Beer Maverick

How to Use Untappd to Find New Breweries When Travelling

Untappd – if you are into craft beer, you either hate it or love it.

Detractors say that it is devaluing any style that isn’t popular and is just a popularity contest. This is because while a Rauchbier may be made perfectly according to the BJCP, it may get poor ratings by someone for not being a beer that they like. The BeerAdvocate and RateBeer databases are considered less a social media app like Untappd, and more a place to expertly rate beers based on their true styles.

I however, still used Untappd. First and foremost, I like their app a heck of a lot more than the others. Second, I use their app for a few tasks that simply isn’t possible with the RateBeer app. (BeerAdvocate no longer has an app. It was discontinued after their acquisition by Untapped in 2020.)

The Rise of a Beercation

When I am traveling – either alone or with my family – I always look to try new breweries in the area I’m going to. Visiting the Outer Banks? Yep, found Weeping Radish beer immediately. Zion National Park? Yep, hit up Zion Brewery the first day.

I am not alone in this thinking either.

Beer tourism is on the rise as seven in 10 Americans have traveled to a destination specifically to sample the alcohol in that region. A survey by VisitAnaheim done on 2,000 American beer drinkers showed that the lure of quality, locally-brewed beer is an increasingly important aspect for travelers. In fact, 72 percent of beer drinkers have dedicated vacation time to go to a tasting at a local brewery while on a “beercation.”

Finding New Breweries with Untappd

There are a couple ways to find local beer with the Untapped app. The key here is to use the app, and not their website. The website does not have the same functionality as their app.

App Store Links: Apple iTunes, Google Play

Option #1: Maps

Steps: Maps (bottom icon)Breweries Tab

This is my preferred way of finding local breweries. The maps page is great if you want to plan a brewery tour. Usually you have a starting point (hotel, park, etc) and want to find a path of breweries that you can hit up one right after another, eventually ending up close to where you started. Maps is perfect for this. Unfortunately you can’t save the breweries into a tour from within the app, so you’ll have to take notes to follow as you go.

Option #2: Trending Beers

Steps: Untappd DashboardTrending BeersLocal Tab[type in the city or zip code] -> [filter by style]

This option is perfect for those that only like one kind of beer. (I’m looking at you NEIPA-ers). Using this method, you can find the top rated beers in the travel area, optionally sorted by only the beer styles you like. It should be noted that if you are searching for beer styles that are super popular with the masses, I wouldn’t put much stock in the actual Untappd ratings. Untappd is known to have less accurate ratings on niche beers like certain lagers and seasonals.

The key with this method is to type the name of the city correctly WITH the state (e.g. “Pittsburgh, PA”) or just the zip code. Untappd search is not Google, and does not handle misspellings or missing states very well.

Option #3: Trending Locations

Steps: Untappd DashboardTrending LocationsLocal Tab[type in the city or zip code]

The ‘local’ tab inside Trending Locations will by default show you places surrounding you at the moment, but I like to map out where I’m going before I get in the car. I will sometimes reroute my trip to hit a few places on the way in. Unfortunately, this way does not let you filter on only breweries.

The key with this method is to type the name of the city correctly WITH the state (e.g. “Pittsburgh, PA”) or just the zip code. Untappd search is not Google, and does not handle misspellings or missing states very well.

Option #4: Nearby Venues

Steps: Untappd DashboardNearby Venues

You can find local breweries in the vacation area by tapping the “Nearby Venues” once you are in your travel spot, but that has a few downsides. First, it shows any place you can get beer, and not just breweries. Sometimes this is OK, sometimes not. I think I’m not alone in saying that I’d much rather find the actual brewery instead if possible.

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