Maps are a fundamental development of the modern world. They allow us to orient ourselves in new environments and allow us to communicate locations to others. As beer travelers we rely on maps endlessly to get us from pint A to pint B. Yet maps are good for more than just directions to future destinations they also work beautifully to track where you have been.
Sure, it’s great to keep a list of your beer visits but it is another issue entirely to see this list in context. Despite the fact that we experience our travels linearly through time, we actually tend to remember them spatially. There is a certain feeling of awe you get when looking back on the places you been and reminiscing on the things you have done. So what is a beer traveler to do to get started mapping their travels? There are two easy methods for plotting your travels with maps: analog and digital.
Going with the physical map is pretty easy but requires a little set-up. Pick up a road/world map that covers the places you have been and plan to go, mount it to some foam core and use push pins to mark your conquests. If you go this route it would be best to make some tags to label the brewery and possibly the date so your map doesn’t become a cluster of anonymous pin heads.
If you want to skip the tags you could pick up Pop Chart Labs gigantic map of US breweries. They plot over 2,500 breweries on a giant 60″x40″ wall map that looks really sharp. The downside is with the growth of craft beer is that any printed brewery map is going to be out of date the moment it is printed. Still this is a high quality print and beautifully executed.
Just imagine having giant map on your loving room wall that shows everywhere you have been. You will no longer have to initiate conversation on your beer travels as guests will simply look at the map and ask “what did you think of Brooklyn?”
If you want something a little more dynamic that you can easily share with friends and fellow beer travelers you will want to track your visits digitally. Google Maps is great for this as you can create custom maps that are easy to embed into emails, web pages, and blog posts. Here’s what ours looks like:
View The Roaming Pint in a larger map
This short tutorial will show you how to create a custom map with Google Maps.
Create a New Map
1. Go to google.com/maps
2. Sign in to your Google account or create one if you don’t have one already.
3. Click on the search box and then click on “My Custom Maps” in the drop down menu. Then click “Create”.
4. Click on “Untitled map” to name your map.
Use a title you will recognize like “Bob’s Beer Travels” or if you have website use your site name like ours is “The Roaming Pint’s Beer Travels”.
Save your changes.
5. Now comes the fun part, adding your breweries. Click in the search box and start searching. Once you have found a destination, click on it to expand the details and then click the “add to map” link.
It has now been added to your map and will show up in the locations list on the left. If you need to edit the entry click on name or pin and select the edit icon.
That’s all it takes to get started mapping your beer adventures. However, it is important to think about what you are mapping and create a system for tagging before you tag all your breweries. Depending on what the purpose of the map is will depend on how you structure it.
We like to use a color system for different types of destinations, but in reality you could get away with two main beer destination types. Those you have visited and those you haven’t. We like to record beer suggestions that we get from fellow beer geeks on our map, but distinguish them by using a red icon instead of the green one we use for visited locations.
The point being that at any point you can pull up your map and see where you have been and the areas that you would like to go. When I add a new entry I like to leave a note in the comments box of 1. Who gave me the recommendation 2. What they had to say about it or if they gave me personal recommendation like “you have to have the barrel aged Russian Imperial Stour” or “ask for Ben, he’s Kevin’s buddy from high school and he’ll show you around the place”.
Once I have visited a destination I’ll change the icon to indicate it has been visited and I’ll leave my own notes about the place. There are no hard or fast rules to what kind of notes you should take. Every one has different things they are interested in. I’ll usually leave a note on how many taps they had, the atmosphere, and any interesting facts that we pick up while conversing with the bar tender or local patron. These notes are especially useful after you have visited been beer traveling for awhile as your beer visits aren’t all as distinct as you think they are at the time.
Sharing and your map is as easy as clicking the “Share” button in the right hand corner which will give you a link to your map as well as other sharing options.
To embed a map click the folder icon under your title and select the “embed on my site” option. (you will have to set the map to Public” in the Share box before you can embed) and you’ll get a nice chunk of code to copy and paste onto the appropriate page on your site. If the default size of 640px x480px is not to your liking, you can change those values in the code to make it bigger or smaller.
So that is how to create your very own beer travel map and track your visits.
[box type=”note”]We love seeing other traveler’s maps so we want to offer some incentive to get started. If you leave a comment below with a link to your map you will be entered into our a random drawing to win your choice of two items from our Brewery Swag Stockpile. There just might be special bonus for the person with the most destinations.
A winner will be chosen on Monday March 3rd. If you already have a map you can enter it. If you made a map on something other than Google, add that too. We just want to see where people are beer traveling.[/box]