Back in the summer of 2010, I was talking with my business partner, Tim Mather, about a desire to create a new project in the social space. At the time, Foursquare was the talk of the town. Everyone was using it to check-in as they traveled around the world. Tim and I were both avid Foursquare users back then. With Tim living in California and myself in Massachusetts, we stayed even more connected through Foursquare by seeing where we were both "checking in" to on the app. However, as we got talking and brainstorming we realized that Foursquare check-ins left us wanting more. We posed the question to each other, what industries are inherently social but have no current real-time component to their experience? The beer industry resonated with us. There were other rating networks like BeerAdvocate, but nothing was real-time and in the moment like we envisioned. From there, the idea for Untappd was born! Within 24 hours of ideation, we had a prototype completed and launched a private beta in September of 2010. We had the minimal viable product (which was just a web app in your browser), without features like photo upload, ratings, or even a moderation platform.
When we launched Untappd at Home in March, our goal was to create a place where everyone could check-in and share what they were drinking from the comfort and safety of their home. As the virtual venue approaches 25 M+ check-ins, we thought it was a good time to dig into the data.
First, we wanted to look at where actually people checking in while tagging the Untappd at Home venue. Since this venue is global, we looked into the top regions. Below are the top cities where users have been checking-in to Untappd at Home since April 1st, 2020, sorted by most check-ins.
Yes, you read that title right: beer without alcohol is continually rising in popularity. With the simultaneous rise of hard seltzer as a premium "health" conscience beverage, we're seeing drinkers flocking to low-calorie beverages overall perhaps to maintain a healthier lifestyle. To meet this consumer trend, many breweries are putting out low-calorie beverage options to try and wrangle marketshare from the bigger brands. We've seen this with the very popular SeaQuench Ale and Slightly Mighty from Dogfish Head for example.
Here we are at the end of August, the warm summer months coming to an end. This week certainly was a long week on my end but I enjoyed a few great beers throughout the week during the Virtual Happy Hours with Alisa Bowens-Mercado & Andy Crouch. What was the community drinking this week? I pulled the top beers (sorted by unique user check-ins), from non-macro breweries (as defined by the Brewers Association) from this week to share with you! Without further ado - here's a countdown of the top 10 trending beers of the week:
10. Hazy Jane from BrewDog
This week's Top Hop Spot goes to Cascade! Cascade is one of the most popular hops in the world, making up a 1/10th of all hops grown in the U.S.! Cascade was developed in the USDA breeding program at Oregon State University by Dr. Stanley Nelson Brooks and Jack Horner in the 1960's. The hop variety was first used commercially in 1975 by the Anchor Brewing Company, which established it as a signature hop for American pale ale. It was later made famous by Sierra Nevada's Pale Ale that originally only used Cascade hops.
When it comes to flavor profile Cascade has a flowery and spicy, citrus-like quality with a slight grapefruit characteristic. The hop is good for both flavor and aroma uses. Common substitutes for this hop are Centennial, Amarillo, Columbus, Ahtanum and Mt. Hood.
Traditionally grown in the Pacific Northwest of the U.S., there are now Australian and New Zealand varieties too! These hops tend to be more grapefruit forward than US-grown Cascade. In New Zealand, the flavor profile changed so much that most hop farmers have re-labeled them as Taiheke hops. This is common in hop growing, as the terroir of the region the hops are grown plays a significant role in the hops flavor characteristics. Another example of this is the Styrian Golding, Fuggle, and Willamette hops. They all started as the same hop, however Fuggle's are grown in the UK, Styrian Golding's are grown across the rest of Europe, mostly Slovenia, and Willamette can be found in the Pacific Northwest of the US. In this case all three hops can be substituted for each other, with brewers reporting only slight differences between them all, depending on the crop year.
FUN FACT: In the U.S. The Cascade Cup is given to the hop-farmer with the best Cascade crop each year! I wonder if it's an actual 'cup' and what beer they drink out of it to celebrate.
Here are some beers that feature Cascade in all is flowery and grapefruity wonderfulness so you can check it out yourself!
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. Pale Ale
Our most popular beer, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is a delightful interpretation of a classic style. It has a deep amber color and an exceptionally full-bodied, complex character. Generous quantities of premium Cascade hops give the Pale Ale its fragrant bouquet and spicy flavor.
