Last year’s GABF was a bit of a blur (it might’ve been all the beer), but I do remember Don and I having a late night snack at the Rock Bottom Brewery with our pals from Brewforia and the guys from Pintley.com. The Pintley crew were bright and motivated beer nerds who were really excited about what they had created. They got us excited as well, but then I had another raspberry porter and the wrinkles of my mind smoothed out, allowing no more information to sink in that evening.
Anyway, fast-forward six months and I suddenly remembered that Pintley exists and decided to check out how things were looking over there. Turns out it’s a pretty awesome place for a serious beer geek who’s looking to try something new.
In a nutshell, Pintley is a place you go to rate beers and, based on your preferences, the site then recommends other beers for you to try. These recommendations are based off of the likes and dislikes of other beer geeks in the large database who share your tastes. It’s like the Pandora of beers.
But unlike Pandora, which only requires a single song to set a playlist in motion, Pintley takes a little more input on the user’s part before it starts to provide some pretty amazing recommendations.
And I mean just a little input. I signed up (it’s free), and began to rate beers I like and dislike. Most everything a hardcore beer geek would love seems to represented at Pintley, the only exception being my inability to find beers from the Voodoo Brewery, but they’re pretty tiny.
Anyway, after rating a couple of dozen beers on a one-to-five pint scale (except those I gave a total “thumbs down” – an option I love), I went to see what the site recommended for me. It wasn’t great.
There were about 16 beers there, and a lot of them were very common, such as PBR, Corona, and Fat Tire. Sure I like Victory lager and Prima Pils, but that doesn’t mean I’m ready to get excited about Yeungling. Undeterred, I began rating the list, upvoting the beers I liked and downvoting the stuff I didn’t want to see again. Then things got interesting.
The next list was MUCH closer to what I like, with a few of my absolute favorites populating the page, along with a couple of clunkers and some stuff I’ve never had before. Another lightening-round of reviews and a page refresh later, and I was looking at a dozen beers that I love, would like to try, and maybe just a couple that I’d never want. It was beginning to look like the inside of my beer fridge. And it only took 10 minutes.
In a nutshell, Pintley harnesses the power database-driven recommendations for the benefit of beer geeks. This is not some half-assed attempt by a beer-loving cybernerd; this is a serious piece of glittering technology developed by a group of beer-loving cybernerds with a bona-fide business plan. They even have an iPhone App.
Pintley might not hit on 100% of its recommendations, but they are certainly better than those of any beer geek I’ve chatted up in the beer aisle, looking for something new to try. That’s because Pintley has no agenda, no taste preferences, and no biases. All they have is data, and it’s yours for the taking.
If you’re a beer geek, you simply have to give Pintley a try for yourself.