When it comes to figuring out what new beer I’m going to pop open next, I usually rely on one of two things: Gut instinct or a friendly recommendation. As for the latter, there are a number of resources to tap. Friends (literally), and a growing number of online ventures, from Pintly to Untappd. A new name has entered the game, and it’s worth a look. The project is called Beer Viz, and it was designed by a few grad students in California.
Visually, Beer Viz is a pleasure to operate—it’s also incredibly simple. You start by choosing one of three categories: light, medium and dark. You’re then presented a circle lined with beers grouped by style. Hover over a particular beer you enjoy, and the app draws a line to other beers in different categories that you might also like. In theory, it’s an engaging way to explore across the style spectrum and, for the most part, the suggestions are helpful (according to the project report, the data’s pulled from an old Stanford data set of BeerAdvocate user reviews). I picked New Belgium Ranger IPA, and a few wheat wines, imperial IPAs and barelywines were suggested. But, hover over a Belgian pale ale, and Beer Viz suggests you check out pumpkin ales, which is kind of weird.
Regardless, it’s a fun way to kill a few minutes and definitely a project I’d check out if it ever makes it to smart phones.
What’s your go-to method for finding new beers?