Anchor Brewing Company Liberty IPA
Liberty IPA is our reimagining of craft-brew classic Liberty Ale, envisioned through the lens of today's IPAs. We first brewed Liberty Ale in 1975, to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Paul Revere's midnight ride. This revolutionary forerunner of the modern IPA introduced America to the Cascade hop and the nearly lost art of dry-hopping. Like it's processor, Liberty IPA is made with two-row pale malt and Cascade hops. It is the combination of Cascade with new hop varieties - in both brewhouse and cellar - that creates the mouthwatering complex and robust aromas of pine and citrus in this crisp, American-style IPA. The label, like Liberty Ale's, features a bald eagle, whose symbolism runs deep for all Americans including Native Americans. "A very great vision is needed," thought Crazy Horse, and the one "who has it must follow it as the eagle seeks the deepest blue of the sky."
Tröegs Independent Brewing Perpetual IPA
In our constant evolution as a brewery, we've developed on undying drive to meld the organic and the mechanical. Perpetual IPA utilizes our hopback and dry-hopping to engineer a bold Imperial Pale Ale. Perpetual IPA is 7.5% ABV and 85 IBUs. It features Bravo, Chinook and Mt. Hood hops in the boil, Mt. Hood and Nugget hops in the hopback and Citra, Cascade and Nugget hops in dry-hopping.
Bear Republic Brewing Co. Racer 5 IPA
This hoppy IPA is a full bodied beer brewed with malted barley, wheat, and crystal malts. The malt base is designed to highlight the unique floral qualities of Columbus and Cascade hops from the Pacific Northwest. There's a trophy in every glass!
Have another beer that features Cascade - tell me about it, by tagging me @HarryBeerBeard in your next check-in of it!
Make sure to listen to this week's newest "Drinking Socially" episode over on https://untappd.com/podcast to hear more about Cascade, as well as catch the newest edition of "Beer 101" where we tackle what goes into a brew day!
It feels like ages ago that we were able to freely go to a bar or restaurant and have pint of our favorite suds in a glass. COVID-19 has impacted almost every facet of the beer industry from festivals to bars and restaurants to as you can imagine, Untappd check-ins! Most people make the assumption that Untappd is only used in a physical world when people are out at bars or breweries, but in a pre-COVID world, we were about 80% public venue check-ins and 20% non-public venue check-ins (or no venues at all).
Introducing New Holland's brand-new, year-round New England Style IPA. True to style using only the finest ingredients to include 100% Citra Hops. Hazy River is a true testament to our brewers' expertise and our passion for innovation. Smooth and juicy with a beautiful hazy-golden appearance. Tropical aromas of grapefruit, pineapple and orange. Low bitterness and beautiful flavor reminiscent of fresh-squeezed fruit. Brewed with a short boil time to reduce bitterness and loads of late addition whirlpool hops for punchy flavor. Double Dry Hopped once at start of fermentation, and once at the end for a complex flavor and aroma.
HOW TO EARN THIS BADGE:
HopCat's mission is simple: Be the best beer bar on the planet. The places were envisioned, designed, stocked, and staffed with one mission in mind: To bring you great beer. What is great beer? It's a beer made with care and pride. It might be a local beer or one from the other side of the country. It could be your usual pint or a beer that you had no idea existed. Every once in a while, it's a beer you decided to try just because your server or bartender suggested it.
As craft beer lovers and purveyors, we recognize the importance of beer quality and value when you take a beer home with you and with that we have come to another point of innovation in our to-go beer journey here at HopCat. With that we introduce to you – the 16oz Crowler! Take advantage of our large local craft beer selection by building your own 4-Pack to take home.
HOW TO UNLOCK THIS BADGE:
Between August 17, 2020 - September 17, 2020 check-in your beer and add one of the participating (listed below) HopCat venues as a Purchased At location to earn the "HopCat At Home" badge!
Fresher is better. #HopCatAtHome
Anyone else riding the high from UK Week of the Virtual Happy Hour? We had some amazing guests like Natalya Watson, author and Advanced Cicerone, Steve Dunkley, owner of Beer Nouveau, and Matthew Curtis, co-founder of Pellicle Magazine. If you didn't catch us live, be sure to check the playback! Talking to these folks got us wondering, what are the top beers trending in the UK at the moment? Well, your check-ins speak for themselves!
Here's a countdown of the top trending beers in the UK over the last 30 days. How many of these have you had? If you haven't tried them, click the "Find Nearby You" button to locate them and give them a try!
