Pandora For Beer? Beer Mapper App Allows For Beer Discovery Across the Beer Space

An engineering grad student came up with a way to determine exactly what kind of beer you like in some key categories, thus bringing some much-needed nerdiness to drinking.

Until recently, the nerdiest thing to happen to beer in some time had been the introduction of Game of Thrones ale. However, news of the official brew of Winterfell has now been watered down by a new innovation: a heat map depicting users’ tastes across a number of beer categories.

Beer Mapper is an app that presents users with one pair of beers at a time, and then asks for a preference. After you make several selections, the app reveals how your preferences play out across the "beer space" in a number of different categories.

Created by Kevin Jamieson, a research assistant at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the app uses data pulled from 10,000 beers and preferences on the website There is a ridiculously complex explanation for how the maps are created here, but the results are easy enough to understand. Beermapper can determine the 15 closest beers to each one you like and your favorite styles of beer, as well as providing measures of what level of color, bitterness, and maltiness you prefer. Unfortunately, this miracle tool is not quite ready for prime time just yet.

"Sorry, no, the app is not on the app store," Jamieson says on his site. "The app is 97% done but those last few percent are some of the hardest parts, like making things a bit more intuitive for the user and providing background code that lets the app run in the background without running down the battery."

Have a look at the heat maps in the slide show above.

[Image: Flickr user Cambridge Brewing Co.]

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  • daniel

    BeerMapper is now available to download for the iPad! iPhone and Android to be released in the coming weeks. Learn more about the app and get notified of release dates at Cheers!

  • daniel

    The long wait is over! Happy to report the BeerMapper App is now available for the iPad. iPhone and Android versions will be released soon as well. Stay up to date at Cheers!

  • Rico_Featherbutt

    People.  Engineers have been known to screw up beer, as much as they claim to love the stuff.  Search for Heriot-Watt's International Centre for Brewing & Distilling.  It's the Western World's beer school.  They go much farther than this.  

  • Nate Brennan

    This is a great concept, but very difficult to pull off in reality because of the constraints of distribution. Pandora and Netflix work because they can deliver you a song or TV episode digitally, whereas most beer companies (I'd estimate 99% of them) don't distribute nationally, or even farther than a handful of states, so unless that rather large hiccup is figured out (or the suggestions are confined to only the largest 50-100 brands), many of the app's suggestions won't be applicable to the distribution area of the app user.

  • Rico_Featherbutt

    That's a result of the average drinker, not distribution.  If demand is high, then beer will get anywhere.  Second, when you say "nationally", you mean the US.  Beer is an international thing, and well before the US started.