As the craft beer community continues to grow, I seem to run into a lot of same questions. Instead of trying to be the all knowing or looking things up and pretending to have the answers in my head, I tend to point people to some really great resources. From keeping track of what you’ve drank, to reading reviews, to news, events, articles and basic knowledge… the internet has some real gems. Below are some of my absolute favorites:
Untappd is a social beer drinkers’ site/mobile app. It allows you to check-in and keep track of what you drank and where you were when you drank it. Like other social media platforms, you can follow what others are drinking, “Toast” and comment on their drinks of choice. A real fun spin for some of us are the “badges” that are awarded for milestones and special occasions.
A new messageboard BeerTrading.org started by Gene, a good friend of mine, has been created to talk beer and trade beer of course. In it’s early stages it is already gaining a lot of steam with a good community of Craft Beer Enthusiasts.
Beer Advocate is a site that enables users to post reviews and keep track of Hads, Gots and Wants. The Gots and Wants section in conjunction with the message board of community forums is the place to go if you are looking to do some beer trading. I always use BA reviews as a reference to find out more about beers (styles and overall ratings) when I’m not familiar with them. They also have a monthly magazine subscription and great Beer Events throughout the year.
If BA is not your cup of tea, try their biggest competitor Rate Beer. You can find BA and RB shelf talkers and ratings at many bottle shops nationwide.
For up-to-date news on all things beer, Beer Pulse is my go-to site. Always on top of new releases and anything else news worthy in the beer world.
My two favorite CraftBeer-Centric sites with some of the best written articles are CraftBeer.com and All About Beer Magazine. Both sites are full of insightful pieces and more from some of the Craft Beer Industry’s best writers.
Also, it seems these days that some of the most useful sites are the ones focused on the local scene. For me it’s New Jersey Craft Beer that’s run by friend Mike Kivowitz (plus a great crew with him) that I was happy to help with in it’s early stages. For NY info I always check out Chris O’Leary’s Brew York site and in PA there’s Philly Tap Finder and Drink Philly. Keep an eye out for something in your area, I’m sure there is a site to help.
This next site is what I always use when travelling or trading out of state. It seems to be one of the lesser known (unless you’re a BA or RB trader) sites that people really appreciate when they first find it. Seek A Brew allows you to compare distribution between two different states. A column for each state and a third column for shared distribution.
I also want to plug my friend John Kleinchester’s Beertography site. Cool contests and awesome beer pictures.
Cicerone has become the most known and accepted accreditation of beer knowledge. From being a knowledgeable Beer Server, to a Certified Cicerone and finally the highly touted Master Cicerone… Cicerone is to beer what Sommelier is to wine.
Beer Judge Certification Program or BJCP is the world renowned standard for judging beer. If you are curious as to what goes into categorizing beer styles or want to become a Beer Judge, this site is where you start.
For those of you who cellar beers and don’t want to deal with GoogleDocs or a general MS Excel spreadsheet, CellarHQ is great way to keep track of your beers and share your cellar with others.
Finally, one of the greatest resources these days for almost anything is Twitter and Facebook. Both social media sites are rich with enthusiasts full of knowledge in the Craft Beer Community. Don’t forget to follow your favorite breweries’ Twitter and Facebook accounts as many are very interactive and break a lot of news on there.