06 May 2013

The Map Series: How to Map Beer

How to Map Beer

In the first post of this series, I wrote about Why We Love Maps. Today we'll turn our attention to mapping something that many of us enjoy - beer. Beer is a great subject to map. It has a long and extensive history and can be found almost everywhere in the world. There are many different styles, and there are variations of those styles. Beer comes in a variety of colors from yellow (lightest) to black (darkest).

If you want to make a map of anything, it often helps to gather as much information as you can about that thing and then create a visual representation of the way it all relates. You can do the same thing with beer. Traditionally, maps are associated with land and people, but you can map beer if you can think of a way to display different points of data and their relationships.

I happen to enjoy beer in moderation because of its history, variety, taste, and effects. It takes time and precision to create good beer. There are even a lot of health benefits to drinking beer. If you're curious about how a Christian can enjoy alcohol, you should definitely read this theologically rich Series on Alcohol by Preston Sprinkle. He creatively titled the posts Wine, Beer, Cabernet Sauvignon, O'Doul's, and Belgium Trippel Ale. All of these things and more make beer worthy of mapping in my mind.

Here are three easy steps to get you started in the right direction towards creating your own beer map.


Get educated about beer by reading something like Beer 101 from Beer Advocate.


Get an Overview of Beer Styles and learn about Beer Styles in detail.


Learn the Colors of Beer. This chart makes it fairly simple to understand.

After you've done a lot of research, go find ways others are doing it to get some ideas. I've found a lot of creative ways people are mapping beer around the internet. Here are a few ideas.

1. The most traditional way to map beer is to create a map of places where you can find beer. You can display pubs, stores, and breweries.

2. You can also map different styles of beer, showing how they're related by taste, color or other factors.

3. Another way to map beer is by creating a map that shows where different styles of beers were first invented. I wasn't able to find a map like that, but I'm sure one exists.

Hopefully, you've enjoyed exploring all of this as much as I enjoyed gathering it. Let me know if you have any other ideas for mapping beer, other examples you've found, or maybe even something you created yourself. I'd love to add them to this page.

This post is Part II of the The Map Series: Why We Love Maps.

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