Category Archives: Beer Technology

Dogfish ‘Randall Jr.’ Mini Fresh-Hopping Gadget Costs $20

Dogfish Head Randall Jr.

You may or may not have heard of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery‘s fresh-hopping contraption called Randall the Enamel Animal. The gadget basically lets you stream beer through a variety of different ingredients, including hops, spices, etc., to impart the flavors of those ingredients in the beer.

Sounds interesting, right? Unfortunately, the full-size Randall the Enamel Animal is rather pricey at almost $300, and it’s really designed for commercial use in bars or other drinking establishments.

Dogfish also offers a Randall Jr. “Mini Enamel Animal” that lets individuals “randalize” their beers. Randall Jr. isn’t a new product, but it has been sold out in Dogfish’s online store for quite some time. Its latest release was also supposed to be in February,  but the new Randall Jrs. just went on sale this week. Randall Jr. is basically a thick plastic container that holds 16 ounces of brew. You fit a filtering screen on top of it once you add your beer and other ingredients, put another cap on to maintain carbonation, let the beer chill for a while and then pour the filtered beer into a drinking glass.

Dogfish Head Randall Jr.

You could certainly build your own Randall Jr. using a large glass or other container and a filter, but the Dogfish unit probably looks cooler than what you’ll come up with. And it’s not too pricey at $20.

Here’s the official Randall Jr. description from Dogfish:

“Our new Mini Enamel Animal will give you the power for off-centered infusions. Just twist off the top; add hops, spices, fruit or whatnot, fill with off-centered ale and savor the fruits of your creativity.

“The new super-thick Randall holds a whopping 16 ounces. Made of double-walled, BPA-free plastic, he’s a bold but sensitive guy, so please wash with a mild, non-scented soap, and by golly keep him out of the microwave or dishwasher!”

And here’s a video infomercial from Dogfish about Randall Jr.

Learn more about Randall Jr. or order one of your own via Dogfish’s online store.

UBN

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Untappd Beer App Coming Soon to Windows Phone

Untappd Beer App Supporter on Android

I told you last month that Untappd, one of my favorite beer-related mobile applications and services, was coming soon for BlackBerry 10 devices, and today the developers officially announced the release of a native BlackBerry 10 app. (Untappd is also available for iOS and Android devices.)

I’ve been using the BlackBerry 10 Untappd app for about a week now, and it’s solid. The native BlackBerry Untappd app doesn’t support older versions of Research In Motion’s (RIM) BlackBerry OS , so those users have to access Untappd via a Web app. That means they don’t get the full set of features available to iOS and Android users. But new BlackBerry 10 users are in luck.

Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform doesn’t currently have a native Untapped app either, but Untappd also announced today that it’s working on a Windows Phone app, and it should be available in the first quarter of 2013.

If you’re not familiar with Untappd, I strongly suggest you check it out. Here’s why.

UBN

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Dogfish Head ‘A Hop Eclipse Now:’ New IPAs, New Glass and New Randall the Enamel Animal

Dogfish Head A Hop Eclipse Now

Dogfish Head Craft Brewery today announced a new promotion it is calling “A Hop Eclipse Now”—a play on the title of the classic film “Apocalypse Now”—and it will be unveiling two new IPAs, a new beer glass and a “new” Randall the Enamel Animal fresh-hopping device during the next few months.

The idea behind A Hop Eclipse Now is to celebrate the current popularity of IPAs and other hoppy beers in America right now, as well as spotlight Dogfish’s rich history of brewing hoppy ales.

The brewery hasn’t specified which new IPAs will be unveiled, though he did say one of them will be fruit infused, not unlike its Hellhound on My Ale IPA. That beer is expected to be released on March 1, and it could be called A Hop Eclipse Now. And a few months ago Dogfish announced that it is working on another collaboration brew with Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., an imperial IPA called Rhizing Bines, so that could be one of the new hoppy brews. Dogfish also didn’t unveil its new glass design yet, but the brewery’s founder Sam Calagione says the glass will be shown off in early February. And the following image, taken from the end of the A Hop Eclipse Now video clip below, gives us an idea of what the new Dogfish glass could look like.

Dogfish Head New Glass Design?

