own words. Another excellent inclusion would be to bring up local bars and locales to buy beer around you. It’s always nice knowing there is a Total Wine around the corner in a new city.
This is one of the best beer apps in the Windows Phone Marketplace. It has an excellent selection of beers to choose from, is very stable and smooth, and will benefit from a couple of updates. If Beer Cloud brings their app to the Marketplace, I may have to keep both. B.R has been a solid wingman for me when I’m out, and I can recommend it. It isn’t the best beer app across all of the platforms, but it is one of the best for Windows, and in this early stage of app development it’s a solid performer. You can find it in the Marketplace for FREE.