If you love beer, you quickly discover that something that should be simple, namely the appreciation of fermented grain, is a complicated, messy business. If champagne is more your thing, take a look at our review of these Moet mini champagne vending machines. Styles and marketing terms become interchangeable; breweries are bought out by other breweries; styles rise and just as quickly retire. And, most annoyingly, most breweries won’t tell you how fresh the beer is unless you know some rather arcane codes. Fresh Beer Only is an app that lifts the latter requirement.

Keep It Fresh

Despite marketing campaigns and some breweries putting the best possible date on their beer right on the label, some breweries don’t have the desire, or let’s be honest, the money, to custom print a date on every label. This is where bottling codes come into play.

Packaging codes are deliberately unreadable to the consumer; they only exist to help warehouses and stores know when to rotate their stock, so basically it’s not information you really need to know. But! Thanks to Fresh Beer Only, a group of beer nerds who took the time to decode these arcane bits, you can fairly reliably determine when a beer was bottled and shipped.

Does It Work?

spin chill beer cooler tool

Human cheapness being what it is, you’re probably wondering if it works. Well, I paid the $1.32 the app costs, and tested it out. And it nailed it, every brand, every single time, even the more obscure regional beers I drink.

It’s not perfect, mind you; reading these codes is as much art as science. And if bottling codes shift, which they can do with surprising speed, you might be working with flawed information. But if you love beer, and more importantly want the freshest beer, it’s a key app for your phone.

Christen Costa

Grew up back East, got sick of the cold and headed West. Since I was small I have been pushing buttons - both electronic and human. With an insatiable need for tech I thought "why not start a blog focusing on technology, and use my dislikes and likes to post on gadgets."

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