16 gadgets and services for beer nerds

From an automated bartender to an automated homebrewing system or a home delivery beer service -- there's something here for everyone.
By Jason Cipriani, Contributing Writer
1 of 17 Getty Images/iStockphoto

Beer nerds will 16 gadgets and services for beer nerds

Beer remains one of the most popular drinks in the world, a claim to fame that won't slow down anytime soon. Along with the craft beer boom we've experienced over the past decade, gadget makers and app developers have developed products geared toward beer nerds.

From an automated bartender to an automated homebrewing system or a home delivery beer service -- there's something for everyone.

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Disclosure: ZDNet earns commissions from some of the products featured in this gallery.

2 of 17 Jason Cipriani/ZDNet


See it now: Untapped on Android and iOS

A staple of any beer lover is Untappd. The social network lets you read up on new brews, check into and rate brews you've had, and comment on your friends' beers. 

You can also unlock badges based on the style of beer you drink, where you drink beer, and around holidays. 

Untappd is available for free on Android and iOS.

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3 of 17 Image: Bottlekeeper


See it now: Bottlekeeper on Amazon

Keeping beer cold during the summer months is a challenge. Bottlekeeper looks like a water bottle built for the outdoors, but instead of keeping your water cold, it keeps your bottled beer nice and chilly for up to six hours, depending on the model. 

There are various colors and sizes for different bottle shapes. There's even a model for bomber bottles. 

Did I mention the lid doubles as a bottle opener? Brilliant! 

Pricing starts at $35.

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4 of 17 Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

DIY Temp Controller

See it now: Fermentrack

For homebrewers who have moved into controlling the temperature of a fermentation chamber, there are a lot of options. I started with an Inkbird temp controller, moved on to a DIY glycol chiller, and more recently have gone back to fermenting in a refrigerator that uses a Fermentrack temp controller. 

Fermentrack is consistently updated (unlike the legacy BrewPi branch), and the documentation is some of the best I've seen for a homebrew DIY project. If you want something to do with that Raspberry Pi you have lying around and are in need of a temp controller, here you go. 

Oh, and if you decided to get a Tilt hydrometer, Fermentrack supports it.

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5 of 17 Chris Monroe/CNET


See it now: Barsys

Don't host a party and worry about bartending. Instead, a cool $1,050 gets you a robot bartender that can mix up to 2,000 cocktails with the press of a button. 

You can place up to five bottles of your favorite liquor and three mixers into the machine, then guests can pick from a list of drinks in the Android or iOS app. Less than 20-seconds later, there's a mixed drink poured and ready for consumption. 

As CNET's review showed, Barsys is good at making basic cocktail recipes. If nothing else the Barsys will give your guests something to talk about.

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6 of 17 Image: PourMyBeer


See it now: Pour My Beer

Being a beer nerd means always wanting to try different beers. Doing that in a bar setting, one pint at a time leads to nothing but trouble and headaches. Instead of heading to your local pub, use this map to find a nearby spot that uses PourMyBeer's tech. 

A tablet on the wall gives you details about a beer, and if you want to try it, you simply tap an RFID-equipped card to the tablet and pour as many ounces of beer as you want. Just want an ounce? Cool! Want a full 16? Well, that's cool too.

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7 of 17 Image: GrowlerWerks


See it now: uKeg on Amazon

Getting a growler of beer from your favorite brewery is convenient, there's an inherent problem with growlers. As soon as you open then, oxygen gets inside the bottle and it begins to oxidize your beer. 

Enter GrowlerWerks and its uKeg product. The pressurized growler keeps your beer fresh and the CO2 cartridges push the beer out of the built-in tap so you can serve your beer without exposure to oxygen. 

They come in 64oz and 128oz capacities, ranging in price from $149 to $250 depending on size and finish.

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8 of 17 Image: Proper Starter, courtesy of MoreBeer

Propper Starter

See it now: Propper Starter on MoreBeer

The process of making a yeast starter as a homebrewer is a chore. You have to heat water, add DME, boil it, then let it chill before pitching your yeast. Save yourself some time and use the pre-made wort that comes in a 16oz can. 

Propper Starter can be found for a few dollars per can, depending on where you get your homebrew supplies from. 

I've been using Propper Starter for my last five batches of beer and have experienced some of the most active starters I've ever seen. You can get a four pack for $13 in MoreBeer.

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9 of 17 Image: RoboBrew, courtesy of Amazon

RoboBrew V3

See it now: RoboBrew V3

For homebrewers who want to get into all grain brewing without spending a ton of cash on fancy equipment, the Robobrew is a good middle of the road setup. 

