Saturday, February 27, 2010

A Little Help From The Beer Mapping Project

Thank god for programs like the Beer Mapping Project. Maybe it’s because I’m currently on the road for business, but the ability to pull up a map of all the beer-related destinations in an unfamiliar area is hugely useful. So while in San Diego this week, all I had to do was punch in the address of the hotel, and presto…a guide to all the beer bars, breweries, and brew pubs that make up the local scene.

The beer highlights of the trip so far (if anyone cares), has been The Toronado, The Linkery (4+ beers on cask!), and The Neighborhood.  Stone's World Bistro is on the agenda for this afternoon before the red-eye flight back home.

Turning back to Beer Mapping Project (BMP), like most of the other web 2.0 sites, all of the content for the BMP is user-generated. Have feelings about a particular location? - you can score and review it on the site. However, I think the user-review driven rankings for each of the sites is a bit flawed on BMP.  Not because there's something wrong with the site itself, but there's just not been enough user-generated reviews to get a true ranking.  The site is not able to reach a critical mass which lets the collective intelligence shines through. With so few user inputs (at least in the cities I have used BMP for), all it takes is one or two yahoos to incorrectly score a location (i.e. “That bar sucks – all it serves is dark and bitter beer!”) and suddenly a worthwhile joint gets potentially deep-sixed. If BMP could link into a larger collection of user reviews - say Beer Advocate - well then there would be some useful value the site's scoring system.

The Beer Mapping Project is, of course, not the only beer travel/mapping website. I’ve certainly used PubQuest (although it only shows you breweries and brewpubs – not beer bars) and Beer Advocate’s BeerFly (which doesn’t have any mapping features). What other online resources are on the web that are useful for beer travel?  What other websites have you used to seek out beer destinations when you’ve been travelling?



“Any foreign trip is better if you can visit a few breweries.”
-Fred Eckhardt

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