Food News

TapHunter Connects the Thirsty to Craft Beer Salvation

With the craft beer movement growing so quickly,sometimes keeping up on your local brewery scene is tough, especially when high demand kegs often get kicked the same day they're tapped If you're a geek, and you're inclined, a new app called TapHunter promises to help you keep tabs on your local beer scene. It's kind of like Grindr for beer lovers, but instead of hooking up people with people, it's hooking up drinkers with their favorite golden lagers.

Users of the app can see bars based on location or look for bars pouring a specific brew. Say you're caught without a car and want to know what bars pour craft beer and are within walking distance -- TapHunter has got you covered. Just get laid off and need to get Velvet Hammered in a big way? TapHunter will guide you into blissful ignorance that your car payment is due soon.

I've played around with the app a little and it seems pretty useful if you're on the hunt for a specific brew, but I was concerned about the accuracy. TapHunter relies on participating bars to manually enter their data and keep inventories up to date daily. It's not a stretch to imagine bar workers getting frustrated with the extra work and letting that data get as stale as a forgotten keg of Bud. That's when customers show up expecting a pint of Peticolas' latest, only to find out it was kicked last month.

But Mark Hooper, an assistant manager at LUCK, says my concerns are unfounded. In fact, the new app has actually been saving his team time. "Before we had to manually enter the data into an Excel spreadsheet," Hooper told me. They used that data to print off menus each day, in a process that could take more than an hour when many kegs were switched out.

TapHunter's growing database of local brewers speeds up that process, allowing Hooper to print menus at the same time he's serving up data to TapHunter users. There's even a web widget that keeps LUCK's website up to date if you don't want to use your iPhone. With just a few clicks on your office computer, you can plan a beer crawl that will keep you motivated until well past quitting time.