10). Resonance - De Moersleutel
Today is all about getting ingredients from the last 4 episodes, and what a brewer (Home or Pro) might go through to find the right grain, hops, and yeast (and water) to make beer. From there we cover the difficulty you may encounter with an Adjunct heavy beer as well. We do this all while enjoying the "East Coast Pliny" that is Maine's Lunch, and a Huge Collaboration with 10+ Breweries lead by Gizmo in NC! Black is Beautiful, and this version of it is also full of coffee! Plus! let us know what you think of the slight change in pacing for our first beer in the show! We had a lot of fun with this one. 🍻
What We're Drinking:
1). Lunch - Maine Beer Company
2). Black Is Beautiful - Gizmo Brew Works
Black Is Beautiful
Collaboration with Top of the Hill Restaurant and Brewery, Fullsteam , Carolina Brewing Company (Holly Springs, NC), Raleigh Brewing Company, Lynnwood Grill & Brewing Concern, Neuse River Brewing Company, Compass Rose Brewery, Clouds Brewing, Jordan Lake Brewing Company, Tobacco Road Brewing
Stout - Imperial / Double
Love this episode? Subscribe to us on Spotify, Apple, or wherever you listen to podcasts and share on your socials! Have a question you want to be answered on the podcast? Share it with us in the Drinking Socially Facebook Group, or email us @ [email protected]! And don't forget, connect with us on Untappd and Twitter! Cheers!
This week on Drinking Socially we're launching a new segment called "Top Hop Spot" to explore the history and usage of different hop varieties. Our inaugural Top Hop is Centennial and we're diving deep this week so tune in to the episode TOMORROW! Centennial is my favorite hop, and one that helped make American craft beer what it's known for today - big ol' hoppy beers!
Centennial hops are often referred to as Super Cascade (another hop!) as they share the same citrus forward characteristic. Centennial is known for it's versatility as it's high alpha acids (usually between 9%-14%) help impart solid bitterness when used early in the boil, while it's grapefruit and lemongrass flavor's make it ideal for hop additions later in the boil as well. It's also a favorite of mine for dry hopping!
Centennial doesn't exist in the wild like some other hops (I'm looking at you, Comet). It was actually created by the celebrated hop breeding program at Washington State University in 1974 - although it wasn't released to the brewing world until 1990. Charles "Chuck" Zimmerman and S.T. Kenny are credited with successfully breeding Centennial. Centennial's parentage includes Brews Gold, Fuggle, and East Kent Golding Hops.
You're most likely to find Centennial hops in Pale Ales and IPA's, however I really enjoy how small hop chargers of Centennial in Wheats Beers can cut throw the heavy wheat grain bill and add to citrus flavors commonly found in those beers. Huge hop drops of Centennial in Imperial Stouts also work great at slicing through that big malt backbone.
Here are some beers you can seek out to experience all the grapefruit glory of Centennial Hops yourself:
1). Two Hearted Ale - Bells Brewing
Brewed with 100% Centennial hops from the Pacific Northwest and named after the Two Hearted River in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, this IPA is bursting with hop aromas ranging from pine to grapefruit from massive hop additions in both the kettle and the fermenter. Perfectly balanced with a malt backbone and combined with the signature fruity aromas of Bell's house yeast, this beer is remarkably drinkable and well suited for adventures everywhere.
2). Lunch - Maine Beer Co.
(featured on this week's Season 3, Episode 17 of Drinking Socially - DROPPING TOMORROW!)
Our "East Coast" version of a West Coast-style IPA. Intense hop flavors and aromas of tropical and citrus fruits and pine dominate. A subtle malt sweetness brings the beer into balance.
3). Old Rasputin - North Coast Brewing Company
Produced in the tradition of 18th Century English brewers who supplied the court of Russia's Catherine the Great, Old Rasputin seems to develop a cult following wherever it goes. It's a rich, intense brew with big complex flavors and a warming finish.
4). 60 Minute - Dogfish Head Brewing Company
60 Minute IPA is continuously hopped -- more than 60 hop additions over a 60-minute boil. Getting a vibe of where the name came from? 60 Minute is brewed with a slew of great Northwest hops. A powerful but balanced East Coast IPA with a lot of citrusy hop character, it's the session beer for hardcore enthusiasts!
Don't forget to listen to this week's newest Drinking Socially episode dropping on Wednesday, August 12th for more information on Centennial and tune in next time when we explore another classic American hop - Cascade! Listen to us wherever you listen to your podcasts (Spotify, Apple, Simplecast and more!).
As we approach the end of a pandemic summer, we've seen so many changes and new trends around beer due to COVID-19. One trend that has been unwavering so far is...hard seltzers.
