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drinking beer in the South of France

... and then writing about it

A Guide to Rating Beers Online - The Untappd App

Like Instagram or Twitter, Untappd is one of the many apps included in my daily social media screen time. I downloaded the app on August 8th, 2018 and have, at the moment of writing this, accumulated 263 check-ins and unlocked 397 badges !

Over the years I have pushed many of my friends, and even my own mother, to download the app for some communal-social-beer-fun-ness. Some of these friends use it regularly, but others did not understand how the app works, and eventually deleted it from their phones.

That's where this guide comes in! If you are one of the few who struggle navigating the app, I hope that this short guide will help you better navigate and understand the basics of Untappd, hopefully leading to many new check-ins ! 

What is Untappd ? 

Untappd connects beer drinkers around the world to each other, to venues and to breweries. The app is also a great way to keep track of all the beers you've ever had, from the ones you loved to those that didn't go down so well. 

With Untappd, you can:

  • rate, comment and share pictures (a "check-in") of the beers you are drinking
  • review other users' and beers' check-ins
  • create groups with your friends
  • share your check-ins on Twitter and Facebook
  • review the popularity of a beer and what other drinkers thought of it
  • the list goes on !

As you check-in different beers and different locations, you will unlock badges: beer badges, venue badges, and special badges. 

  • Beer badges are based on the beer styles and serving styles you check-in. Examples of beer badges you can unlock are: Draft City (check-ins with the serving style of Draft); The Great White North (beer from a brewery from Canada); Low Gravity (beers listed as 'non-alcoholic'). 
  • Venue badges are based on the locations (venues or countries) you check-in your beers from. Examples of venue badges you can unlock are Find The Source (check-in a beer at venues categorised as Brewery, Meadery or Cidery); Ye Old Pub (check-in at venues categorised as pub, Irish pub, or Gastropub).
  • Special badges are unlocked when a beer is checked-in on a special day, for example Leap Year, Mardi Gras, or the Superbowl. 
Examples of beer badges
Examples of venue badges

Start by creating your profile 

You will need to provide basic information such as your email address, country, birthday (not visible to the public) and create a username and password. You can change these later by clicking the gear icon on the top right corner of your profile page. Upload a picture and a header, just like on Facebook ! These will help your friends find you easier.  

My Untappd profile

The Discover Page 

 The discover page is the first thing you will see upon opening the app. 

  • Nearby venues : Check out your local bars, pubs and restaurants (only the venues that are "verified" by Untappd will appear). This feature is extremely useful if you are exploring a new area. This is also a short cut to directly access your favorite venues.
  • Upcoming events : Keep up to date with the latest and upcoming events in your area. You can also see what's going on in other places by searching by city, state, or zip code.
  • Trending beers and locations : indicates the beers and locations (venues) that are getting a lot of check-ins, locally and globally.
  • Top rated beers : which beers are the best rated at the moment? Find out by clicking here. 
  • Global feed : see what people are checking-in around the world !
  • Need a ride? Don't drink and drive. Instead, pick your location and order an Uber straight there from the Untappd app. It's as simple as that. 

The Activity Page 

Your latest check-ins will appear here, as well as those of your friends.

By navigating the menu bar (Friends; Nearby; Groups), stay up to date with what your friends and your groups are drinking. 

 The Profile Page

Here is where you will find all things 'you' : the beers you've checked-in and their venues, your friends, and an overrview at how you rate beers.

On either side of your profile picture, you will find your total number of check-ins (every beer you have ever checked-in) and your total amount of single or 'first' beer check-ins ("beers"). 

  • Two little people icon : search for your friends, add new ones (click 'add') or invite new users to the app (click 'add' and 'invite friends'). You can also connect your Untappd to your Twitter and Facebook accounts.
  • Lists : create lists to quickly access your favorite venues' Untappd pages. I have a list of my favourite Parisian beer bars, for quick and easy access to their taplist and menu.
  • Badges : scroll through all of your unlocked badges by category (local badges, beer badges, venue badges and special badges).

Your profile page also provides quick shortcuts to :

  • Venue and beer subscriptions: keep up to date with what's on tap at your favorite venue
  • Friend notifications: be notified every time your friends check-in a beer
  • Liked breweries : quickly access your favorite breweries' Untappd pages. 

How to check-in a beer or a venue?

Head back to the "discover" tab on your app. Click on the search bar, and let's get started.
There are three ways to search for your beer :

1. Search by beer

Type in the name of your drink (in this case, "Libertine") and the beer should appear below. On the beer's Untappd page, you can quickly find: 

  • a description of the beer, written by the brewery
  • places near you selling this beer
  • if you or any of your friends have checked-in this beer before 
  • the beer's global score out of 5 and its global total of check-ins
  • other users' notes on the beer

  2. Search by brewery 

Search for the brewery (in this case, "Brasserie Bleue"). A brewery's Untappd page will give you a quick look at their beers and global rating. You can also access their website, address and social media by clicking "more info".

3. Search by venue 

Search for the location form which you are drinking. A venue's Untappd page will give you fast access to their website and address (with a shortcut to Uber!).

Just like for a beer's page, a venue's page will show how many total, unique and monthly check-ins, as well as how many times you have checked-in ! If the venue is verified, they should regularly update their tap list – a helpful feature if you're looking at your options before deciding on a drinking venue for the evening.

Now it's time to check-in !

Start your check-in by searching for your beer in one of the three ways previously mentioned. You can also quickly check-in a beer by heading to your profile page and clicking the blue "+" icon on the bottom right page of your screen. Checking-in is super easy, because it's all about what YOU think of a beer.  

  • To start off, feel free to leave a note in the dedicated space, elaborating on your experience with the beer: its aroma, flavour, mouthfeel, etc.
  • Add a photo ! Snap a pic directly from the Untappd app or upload a picture from your camera roll. You can even edit your photo from the Untappd app ! The 'edit' screen will appear automatically after selecting your picture.
  • Now it's time to rate your beer. There is no "right" or "wrong" score to give a beer. As previously mentioned, the check-in is completely and totally about you and your experience with the beer ! If you choose not to rate the beer, it will appear under "unrated" on your profile page.

The next part is easy :

  • How was your beer served ?
  • Who did you drink it with ?
  • Where did you drink it ?
  • Where did you buy it ? (used for beers that you bought at a bottle shop and took home, for example). 

Enfin, before finalising your check-in, make sure to pick out a couple key words that you think best describe the beer's flavour profile, for example: was your beer tart, tropical, strong, milky ? A handful of words will already appear, these are the recommended flavour profile keywords, regularly used by other users for this beer.

When you're all done, click CHECK-IN !
Your unlocked badges will appear.

And voilà, you've just completed your first check-in ! Your number of check-ins and beers on your profile tab should now display a beautiful number '1'. 

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