Beer Mapper App Takes the Mystery Out of Choosing Your Next Pint

Illustration for article titled Beer Mapper App Takes the Mystery Out of Choosing Your Next Pint

Imagine if an app could learn your taste in beer the way Netflix learns your taste in movies. It's coming. Drink it all in.

Beer Mapper is a project by engineering student Kevin Jamieson. The app, when it becomes available, will work a lot like a Hot or Not for beer: It shows you two options and you pick the one you prefer. After you've gone through and picked beers for a while, you'll be able to view a heat map that's supposedly representative of the beers you might like the most.

How does it work? First, Jamieson created a database of beverages for the project by pulling reviews from the 50 most commonly discussed brews on After crunching the reviews, he was able to create a "map" of beers, which is a solid representation of the similarities and differences between beers. From there, all the app needs your input on varieties, so that it can extrapolate your taste. [Kevin Jamieson via CoCreate]

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I don't know that I would favorably compare it to Netflix's comparison algorithm because it's not so good. Pandora would have been a good comparison as it makes Netflix's algorithm look like a children's toy.

I'm interested to see how many aspects of the beer come into play. I've thought about how an algorithm would work in the past. IBUs, ABV, Lovibond, final gravity, original gravity, recipe specifications (what grains and hops are used, temps, time added, etc.). He's fundamentally not know many of those aspects without knowing the recipe for the beer. A rating (for Ratebeer, BeerAdvocate, etc.) could be added but it would be incredibly subjective. You would need a large number of people to rate the beer or one or more "experts" that will play a huge part in the algorithm. You could go without ratings but it wouldn't narrow the beer down enough when not including the recipe.

Long story short, to be accurate, you'd need information you can't really gather or you'd hinge on the ratings of others and/or experts which is what other apps already do (such as Untappd and BrewGame). Regardless, as an engineer, I'm excited to see what Kevin Jamieson came up with. I'm sure I'll be giving it a shot.