Friday, March 13, 2009

How to use Twitter to spot DC beers

Warning #1: tech geek alert.
Warning #2: Washington, D.C. area beer geek alert.

Say you're sitting in Mahaffeys Pub (Baltimore, Md.), or Olney Ale House (Montgomery County, Md.), or RFD (Washington, D.C.), or the Fredericksburg Pub (Fredericksburg, Va.), or any good beer bar in the Washington, D.C./Baltimore/northern Virginia area. You see Bells Hop Slam on draft, or Terrapin Rye Squared in Annapolis, or a firkin of Flying Dog Snake Dog just tapped, or something else unique or delicious.

So you Tweet —that is post to the Twitter website— your beer discovery. Maybe one person (or persons) notices it and reTweets your message, and then someone else reTweets that, and so on. The network could easily balloon, alerting many DC/Baltimore/northern Virginia area good beer lovers to your discovery.

Facebook vs. Twitter

Where Facebook is exclusionary —you must invite or allow people to see your page— Twitter is inclusionary —anyone can see your posts, unless you exclude them. A Tweet, therefore, is the equivalent of one text message sent to many people.

So, step one on your road to beer/tech geekdom would be to open a Twitter account. It's free.

Lambic and Twitter

Then, go one step further.

UPDATE 2013: Things change; tech things change quickly. Mr Shtuhl no longer is an active reporter of the DC beer scene. Better to search Twitter using the hash tags #DCbrews and #DCbeer; and for Maryland, #MDbeer; for Virginia, #VAbeer.


Orr Shtuhl, a beer writer for the Washington City Paper, has created a Twitter account called beerspotter.

When you Tweet your beer discovery, begin it with "@beerspotter" without the quotation marks (or at any point in your 140 character Tweet). Orr then re-posts all those Tweets in real time, in one place, at

To read all the beerspottings, use Twitter search for "@beerspotter" or "beerspotter" or follow@beerspotter through Twitter. (See how in the next paragraph.)

If you're still with me ...

At your Twitter account, search for "beerspotter" (without the quotation marks). Once you find it, look for the box entitled "Follow" (that is, receive all his Tweets) and click it. You can even choose to follow beerspotter on your cell phone. (That's a bit more involved. Look for "Settings", then "Devices", and follow the instructions.)

Now, the magic begins.

Whenever a fellow DC good beer fan Tweets about his/her find at a local bar or store, you'll be notified at your Twitter web page, and as a text message on your cell phone. All of this is easier than it sounds.

Even without a Twitter account

You can see all the postings of beer discoveries simplyby going to beerspotter's Twitter page: All the postings also appear on the City Paper website at .
Beerspotter could be a model for any other city or region.

A few recent beerspotter Tweets:
  • flyingdog: RT @beerspotter: via @Cizauskas: Flying Dog Garde Dog just put on tap at Evening Star Cafe in Alexandria, VA.
  • beerspotter: via @angryJohnny: Southern Tier Oaked Unearthly Imperial IPA & Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout on tap at Galaxy Hut, 2711 Wilson Blvd., Arlington
  • beerspotter: via @beerandpork: Bell's Porter and Gouden Carolus D'Or at Nanny O'Briens
Warning #3: even geekier alert.

Orr Shtuhl is using GroupTweet. So when you post a beer spotting, you should Tweet it to Beerspotter only as a Direct Message and without hashmarks such as @beerspotter or #beerspotter.  Read more at: Join the Beerspotter Twitter Feed Army.

Read more about Twitter:


  1. Tom, kudos for the post; for your spots on the Beerspotter Twitter feed; and for explaining things about Twitter that I can only pretend to know. Thanks to you and all your readers, we all drink better fermentables. Cheers,

    Orr Shtuhl
    Washington City Paper

  2. THIS is a geek / beer geek's dream post!
    I love it.

    Unfortunately, I'm in Baltimore :(


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