It's electric, so you can brew indoors during the colder months. You also don't have to worry about getting your stove dirty or running out of propane. It includes a pump for recirculating and a wort chiller for $479.

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10 of 17 Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/ZDNet


See it now: Saucey

If you're planning a party and would rather not have to visit the liquor store, Saucey has your back. In select cities, you can have your boozy goods delivered in about 30 minutes. For those outside of the devilry areas, you can order beer, wine, and spirits for delivery to your front door.

Those on-demand cities are Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland, San Diego, Sacramento, and Chicago. 

Outside of that area, you're looking at 2-day ground shipping.

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11 of 17 Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/ZDNet


See it now: Taplist.io

One of my favorite parts of brewing my own beer is getting to share it with others. Instead of using dry erase markers or a turning the top of your kegerator into a chalkboard, Taplist.io is a simple and fun project to create your own tap list. 

You'll need a spare computer monitor or TV and a Fire TV or a Raspberry Pi to get started. The service itself is free and only takes a few minutes to get set up, depending on which setup route you go.

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12 of 17 (Image: Tilt Hydrometer on Amazon)

Tilt Hydrometer

See it now: Hydrometer on Amazon

Those who brew their own beer at home who want to incorporate a bit of technology into the brewing process, look no further than the Tilt hydrometer. This small gadget measures the temperature of your fermenting beer, along with the specific gravity so you can monitor the fermentation process of your beer. It then takes that info and, connecting to a Raspberry Pi or nearby phone or tablet via Bluetooth, charts the information in a Google Sheet. 

It's a pricey gadget at $135 on Amazon, but for those who like having more data, it's worth it.

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13 of 17 Image: PicoBrew


See it now: PicoBrew

If you want a hands-off automated approach to making beer at home, PicoBrew is for you. The small machine does everything, from mashing to boiling, to transferring the wort into a keg that doubles as a fermentation vessel. You pitch the yeast, and in a couple of weeks have beer ready to drink. 

Plug the machine in, add water, insert a PicoPak and press a button. Once it's all said and done, you have a homemade beer. 

PicoBrew models range in price, depending on size, but you can expect to pay around $600 for one that includes everything you need. If it's legal where you live, there's even a PicoStill for making your own liquor.

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14 of 17 Image: Fizzics

Fizzics DraftPour

See it now: Fizzics DraftPour on Amazon

Take a bottle or can of beer and place it in a Fizzics DraftPour, then pour into a glass. During the pour, Fizzics uses sound waves to bring out some of the aromas and provide a nitro-style draft pour of beer. 

I've been testing one of these for a few weeks and can say it does seem to bring out more hop flavor and aroma, especially in IPA. 

The DraftPour is the company's third-generation model and fits cans and bottles of all sizes. It all now works via wall adapter or 2 AA batteries. 

You can get it for $129 on Amazon.

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15 of 17 Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/ZDNet


See it now: Tavour

Looking for hard to get beers? Or beers that simply aren't available in your area? Tavour to the rescue.

After signing up for an account you'll begin to receive emails with different beers that Tavour has on hand. Add the beers you want to try to your order, and when the window closes pay your tab. A few days later a box of beers show up at your door.

Drink. Rinse. Repeat.

You don't have to pay anything to sign up, and you only pay for what you end up ordering.

I've used Tavour a handful of times and have zero complaints about the experience -- from the selection to the delivery guy.

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16 of 17 Image: BACTrack


See it now: BACTrack on Amazon

Safety first, right? Every beer lover needs a personal breathalyzer. The BACTrack breathalyzers rely on Bluetooth to connect to a smartphone app to track your readings, or can display your results in real time on a small screen.

BACTrack will even give you a countdown timer to let you know when you'll sober up. 

The BACTrack C8 is $99 on Amazon, but worth the cost when you consider the impact of getting behind the wheel when you've had too much to drink.

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17 of 17 Image: HQY

HQY Magnet-Automatic Beer Bottle Opener

See it now: HQY on Amazon

Bottle openers are a dime a dozen. Almost all of them look identical and work in the same manner. But the HQY Magnet-Automatic Beer Bottle Opener is unique. 

You place the bottle opener over the bottle, press down, and lift up. The bottle's lid is removed, and a magnet holds the cap in place. The entire process is fun and different and you don't have to worry about finding a lost cap. 

Best of all? It's only $7 on Amazon.

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