This is an interesting opinion piece in the Baltimore Post-Examiner about the role of the mobile app Untapped with the beer nerd author:
My experiences with this app continued to evolve. I know that I have had at least 829 unique beers since November 2010. So when I look at a draft board, and decide I want to drink something new it can be a challenge. I now find myself pulling my phone out to see if I have had something. It usually ends in an, “Oh yeah, I remember that!” Of course Untappd is helping me remember by telling me when I last had the beer in question, and where if I used FourSquare to check in to the location. While this information is nice, being able to log ratings, and notes about the experience becomes useful. At least to me. I now almost completely ignore the badge aspect of Untappd, and use it as a tool to keep quick notes about when, where, and if I liked a particular beer.
I have to admit that I downloaded a beer nerd app when I got the phone a ways back but quickly abandoned it. I don't take notes other than in these posts and largely rely on my brain for memory function. I have a good memory for tastes. So I know that Charlevoix Vache Folle RyePA reminded me a lot of Sixpoint Righteous while not being a clone. That is enough for me most days. Well, most days it is more than enough as most days I drink sensible tea rather than these intoxicating devil drinks. But you get the point.
The author speaks of the app as being related to the "gamification" of things but I wonder if it is also indicative of the "datafication" of good beer. Beer nerds may be prone to overlaying statistics over brews just like baseball nerds have as much dependency on the observation of mathematics as they do athleticism. Just as soccer or hockey parents demand that every child needs a medal and their every play detailed, there seems to be an assumption by beer fans that every beer needs to be catalogued, every imbibation recorded. It also seems to feed into the over classification of beer and the over awarding of brewers. Part of the great hooray for everything that has come to smother subjective personal experience.
Or is it just the t-shirt? You buy a t-shirt for a beer you like and you let folk know you like... or liked... a particular beer. You don't need to include a critique based on the disabling power of professions if it's just like a t-shirt with a beer brand logo on the front. Or a golf shirt if that is your thing. But if not... then what is it?