I Drank 1,000 Beers!

Analyzing my Untappd data after trying 1,000 unique beers.

This article was tagged with: Beer

There are 3118 words in this article, and it will probably take you less than 16 minutes to read it.

This article was published 2023-12-17 00:00:00 -0500, which makes this post and me old when I published it.


Background

The funny thing is that I didn’t really like beer all that much when I first started. A lot of my father’s side of the family are big craft beer drinkers so I was always around it, but never really understood it. Beer is absolutely an acquired taste, but there are ways to ease yourself into it. You can read more about it in my article about how to get into beer and why to get into beer. For me, I kept exposing myself to IPAs and eventually getting over the unfamiliar tastes while simultaneously finding beers with flavor profiles I liked more. I’m now at the point where I love the taste of (good) beer and trying new ones. You can read my articles about buying and trying more beer if you want to hit a similar number of beers tried as me. I think I should put a disclaimer here that I log any beer that I have tasted, and I do not drink the entirety of all my beers. Additionally, f I can help it, I like to get smaller pours at breweries/bars, as well as share cans with other people.

How did I get this data and these results?

My data was a JSON file that I was able to directly export from Untappd. They have a GDPR export feature, but it seems like that is only for people who live in GDPR-compliant countries. Instead I had to pay for their Untappd Insiders program for the ability to download my data. I did not appreciate this step, but I thought that for as much as I’ve used the app I could do a one-time purchase of a month of Insider so I could download my data. For charting, I used roughViz for the hand-drawn aesthetic. If you’re wondering why I chose to do bar charts, I was in part influenced by this article about how line charts lie to you.

I wrote a series of quick Python functions to analyze my Untappd data, and for such a quickly thrown together program I think that it’s pretty nifty. With that being said, I’m thinking of doing it via Pandas in a Jupyter notebook in the future to make it easier for myself. This will have the added benefit of opening it up for other people to use and improve on.

This is just an vertical slice of my code since I don’t feel like publishing it in full:

# read JSON file and load as dict
with open("beers.json", "r") as f:
    data = json.loads(f.read())

# group data by an Untappd check-in property
def group_by(data, key):
    grouping = {}

    # group data
    for entry in data:
        if entry[key] not in grouping:
            grouping[entry[key]] = []

        grouping[entry[key]].append(entry)

    return grouping

# print an ordered list of # of beers in grouped data
def print_ordered_list(data):
    # print grouping
    index = 1
    for entry, v in sorted(data.items(), key=lambda p:len(p[1]), reverse=True):
        print(f"{index}. {entry} - {len(v)}  ")

        index += 1

# get top cities of breweries in Maryland I drank from
print_ordered_list(
    group_by(
        group_by(data, "brewery_state").get("MD"),
        "brewery_city"
    )
)

# get list of breweries in Baltimore, MD that I drank from
print_ordered_list(
    group_by(
        group_by(
            group_by(data, "brewery_state").get("MD"),
            "brewery_city"
        ).get("Baltimore"),
        "brewery_name"
    )
)

What was the pace of my 1000 beers drank?

I joined Untappd on August 21st, 2021 most likely at the behest of my cousin Marissa, and I had my 1000th beer on December 3rd, 2023. This means that it took 2 years, 3 months, and 13 days to drink 1000 beers, which is about 1.2 beers every day since August 21st, 2021. I did not drink a beer every day from August 2021 to now, but I do have a beer most nights with the occasional trip to a brewery or bar where I get to taste multiple beers in a single sitting. I turned 21 in July of 2021, so my Untappd data has the added property of being an accurate record of pretty much every single beer I’ve ever drank (maybe excluding some Bud Light or similar things).

I had a slow start but quickly picked up velocity as you can see by the numbers. When I first started Untappd I didn’t really take craft beer seriously but slowly as I began to drink more craft beer I became more interested in beer and breweries.

I only had 7 beers in total and I imagine the December number is from Christmas with my dad’s side of the family where I was able to sample a few different beers. I wasn’t a huge fan of a lot of them, but it was good exposure for me.

2022 was the year where I started to really identify as a craft beer lover. That timing coincides with the middle of the year where you see the number of beers I was trying per month increase. Ever since that spike in June-July of 2022 I have kept steadily above 30 beers/month.

There’s nothing really to say about this graph except for December. I have been going at my normal pace this December, but the reason for its stark difference from the other months is because the data cut-off is December 3rd, 2023. I did this because that is when I had my 1000th beer and I only wanted to analyze those 1000 beers.