If you haven't seen hard seltzers in the coolers and shelves at your local bottle shop or grocery store, you may be living under a rock. They're everywhere. The craze seemed to have ramped up in early 2018 with White Claw trending on the scene first. The trend was quickly followed by big brands such as Anheuser Busch with Bud Light Seltzer, Truly from Boston Beer, Corona Hard Seltzer, and many more. With hard seltzers continuing to gain solid market share, crossing over $100m in sales for 10th week in a row, it doesn't seem like anything is going to slow down the hard seltzer train.
More and more breweries are starting to shift their strategy to making hard seltzers to help meet the growing demographic of drinkers that are looking for something different. We've heard first hand from brewers who've lamented at first when thinking about testing the waters with hard seltzers, but sales have shown that it's a win/win for consumer and local breweries in trying to regain consumer interest in a COVID world.
At Untappd, we love to look at trend data so we've kept our eye on hard seltzers to see how popular they've become and their longevity in the market. This craze reminds me of when Small Town Brewery launched "Not Your Father's Root Beer" back in 2015. Once it hit the market it catapulted to the top of the charts for ratings and check-ins. It grew 150% percent in terms of check-ins from April to July in 2015 each month. However, as the warmer days moved into the colder months, it started to dip in popularity. Looking at its July 2020 check-ins back to July 2015 check-ins, it has decreased over 40k check-ins to only 324 check-ins.
We only recently added hard seltzer as a style on Untappd in 2019. Even though seltzers are still fairly new on the scene, once a beer is updated by a brewery as a hard seltzer, that's updated in your check-ins and we're able to pull historical data on its check-in history. We looked at created entries in July 2019 and we had over 282 commercial beers (113 breweries) categorized as hard seltzer. Flash forward to July 2020, we have 1,446 beers by 524 breweries.
Looking at the raw data, the trends are pretty crazy. Comparing July 2020 to July 2019, check-ins are up 162% and distinct users are up 128% versus the prior year.
Now, as I said before, we have seen this before with the "root beer" craze back that trended significantly but for only one summer in 2015. The difference is that hard seltzers so far have stuck around way longer than the "root beer" craze. Hard seltzers continue to grow year over year. The "hockey stick" effect is something I am curious to see as we move into the fall and winter, but the rapid growth and numerous breweries that are jumping on the hard seltzer train makes me think that this style is here to stay.
In terms of popularity on Untappd, the big brands such as White Claw and Anheuser Busch still have the top checked in hard seltzers on Untappd. I suspect as more and more breweries start to dabble and make their own, the data will start to filter out the smaller and regional breweries.
Interested in finding more about what hard seltzers are popular around you? Use the Untappd app and tap "Trending Beers", and filter the selection based on hard seltzer.
First opening its doors in 2015, Levante Brewing Company was founded on values of craft, community, quality, and innovation. Inspired by the drinking atmospheres of rustic Italian vineyards, where customer interaction and quality-focus are paramount, Levante (meaning "to rise" in Italian) strives to elevate the craft and community experience with each pour. Every ounce of liquid is brewed from an insatiable thirst for creativity and unwavering dedication to quality and freshness. Levante brews across styles and welcomes all to enjoy the experience no matter your taste preference.
HOW TO UNLOCK THESE BADGES:
To earn the "Hop Cartel" Badge, check-in to three Levante Brewing Company beers of any style.
Earn both badges between August 7, 2020 - November 7, 2020.
I don't know about you guys but I am so ready to be able to travel again. It's truly all I think about while I'm stuck at home still too weirded out to go sit at a brewery or restaurant (but seriously, take that beer-clean glass standard to the nth degree if your area allows you to go out right now).
To keep myself sane, I've been building out my travel bucket list and using Untappd to pin down exactly what breweries I want to visit and what beers to try when it's safe to get back out there.
This past Thursday, Jeff Alworth, Founder & Editor of Beervana, joined Greg Avola for a Virtual Happy Hour to discuss the ins and outs of the beer scene in Portland, OR. Now, I've only been to the Pacific Northwest once, and naturally, it's taken a top spot on my travel bucket list so as you can imagine, he had my undivided attention...
Jeff came out swinging with TONS of suggestions for must-visit breweries in Portland, OR. that need to go on your list including Breakside Brewery, Wayfinder Beer, Upright Brewing Company, Great Notion Brewing, Ruse Brewing, and Little Beast Brewing.
Breakside Brewery - NW SLABTOWN, Image Source
To really round out my Portland, OR. bucket list, I wanted to pull beer and brewery suggestions straight from the Untappd community. I looked into what Portlanders are really drinking the most of out there via Untappd check-in stats. Looking over unique user check-ins in Portland, OR. over the month of July 2020, here are my findings: