Smartphones are part of everyday life, especially in Los Angeles, and with LA Beer Week beginning we’ve rounded up some apps that will help you stay safe, sane, and make the most out of the festivities!
Social Media has been a huge part of the rise of craft beer in recent years, and the craft beer industry is one of the best examples of driving engagement and interactions with customers. You don’t have to be a social media butterfly to benefit from being connected, but having a Twitter and/or Facebook account set-up to follow the breweries you are interested in and the venues hosting the events that you’re planning to attend can be very helpful. Also be sure to follow us and the Official LA Beer Week Twitter account to stay informed.
There are many options for Twitter clients on both Android and iOS, and hours before the start of LA Beer Week is probably not the best time to try to figure out how to work a new app, so just go with your old stand-by.
However, if you’ve been resisting the whole Instagram thing, now might be a good time to download the app and try it out. You are bound to have lots of opportunities to take shots of the new beers you’ll try and the new friends you’ll make!
Off-Load Details from Your Memory
There is going to be a lot of beer, and a lot of new faces, and a lot of new places in the coming days. When you are packing a pocket-sized computer that’s always connected to the internet you don’t stress about remembering all this info!
Remember the Beers with Untapped
There are a couple of options for logging and tracking which beers you’ve sampled, but our favorite is the excellent Untappd. We’ve discussed it before, and it is a blend of a beer review database and a location-aware social network. You can “check in” to beers and venues, take photos, and see what your friends or people near-by are drinking. You can also earn badges for everything from drinking 10 different hefeweizens to drinking 10 different beers in a row, and everybody loves getting a badge! There is even a special LA Beer Week badge to get you started! Follow me at octopushat.
Remember The People (and Everything Else) with Evernote
Evernote is an extremely powerful suite of tools that lets you do everything from record audio notes, to capture webpages to read later, to sharing your collections of notes, pictures, and other digital ephemera. The app is a personal favorite, and it’s scope it much larger than we can cover here, but there are two really helpful features that you could use during LA Beer Week: Evernote Hello, and Evernote Food.
These are each mini apps that let you take photos and add relevant information to the pics. For example, with Hello you can snap a pic of the new friend you made in line at the beer festival, then associate that picture to a photo of their business card or their contact info in your phone. The LA Beer sense isn’t that big, and you tend to keep running into the same faces. Evernote Hello helps you remember the names and other details (even favorite beer) that go with the faces.
Of course you could always just make a note of a new awesome beer that you’ve discovered, or create a wishlist of things you want to try, or snap a picture of the festival map so you can easily refer to it on your phone. The app’s flexibility is one of its strongest features, and as a writer it is one of my most used tools. I’d wager that you would find it very useful as well.
Get Home Safe
Of course more important than remember the name of that delicious sour or dream bartender is getting home in one piece!
LA’s public transportation system is growing, and it is getting better fast. With the new lines and new stops that have been added or expanded it is pretty easy to get confused and overwhelmed though. Thankfully, Metro has a collection of useful tools and apps that can help you navigate the system. Their site also lists a collection of thrid-party apps that you can download. Take a look and load up your phone with at least the Metro Mobile app.
If you haven’t ridden Metro in a few months you should know that ticketing has also recently changed, and you can no longer purchase single-ride tickets for trains. Be sure you either have a TAP card or you give your self an extra couple of minute to get one at the station!
When public transportation isn’t an option our favorite mobile app for eHailing a cab is Taxi Magic. No waiting on the line for a dispatcher, no confusing attempts to direct the dispatcher from a loud bar, and no worries about having cash on hand. The app lets you request a pick-up, monitor your designated ride’s progress, and even pay via credit card right from within the app! One of the few apps on my phone that is a true life saver!
Find My Phone
We’ve all had those adventurous outings that seem to blur by in a stream of awesome times and then realised we’d made it home without our sunglasses, wallet, keys, or phone. While there isn’t much you can do if you lose the dumber items thankfully smart phones are another story. There are a few apps that can help you recover a lost phone, and we like Apple’s Find My iPhone for iOS and Prey for Android.
Just make sure you take the time to install and set these apps up before you hit the town. It is much harder to find you are not prepared for it (plus, Murphy’s Law dictates that if you prepare to lose your phone then you won’t actually ever lose it. So you win either way!)
Tech Is Smart, Be Smart About Tech
While smartphones are a useful and ubiquitous item in LA today, it is easy to get too wrapped up in what’s on the pocket-sized screen and miss what’s going on in front of your face. Beer is social, and LA Beer Week is about being social and enjoying beer, so be aware of hoe much of your time and energy you’re spending with your phone-in-hand. If you’re on the introvert-side it is easy to fall into the trap of using your phone as an excuse to not socialize, and if you’re more social and outgoing it is easy to want to always feel that connection to your friends in cyberspace and ignore the people in the “real world.”
Phones are tools and toys, and while LA Beer Week is a great time to use them to get more out of the festivities try to have your phone in your pocket more often than in your hand.
Do you have any favorite smart phone apps that would be useful during LA Beer Week, or different alternatives to the apps we’ve mentioned? Let’s hear about them in the comments!