Starting today, you can put Hip Hops in your pocket and take me with you while grocery shopping, bar hopping and anywhere else you may need some beer know-how.
I'm pleased to announce the launch of the Post-Dispatch's newest mobile application: the Hip Hops Beer App.
Available now — for free — at stltoday.com/beerapp (open that link from your iPhone, BlackBerry or Android), the app is your one-stop shop for just about everything you need to know about beer in St. Louis and beyond.
We've included my reviews and star ratings for about 200 beers, searchable by brewery or style, plus notes and beer lists from about 50 bars, restaurants, brewpubs and retail shops around St. Louis that put a special emphasis on beer.
Not quite sure what the difference is between a barleywine and a brown ale? You'll find quick definitions for more than a dozen beer styles, along with lists of those types of beers in our database and where you can find them locally.
With the touch of a button, you can call the place you're thinking about going, go to its website, see its Twitter feed or get directions on a map from wherever you are.
But wait, as they say, there's more. Lots more.
The first screen you'll see is my Hip Hops blog from STLtoday.com, meaning you'll always have the latest beer news at your fingertips. One click from there and the app will display my most recent tweets.
This app is meant to be our guide to help lead you to good beer, so we've included a "Passport" feature that lets you store your own reviews and star ratings for the beers you try. Unlike apps that broadcast to others what you're drinking and where you're drinking it, Hip Hops will keep your notes private; they're yours and yours alone.
And, because this is a free, Web-based app and not under the control of the iTunes store, we can update it whenever we need to — such as when I've reviewed a new batch of beers, when bars and restaurants change their beer lists, or when you give us ideas for other cool improvements.
Here's how it works: From your smartphone, go to stltoday.com/beerapp or scan the QR code in the photo gallery on this page or in this week's Go! magazine. You'll get a pop-up reminder to mark the page on your home screen. Select "OK." IPhone users should then tap the arrow at the bottom of the screen, then select "Add to Home Screen." Now, you'll have the app's icon displayed on your screen for fast reference.
So why did we do this? Why did we want the Post-Dispatch to be the first newspaper with a beer app?
Because St. Louis' beer scene is exploding like a cask of overcarbonated ale. We've got new breweries popping up around town, out-of-state breweries clamoring to get their beers into our hands, and established local breweries producing some of the most exciting and innovative beers in their histories.
It's time consumers had a mobile tool to help sort the swill from the sublime and to keep them abreast of the latest happenings around town.
So next time you're at the beer shop or bar and can't decide what brew you want, take the Hip Hops app out of your pocket and ask me for a recommendation.
Centennial Beer Festival
• The third annual Centennial Beer Festival is this weekend at Moulin Events, 2017 Chouteau Avenue. Events include a beer dinner ($59) tonight hosted by St. Louis Brewery co-founder Dan Kopman and two tasting sessions with more than 80 beers available on Saturday, from 2 to 5 p.m. ($25) and 6 to 9 p.m. ($30). Both tastings will feature a VIP section with some high-alcohol and hard-to-find beers for an extra $15. For more information, call 314-241-4949 or visit centennialbeerfestival.com.