Beer

How much have I spent on beer?

Let’s assume:

  • Cans are an average of $6, these are 16oz craft cans for the most part so they can get to be pretty expensive depending on the store and brewery.
  • Bottles are the same prices as cans at $6.
  • Draft prices are an average of $8, except when they are from a self-tap place, and those will be $3.
  • Tasters are free unless they are from a self-tap place, and those will be $3.
  • For most serving types I got them from other people 20% of the time.

Calculations:

  • $2,073.60 on drafts = (359 drafts - 35 drafts at self-tap) * 80% * $8
  • $2,121.60 on cans = 442 cans * 80% * $6
  • $324.00 on bottles = 54 bottles * $6
  • $168.00 on beer from self-tap = (35 drafts at self-tap + 21 tasters at self-tap) * $3
  • $4,687.20 total spent on beer

I’m not quite sure what to make of this figure; I don’t really believe it, but at the same time it feels intuitively plausible to me. Drinking is such a social activity that a lot, if not most, of these beers were shared with others. Similarly, a lot of them I got from other people or for free at various events.

What beer styles did I drink the most of?

I’ve tried 97 different beer styles, but these are my top 10 styles. These are all the styles I like the most, but I would say that Sour IPAs are my most favorite style; it’s only so low because not many people brew that particular style.

Ranking Style # of Beers
1 IPA - New England / Hazy 169
2 IPA - American 146
3 IPA - Imperial / Double 82
4 IPA - Imperial / Double New England / Hazy 69
5 Sour - Fruited 63
6 Sour - Fruited Gose 44
7 Pale Ale - American 28
7 IPA - Session 28
9 Fruit Beer 24
10 IPA - Sour 22

How did I drink my beer?

Ranking Serving Type # of Beers
1 Can 442
2 Draft 359
3 Taster 103
4 Bottle 54
5 Not Recorded 43

Ratings

How much of the beer have I actually liked?

I’ve written an article about why and how I rate beer on Untappd. From that article: “4+ is order again for me, 3+ is drink again if I had to, 2- is would not drink again.” This means that I really enjoyed about 36% of the beers, 57% of the beer I thought was just alright, and actively did not like 6% of the beers I tried.

I think that these numbers are generally indicative of both my tastes and breweries in general. Most beers are drinkable, it is not very often that I find a beer that I think is actively not well crafted. Some beers’ taste do not agree with me, but I stay away from those so I don’t have to subject myself to it and it to a bad rating.

What is my distribution of ratings?

Unimodal, non-uniform distribution because I don’t rate at assume 2.50 to be the average rating because of things like rating inflation as well as knowledge of the material/social consequences of ratings. My ratings skew higher because I order/buy beers that I think I will like so most of them I like or narrowly miss the mark.

Breweries

I’ve tried beer from 349 breweries across 36 U.S. states (see map below) and 10 countries (United States, Canada, Germany, Japan, Scotland, Belgium, Austria, Sweden, Iceland, and Denmark).

US Beer Map

Where in the U.S. did I drink from the most?

This is my Top 10 states with the Top 3 cities in those states, and then a selection of the breweries located in those cities. This does not cover all the beers/breweries/cities from that state, but I think that it is a good enough representation.

  1. Maryland - 207
    1. Baltimore - 69 (Nepenthe, Ministry of Brewing, Checkerspot, Mobtown, Pariah, etc.)
    2. Odenton - 19 (Crooked Crab)
    3. Columbia - 17 (Black Flag, Hysteria, etc.)
  2. Virginia - 198
    1. Richmond - 51 (Väsen, The Veil, Hardywood, etc.)
    2. Alexandria - 26 (Aslin)
    3. Charlottesville - 16 (Three Notch’d )
  3. New York - 122
    1. Brooklyn - 51 (Other Half, Grimm, KCBC, etc.)
    2. Utica - 10 (Flying Dog since they moved out of MD)
    3. Beacon - 8 (Industrial Arts, Hudson Valley)
  4. Pennsylvania - 51
    1. Philadelphia - 16 (Yards, Evil Genius, Triple Bottom, etc.)
    2. Hershey - 4 (Tröegs)
    3. Downingtown - 4 (South County)
  5. California - 42
    1. Chico - 9 (Sierra Nevada)
    2. Petaluma - 6 (Lagunitas)
    3. Escondido - 5 (Stone)
  6. DE - 42
    1. Lewes - 15 (Big Oyster)
    2. Dewey Beach - 12 (Dewey Beer)
    3. Milton - 8 (Dogfish Head)
  7. NJ - 29
    1. Cape May - 12 (Cape May Brewing)
    2. Somers Point - 5
    3. Fairfield - 3
  8. MA - 29
    1. Boston - 11 (Samuel Adams, Harpoon)
    2. East Weymouth - 6 (Vitamin Sea)
    3. Canton - 5 (Trillium)
  9. DC - 25
    1. Washington DC (Atlas Brew Works, Red Bear, Lost Generation, Right Proper, DC Brau)
  10. ME - 25
    1. Portland - 15 (Belleflower, Lone Pine, Allagash)
    2. Freeport - 7 (Maine Beer Company)
    3. Westbrook - 2 (Mast Landing)