Calagione also says Dogfish will begin selling mini Randall the Enamel Animal fresh-hopping gadgets soon, and the Dogfish website says the $20 Randall Jr.s will begin shipping in February. Dogfish also listed the next-generation, full-size Randall, called Randall 3.0, for sale last month.

Finally, as part of the A Hop Eclipse Now celebration, Dogfish will host a number of related beer dinners across the United States starting on February 7 in Philadelphia and ending March 17 in Cambridge, Maryland. (I’m kind of pissed off that none of them are close to Boston, but I guess that’s my problem. Meh.)

Find more information on Dogfish’s A Hop Eclipse Now and the related new products and beer dinner’s on the brewer’s website or watch the above video.

UBN

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Official BeerAdvocate.com Mobile Apps Coming Soon

BeerAdvocate.com Mobile Web App

UPDATE: It looks like BeerAdvocate is also working on a mobile app for the upcoming, sold out Extreme Beer Fest in Boston this February. (You bet your ass I already have tickets.)

BeerAdvocate.com just posted what I think is the first image of its upcoming, official BeerAdvocate mobile app on Twitter. It’s unclear when exactly the application will be released, but it is apparently “in development.” And the apps will be Web apps, meaning they’ll run in the mobile browser and will work on all platforms. (There are some disadvantages to Web apps vs. true mobile apps—they cannot take advantage of certain device features, such as notifications, for example—but at least the BeerAdvocate apps won’t be restricted to just one or two platforms.)

The app is noteworthy because though BeerAdvocate.com is probably the single most popular beer-related website on the Internet, it does not have a mobile app. Third-party mobile developers have created BeerAdvocate.com mobile apps in the past, and some were even distributed via major app stores including Google’s Play Store. But they were quickly, removed, presumably at BeerAdvocate’s request.

BeerAdvocate’s mobile app could also have a direct impact on similar beer apps such as Untappd, my personal favorite beer app, due to BeerAdvocate’s massive user base. (Just last week, BeerAdvocate.com’s Todd Alstrom tweeted that the site is now serving up around 800,000 views per day on average.)

UBN

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Boost Your Beer IQ with Free Beer Guide

TotalWine.com Total Guide to Beer

True beer nerds pride themselves on their beer and brewing knowledge, or their “beer IQs.” The best way to boost your beer IQ is to drink lots of different kinds of beer and then learn why certain styles taste the way they do and how they’re made. TotalWine.com’s “Total Guide to Beer” is a great place to start, or continue, your quest for true beer understanding. It’s packed with great information on beer styles, the history of beer, beer glassware, cellaring and aging beer, and much more. And the price sure is right: Free.

I’ve read through most of the guide, and I’ve found it to be quite valuable. You can view TotalWine.com’s beer guide online in your browser here; iNerds can download an iBook version from iTunes; and technophobes can find paperback versions using this store locator.

UBN

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SaveOnBrew.com Helps You Find Deals on Already-Cheap, Terrible Beer

SaveOnBrew.com Beer Deals

This morning, I came across a new website called SaveOnBrew.com, which, as its name implies, is designed to help you save money on beer. Sounds good, right? The only problem: The site is useless right now, at least to me, because it only shows deals on shitty beer at completely random liquor stores and markets.

For example, I searched for deals on any and all beer within 20 miles of Boston, a major city, and SaveOnBrew.com found less than a dozen deals at only two liquor stores. Every single “deal” it found was for beer I wouldn’t drink if you paid me. (Natural Light, Genessee, Keystone Light, etc.) Not one deal on one craft beer. And the site also serves up ads for shitty beer like Coors Light.

To be fair, SaveOnBrew.com is new, and it will naturally take some time to build a database of participating stores—right now, it looks like somebody from a liquor store or somebody familiar with that store actually needs to list every deal. As for the lack of any decent beer, SaveOnBrew.com says “we just post the deals. We don’t decide what goes on sale, or what appears in an ad. We’re like the United Nations of Beer, all are welcome, with malice toward none. All SaveOnBrew does is show the lowest ADVERTISED price.”

Saving money on beer is great, but right now SaveOnBrew.com is not at all effective in helping me do so.

