Brewgene: Nerding Out While Drinking Out

by Joshua Hampton on July 19, 2011 | (1) Comment |

For those of you (like me) who enjoy objectifying an inherently subjective experience, Brewgene is for you. Brewgene is a website and iPhone app that allows users to rate any of the 40,000 beers in their comprehensive database and then aggregates these ratings on a five star scale using a “complex algorithm” (geek speak for finding the mean). Using the data from your ratings, Brewgene tries to provide reliable recommendations for new and exciting brews; think Netflix recommendations for beer.


Brewgene: For the forgetful, technologically savvy drunk on the go

Brewgene also provides a “People Who Liked This Beer Also Liked” list. I haven’t found it all that useful thanks to the leagues of die hard macrobrew fans who gladly violate the sanctity of the brew gods by giving Coors Light a 4.5 star rating (*le sigh*).

One feature of Brewgene I do like is “My Beer Cellar”, an organized list of all the beers you’ve rated. Given the nature of beer tastings it’s even more useful than you’d think; the more you enjoy a beer, the more you typically drink, hence the less you are likely to remember what the deuce it was called in the morning. Brewgene lets electrons take responsibility for what your brain cells can’t handle. (I said what about Miller High Life???).

Another interesting and revealing feature is the “Top 100 Beers” section. The preferences of users can be seen here and, despite an interesting pick at the top spot (Guinness Draught? Really, guys?), the Top 100 Beers provide a snapshot of a fairly sophisticated and diverse beer-loving community. If you wish, you can also weigh in (as I have) on certain beers you find noteworthy or notorious.

One caveat: I’ve noticed that the “complex algorithm” for generating recommendations takes a long-ass time (that’s a technical beer term, equivalent to the duration it takes to choke down a case of Miller High Life) to give you what you want. After rating 15 beers, the recommendation feature still needed more information before it could provide me with a suggestion. I finally quit after about 30 ratings, and it wasn’t until I signed in the next day that Brewgene had proffered a few recommendations. Though the speed left something to be desired, the recommendations did not. They consisted of six pages of beers I’ve never tried or heard of with descriptive tasting notes from other hopheads.

Overall, I think Brewgene is a fun and mostly worthwhile app that has legs if enough people use it and build up the data pool. I would recommend it to anyone wanting to keep track of and discover new beers that suit their tastes or to officially record your thoughts about the wonder that is Miller Chill.

One response to “Brewgene: Nerding Out While Drinking Out”

  1. BrewGene says:

    Thank you for the review!

    We did have new recommendations calculating every 10 minutes, but we cranked it up to run more often — so that delay should start to go away.

    Make sure you keep up-to-date, as our upcoming version of the app has lots of cool new features.