I’m so glad that Maryland is my top state and Baltimore is my top city because they are both severely underrated beer locales in my opinion. I was surprised by California the most because all the other entries on my list were on the East Coast. With me being on the East Coast it is understandably harder to get a lot of West Coast beer over here, but for CA in particular there are a lot of big craft players with immense national distribution.

What breweries did I drink from the most?

These are my Top Breweries by # Beers Tried (Top 10 w/ Ties). These are all breweries that I’ve been to in person, so it makes sense that I would have been able to try a lot of their stuff. I have also been able to enjoy cans from a lot of these places because they are close enough for me to be in the distribution area, or I’ve been to areas where they were in distribution. I would say that a lot of these are my favorite breweries, but not all of them. You can find my list here.

Ranking Brewery Location # of Beers
1 Other Half Brewing Co. Brooklyn, NY 31
2 Aslin Beer Company Alexandria, VA 23
3 Väsen Brewing Company Richmond, VA 19
3 Crooked Crab Brewing Company Odenton, MD 19
5 The Veil Brewing Co. Richmond, VA 18
6 Nepenthe Brewing Co. Baltimore, MD 16
7 Big Oyster Brewery Lewes, DE 15
8 Burley Oak Brewing Company Berlin, MD 14
9 Dewey Beer Company Dewey Beach, DE 12
9 Cape May Brewing Co. Cape May, NJ 12

Venue

This data may not be entirely accurate because I am bad at tagging locations, but more so at the beginning of my Untappd usage. This list is ranked by number of check-ins at that location, with ties listed underneath.

Where are my favorite places to drink?

These are my favorite non-brewery venues. I excluded brewery taprooms from here because I feel like it wasn’t fair to this category which I wanted to be more about bars and restaurants.

Ranking Venue Type Location # of Beers
1 Neo Pizza & Taphouse Self-Pour & Restaurant Columbia, MD 28
2 Tap99 Self-Pour & Restaurant Navy Yard, Washington D.C. 18
3 Ballston Local Bar & Restaurant Arlington, VA 17
4 Quincy Hall Bar & Restaurant Arlington, VA 12
5 Tapster - Philadelphia Self-Pour Philadelphia, PA 11
6 World Of Beer Beer Bar & Restaurant Arlington, VA 10
7 Phoenix Upper Main Bar & Restaurant Ellicott City, MD 8
7 The White Oak Tavern Bar & Restaurant Ellicott City, MD 8
9 The Bronson Bierhall Beer Hall Arlington, VA 5
10 ChurchKey Beer Hall Logan Circle, Washington D.C. 4

Neo Pizza doesn’t surprise me at all as it was the place that introduced me to the self-pour tap system and is close to my parent’s house back home. As for The World of Beer, sadly that location in Ballston closed down early 2023 otherwise it would have probably been higher. Lastly, I feel like ChurchKey should be higher as I’ve been there a couple times and they have a good selection, but I think I may have just forgotten to log beers that I’ve tried from my friends.

Closing

I had a really fun time analyzing the beers I’ve drank; Untappd has some analytics built into the platform, but I’ve always found them a bit lacking. I’m going to continue playing around with my data and potentially update this article with more content in the future, if not I’ll see you for 2,000 beers!


Other Beer Articles

How do I decide my favorite breweries?

An exploration of what it means to have a favorite brewery in the face of imperfection and changing tastes.

What Makes A Great Brewery Experience?

There are a lot of good breweries, but what makes one great?

How to Try More Beer

Various ways to try more craft beer and fill out that Untappd profile.

Why Get Into Beer?

Reasons why you should give beer a chance.

My Favorite Breweries

A list of my favorite breweries grouped by personal enjoyment and quality of beer.


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