UBN

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Untappd Beer App Will Be Ready for BlackBerry 10 Launch

Untappd Beer app on BlackBerry 10

If you read this blog, you know I’m a beer nerd. What you might not know is that I’m also a tech nerd; I love gadgets of all shapes and sizes, and I’m particularly partial to smartphones and tablets. I own and use a number of different phones and slates, including Android phones, BlackBerrys and an iPhone.

Despite the rapidly shrinking popularity of Research In Motion (RIM) and the BlackBerry, I still carry one regularly, because I love the QWERTY keyboard. The BlackBerry software however, is another story. It’s clunky, slow and embarrassingly outdated at this point. So I’m anxiously awaiting the release of RIM’s brand new mobile platform, BlackBerry 10, which is set to launch on January 30, 2013.

Earlier this week, I posted about Untappd, a social drinking app that lets you “check in” the various beers you drink, share checkins with other drinkers, earn prizes and badges, and much more. Native Untappd apps are available for Google Android and Apple iOS devices, but BlackBerry users have had to use a Web-based “app” to access Untappd in the past, which limited its feature set. For example, BlackBerry users can’t include photos of their brews with checkins.

But that’s about to change with the launch of BlackBerry 10. I just spoke with Untappd co-founder Greg Avola, and he informed me that he and his partner in crime Tim Mather are porting over their Untappd iOS app to BlackBerry 10. “It will have the same features as iOS and Android,” Avola said. It will be available just as soon as the first BlackBerry 10 device is released, if everything goes as planned.

That’s great news for BlackBerry-toting beer nerds.

UBN

Image (without Untappd screen shot) via Thinhte.vn

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Dogfish Head Randall the Enamel Animal 3.0 Now Available for $288

Dogfish Head Randall the Enamel Animal 3.0

Dogfish Head Craft Brewery recently listed the latest version of its Randall the Enamel Animal fresh-hopping contraption for sale on its website, and it costs $288, not including shipping.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Randall, it’s a gadget that you fill with fresh hops or other ingredients and then connect to a beer tap, so the beverage can be blasted through the Randall chambers and flavored with the fresh materials.

Dogfish Founder Sam Calagione invented the original Randall in the early 2000s when he was asked to lead a handful of East Coast brewers in an east vs. west IPA competition, dubbed the Lupulin slam. (Lupulin is the oil in hops.)

From Calagione’s book, “Brewing Up a Business:”

“The beer comes out the other side of Randall soaked in hop flavors and aromas not previously available in beers hopped only at the brewery and not at the point where they are served. The “Enamel” in the name comes from the gritty feeling of hop resins on your teeth—when hopping is done right and to the extreme, the first sip almost feels like  the outer layer of enamel is being dissolved from your teeth. To the hop-head this is actually a very pleasant sensation.”

Indeed. I’ve never had a “Randallized” beer, but it’s on my beer bucket list. Randall isn’t really designed for in-home use—unless you own a kegerator—but every beer bar could step up its game by purchasing its very own Dogfish Randall.

Here are a few more details about the 3.0 version, from Dogfish Head:

“Randall 3.0 has two chambers: the first chamber (at the inlet) is the infusing chamber (this chamber is filled with hops, spices, etc.); The second chamber (at the outlet) is the de-foaming chamber. Foam generated by the interaction of beer and hops settles out in the second chamber allowing you to dispense the perfect pint.The second chamber also has an outer tube for holding ice. This keeps the beer cold and carbonated between pours.Randall 3.0 also features an adjustable dispensing faucet. This faucet is needed to balance the draught dispensing system back-pressure, minimizing foaming. This is particularly useful on long-draw (high-pressure) draught systems or when dispensing beers made with significant quantities of wheat in the recipe.”

Visit Dogfish.com to purchase your Randall or to find more information.

UBN

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Why I Support Untappd (And You Should Too)

Untappd Beer App Supporter on Android

If you’re not familiar with the Untappd mobile app and Web service, you’re sleeping on the best smartphone-based beer buddy available today. Untappd lets you “check in” beers and associate them with the venues where you drink them, to keep track of the various brews you consume. Untappd also lets you rate beers; post images of your brews; connect with friends and toast their checkins; earn beer-related badges and prizes; and much more.

Untappd is kind of like a fancy, digital beer journal. I’ve been using it for years now, and though other similar mobile apps exist, Untappd offers the best overall experience. And it’s completely free, with no ads or other annoyances.

Last week, the two beer nerds behind Untappd, Greg Avola and Tim Mather, announced the Untappd Supporter program, which is a completely optional way for loyal Untappd users like me to support the app and service on a monthly or yearly basis.

Untappd Beer App Supporter on Android

Untappd users can pay $5 a month of $50 a year to support the app’s growth, and Supporters also get a handful of exclusive perks, including the ability to:

  • Export your check-in history
  • View detailed check-in statistics
  • Show off your shiny supporter banner
  • Unlock a special supporter only badge
  • Access more features in the future

Honestly, I would donate $5 a month to Untappd even without the additional features and the badge; like I said, I’ve been using Untappd for years, for free, and I can say without a doubt that the app and service have helped me step up my craft-beer game.

If you’re not currently an Untappd user, I strongly suggest downloading the mobile app from Google Play or the iTunes Store, post haste. (It’s also available as a Web app at m.untappd.com for BlackBerry, Windows Phone and other smartphone users.) If you’re already an Untappd user, you should consider becoming an Untappd Supporter, even if it’s just for a month or two. Avola and Mather deserve all the support they can get, and you’ll only have to part with the price of pint for a month of support. (Don’t be a cheapskate, punk.)

UBN

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Respect Beer — and Trees. Read Beer Advocate’s Digital Magazine for Android

Beer Advocate magazine for Android

I’ve been reading Beer Advocate magazine for years, but it wasn’t until last month that I actually subscribed to it. In the past, I’d just pick up a free copy at my local watering hole. That meant I’d sometimes miss an issue because the magazine always disappears from bars quickly—it never ceases to amaze me how much people like free shit, doesn’t matter what it is.

I figured it was about time to subscribe to Beer Advocate, because I really like the magazine, and I appreciate what it and its associated website, BeerAdvocate.com, do for the craft beer community. I’d been freeloading for long enough. But what really inspired me to subscribe was the release of a digital version of Beer Advocate for Android tablets and smartphone. Now I’m able to read my favorite craft beer publication on my Nexus 7 Android tablet and my Samsung Galaxy SIII smartphone.

The digital subscription is half the price of the print publication, at $7.49 a year, or just $0.63 per issue, via Google’s Play Store for Android. (The print subscription costs $14.99 a year, or about $1.25 per issue.) You can buy individual issues for $1.99 each, and you get a 14-day free trial from Google. Back issues are available. You can download the digital edition of Beer Advocate instantly, as soon as new issues are released, so you don’t have to wait for the USPS to deliver them—and you don’t have to worry about your shiesty-ass, Bud-Light-guzzling neighbor stealing your copy. You can read Play Magazines on Google Android smartphones, and both 7- and 10-inch Android tablets. And you can read the digital version of Beer Advocate on your desktop computer using Google’s Chrome browser. (Unfortunately, Beer Advocate digital is not available for Apple iOS devices or any other mobile platforms at this point.)

Beer Advocate magazine for Android

The digital Beer Advocate interface is good-looking and intuitive. You can access a table of contents at any time by tapping your Android screen once and then tapping the box that appears in the bottom left corner of your display. You can also quickly scan through thumbnail images of all the pages; just tap the screen and then slide the horizontal bar of images that appears at the bottom of your display. And you can click into a text version, which strips out some of the images and formatting for easier reading, by tapping your display and then choosing the “View Text” option at the top of your screen.

My one complaint about Beer Advocate‘s digital version for Android: Existing print subscribers have to pay separately for the digital edition. That sucks, because print subscribers already pay double the price of the digital edition, and Beer Advocate should reward these folks for their loyalty, not punish them by charging an additional fee.

Beer Advocate magazine’s motto: Respect beer. Now you can follow that advice while respecting Mother Nature and saving some trees, thanks to the digital edition of Beer Advocate for Android.

Learn more about the digital edition of Beer Advocate on BeerAdvocate.com or download it from Google Play.

UBN

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