Right now, app developers George Taylor and Stephen Pond are somewhere in New Mexico, hoarding every malty bottle and hoppy can in sight for a project called the Beer Census. They’re almost at 20,000, maybe halfway toward their goal of amassing every beer in America, and they swear there’s more at work here than having super-hardcore RateBeer accounts — the beers are actually data for their ridiculously ambitious app, Next Glass, which will rate the chemical makeup of beers (wines, too) against your preferences, acting “kind of like Pandora for alcohol.”
There’s a very legit-looking lab involved where a team is currently analyzing 200 bottles a day through mass spectrometry. Taylor and Pond say this yields the beer’s molecular “fingerprint,” letting them get away from “relying on subjective descriptions and flowery tasting notes.” Better yet, they say: “There is no discrimination in science,” meaning “A small local distributor will have the same opportunity to be matched with someone’s taste preferences as Sierra Nevada.” Once it’s done, you will, according to this promo video, simply scan bottles with your smartphone to get a magical score that can even be compared with friends’ scores, to see if they’ll approve.
The app will launch sometime after they finish their cross-country beer run. But just one word of caution: Maybe don’t park your truck with those few thousand eclectic and rare brews at any Florida truck stops.