Amazon Alexa Skills & Beer: Not There Yet

Alexa Skills Amazon Echo Ed M Morris

By Editor In Chief/Lord Of Words Ed M Morris

Yesterday I opened my mailbox to find that the Pints Templars Stein (get yours here) I ordered had arrived. It is big and hefty, as it should be. Now to decide what to put in it.

I have an Amazon Echo Dot. I mostly use it for timers, checking the weather, seeing what movies are playing, nothing mind blowing. I like it a lot, it is as close to being on a Starship as I will ever get. Yes I changed the activation name from Alexa to Computer as soon as it was available.

My Echo Dot, hiding behind all the Challenge Coins

Maybe it was time to see if it could help me find a craft beer recommendation. Here is what I found:

BeerGeek - While it didn't fall into the recommend me a beer category, it does offer facts and trivia. I asked it for a beer fact and the response was "grains are crushed before brewing". Kind of basic, but ok. 

Beer Snob - Now according to the skill description Beer Snob should be able to tell me the brewery that brews the beer, the beer style, and the user rating score from just by providing the beer name. Sounds just like something useful. Except I couldn't get it to work. I enabled it, used the activation words and got back "Can't find this skill". I disabled it, restarted my Dot, re-enabled it and still nothing. While promising, this was a dead end.

At this point I tried about 5 more, all dead skills, so I wanted something to cheer me up, a beer related game might work...

Beer Goggles - After enabling the skills and activating it, Beer Goggles will ask you a few questions (Do you have clothes on? Are you the designated driver? Do you want to have your clothes off? Are you the only one at the Bar?) to determine if you should have a drink. I found it a little amusing, it was a bit tame. Now back to finding a skill to help me find a beer recommendation, or just even tell me about a beer.

Beer Genius - From the skill description: "This app is designed to give useful information about a beer. It will give the name, abv, style, brewery name and location, and the brewer's description about the beer." we see about that. "Computer, ask Beer Genius about Pliny the Elder".  "I didn't catch that, what beer would you like to know about?" I tried about 20 different beers, and not one answer. 

Now I just want a positive result on any beer information, anything. One more try.

Beer Bot - This sounds like it could be the one: "Do you need an assistant to help you with what beers to try out? The Beer Bot is a helper that performs research for you on what types of beers are available as well as what microbreweries serve it up. With data from more than one thousand microbreweries from across the United States, the Beer Bot application can be your own personal assistant." I enabled it, asked it to find me a beer, it then asked me my location, I gave it, it then listed all the cities it had info on. Mine was not on it, not surprising, I live in a small town (but we do have two Craft Breweries). New York City is near enough, so I provided that. After it listed all the beer styles in NYC, I selected a style and asked for a list of bars that offered them. Answer was none. I go through all that and get a null answer. Done.

I like my Echo Dot and some of the non beer related skills I have on it, it just isn't developed enough (at least in the beer category) to be useful to me in researching beers and who is offering them. Until then, I guess I will just use Google.

"Computer, set a timer for 15 minutes", I'm baking some bread to go with my beer. At least I know that skill works.


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  • Joseph Yi on

    Hey Ed, I’m the author of a beer skill called Beer Buddy, which requires logging in with an Untappd account, but otherwise provides some decent functionality. I’d love to hear your feedback on it! Thanks!

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