Untappd Is Not A Race: Enjoy The Beer Experience

Burlington Brewing Co.'s Strawberry Whale CakeWHOOMP THERE IT IS!
My 1,000th unique brew check-in using the Untappd app: Burlington Beer Co.’s Strawberry Whale Cake.

I like celebrating just about anything. Especially craft beer related happenings like: Untappd milestones, special beer releases, bottle shares or finding a whale or unicorn beer during beercations. So when my 1,000 check-in was imminent, I started to reflect on the brews I had over the past 2.5 years leading up until this point. Some of them big names: Hill Farmstead, Three Floyds, Mikkeller, Russian River, New England Brewing, Wicked Weed, etc. Some of them hidden gems blazing the path to beer stardom: Pizza Boy Brewing Co., Tired Hands, Draai Laag, Lost Nation.

Not to mention the experiences that went along with the check-ins. I try hard to take in the moment. The food paired with the beer. The places explored. The people I had met. The friendships made.

It had been a good 2.5 years in beer hunting.

I also started to plot and plan exactly what I would drink for my 1,000. All the choices. This was going to be hard to find the perfect selection. It was so exciting thinking about the possibilities and when it was going to happen. (See. I told you. I love to celebrate and plan the experience all out.)

What was unexpected was I kind of felt like I was farther behind in check-ins than some of my other craft beer friends. Yeah, I reached 1,000 but others are already at 1,500. Some even over 2,000. Geez, if only I had started using the app when it was first launched, then maybe I would have a more competitive number. Gosh. I have been drinking craft beer for 21 years. That’s got to count for something, right?!

I get so competitive sometimes. I know that about myself. It’s certainly no secret. Folks who know me, know how it is. In the past two weeks, I’ve had a self-realization that Untappd is NOT a race. I mean, I certainly didn’t set out using the app with a competition in mind. It just kind of snuck up on me over the years check-in after check-in. “Did I try something really unique?”, “How many brews did I get to try during that beercation or this bottle share?” “Why didn’t I get that badge after this check-in?”

And, it’s not just me. I find lots of fellow craft beer enthusiasts doing the same thing. Racing to get their check-in tally higher and higher.

Even taking it to the extent of bragging about a beer that they found and taking lots of photos with facial expressions of “envy me because you don’t have access to this beer.” Trying to one up the craft beer drinkers that follow them on Untappd and even on Twitter and Instagram.

Huh? It’s NOT a competition. Glad to see you have a really great beer in hand but don’t make me feel like lesser of a person.

Or even worse, I recently recommended a particular brewery and beers to some folks only for them to later basically tell me, “Meh.” I don’t remember the exact quote but it was something to the effect that they didn’t see what the big deal was and that everything they drank was mediocre. Ouch! That hurt.

Then there’s the Pliny vs Heady battle. Really? Do we really have to argue about beer? Some of these discussions get heated. Insulting one another’s taste in brew.

It got to me so bad that I had a snapping point and I took it to Twitter:

Untappd is NOT a Race
What ensued after that was a great discussion amongst the craft beer community. Ending with the single thought that ‘Beer is NOT a Status Symbol’ and is meant to be enjoyed even savored. They talked me off the ledge.

Of course, I want to know what epic beer you’re drinking. And, I want to share my experiences with you, too. But from here on out… for me… I’m not putting much weight on the Untappd check-in tally you have, my friend. I DON’T care if you have 2,000 check-ins or 2 check-ins. I’m also not going to listen to a bunch of banter about how many beers you’ve had at the last bottle share.

What I DO want to hear is what you loved about each beer. Or what you would have liked to have seen in a brew that maybe didn’t tweak your palette. I mean. Do you even remember (really remember) what each tasted like? Probably not.

Better yet. Promise me that you’ll be present and take in the moment of your first sip. Put down your phones. Take note of what is going on around you. What music is playing? What is completely awesome about your surroundings? Who is with you? What do they think about the beer? How does it bring out the flavor of what you’re eating?

Yeah. DO check-in your beer. But don’t forget to enjoy the experience. DON’T simply race through it. And please, just please, DON’T take on a bragging tone when you SHARE with all.

I’m vowing to do the same. After all, I’m not completely innocent when it comes to this topic. I’m guilty of all of the above. But I’m making a conscious effort to be a better craft beer citizen. Will you do the same?

(Follow Me On: Twitter & Untappd: @dzyngrl | Instagram: @dzyngrl14)

8 Comments on Untappd Is Not A Race: Enjoy The Beer Experience

  1. Great post!

    I, too, have considered quitting Untappd, feeling that I was using it more as a way of keeping up with my fellow beer enthusiasts (most of whom have checked in way more than me and with seemingly more interesting, obscure beer).

    I, too, remembered that it’s the experience of the moment, of just enjoying the beer and the people that you’re sharing it with, in person, at that moment. I now check in when I get around to it, if at all.

    Don’t give up writing about your beer experiences: I’m enjoying the ride that you’re taking your readers on.


  2. Well Said.

    I too have fallen out of love with some aspects of both the “craft” beer scene and Untappd. Getting badges used to be fun, but now you get three with every check in. I’ve had to disable the auto-share to my Facebook timeline because it was getting ridiculous. I’ve also stopped check-ins at festivals and bottle shares. I take a picture and go back later. To many people spend to much time with their noses in their phone rather than their beer.

    As to people, well you’ll find that type everywhere, in any circle but I too get aggravated when I run into them. And I know its wrong, but I’ve been known to push some buttons on occasions just to watch their reaction.

    Again, nice post.

    • That’s a great idea to take pics then check-in later for fests and bottle shares. Plus, I’m going to try less and enjoy each more. “Try”. Lol

  3. The best way I’ve learned to use Untappd is when I’m in an area I don’t know and I want to see what beers are available. I just go to nearby beers or nearby bars and boom. Cause if there are any good beers in the area, the first thing Untappd users will do is check them in before taking their second sip.

    The things I hate about it are exactly what you mentioned. It’s a social media community and not a beer app. For instance, I’d love to be able to list my favorite beers by category or region. Or check out what my friends’ favorites are. Imagine checking out your top 5 ratings from 2 years ago or being able to find that 1 beer you checked the last time you were in San Diego.

    Blogs like yours are much more informative when it comes to beer info that I care about (not that random drunk people can’t objectively and intelligently rate the beers they are drinking:). Keep up the good work!

  4. Definitely up there in my list of biggest issues in the craft beer world, along with:

    – Drinking too much and too often because of the hobby justification (The calories still count and the hangovers are real)
    – Mediocre beer market saturation
    – Freshness

    • All excellent points that I also have on my craft beer issues list. The list is short but seems we all see the areas for improvement. Cheers, Jeremy!

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