Faster, Smoother and Searchable
Our updates in recent months have focused on the big screen. It's been really cool seeing some of you putting our new fullscreen themes into action. But most of my own use of BrewBoard happens on smaller screens. Sometimes at my computer, but mainly on my phone. And, truth be told, it had been a while since we made improvements to the small screen, interactive side of things. Well, that just changed.
Today we're releasing the third and biggest overhaul of how BrewBoard works on your phone, tablet and computer.
As we started this development back in June, we had a few goals in mind. The first was to make the list view more easily scannable. Particularly on phones, we wanted to see more brews with less noise. I think we've achieved that with a more compact "card" design for each brew, and some layout changes to make better us of space.
Secondly, we wanted more speed and a smoother flow between views. When I click a brew to see more details, I want those details now! And when moving back and forward between a list and brew details, I don't want to lose my place in the list. We've rearchitected how things work to achieve this.
Finally, we wanted to be able to search brews. That's now possible - the realtime search allows you to find brews by name, style or batch number (As someone who labels bottles with batch numbers, I'll be using this a lot).
So, next time you log in to BrewBoard, you'll see some changes. We're hoping you'll like them and enjoy the speedier, slicker feel the application has. But if you find any problems, or have any suggestions, please do let us know.
New Theme: Sliding Puzzle
An unfamiliar beer menu presents one of life's most pleasurable challenges. Your task, should you accept it, is to shuffle those brews into the provably, inarguably correct order for consumption.
Do you start pale and work your way up to the dark stuff? Order them by ABV? Or something more esoteric? Sometimes it feels like a natural order emerges unbidden. That's a very satisfying experience. But some menus require more work before you reach the perfect ordering.
Our latest theme takes inspiration from those sliding block puzzles we played with as kids. There's a selection of dark, earthy backgrounds, and distinctive fonts to choose from. You'll need to figure out which combination is best for you. But don't be distracted from the real puzzle. Enjoy, and good luck!
Wanted. And a Brewer's Friend Update
Part Wild West, part packing room, with hints of The Kernel and Field Notes in the background, our new Wanted theme announces your brews with the urgency they deserve. The three-up display is perfect for smaller lineups of notorious brews, and comes with several background options. Be sure to check it out and see if it fits your BrewBoard.
Brewer's Friend Brew Session integration
We've supported importing recipes from Brewer's Friend since day one. But we now also give you access to your Brewer's Friend Brew Sessions. So if you use brew sessions to track your brewday and fermentation, you can now import from the session directly, capturing any data you have logged there.
In addition we've added some filters to the import screen to allow you to view only recipes or only brew sessions. This is available in the Brewfather integration too (only showing batches, not sessions).
Get yourself a Sixpack - our latest theme
It doesn't matter whether we're talking abs or cans, a sixpack is generally a good thing to have. Why should your BrewBoard be left out?
Today we released our latest theme, the Sixpack. It presents your well-honed brews six-up against one of six sharp, contemporary backgrounds. We think it is pretty ripped. Hope you agree.
Note that this is a premium theme available to subscribers. Not a subscriber yet? Then consider signing up to support us, and to get access to themes and more.
Other recent updates
We made another couple of changes in the last week or so, in response to brewer feedback. Firstly, there's now a QR code for individual brews, so you can share them directly. You'll find that at the bottom of the brew details page, and under the share menu on that page too.
Secondly, and again for subscribers, you now have the option to hide the brew recipe on the brew details page when importing a brew (or editing an imported brew). So if you want to keep that secret hop or malt combination under wraps, well, now there's a way.
Improved BrewBoard Controls
There's more than one way to label your taps, bottles and cans. And we've just released an update which handles more of the cases we're seeing from our brewers.
Until now, when adding a brew, you've had the option to provide an identifier. That identifier was a bit of an ill-defined thing - the text below it even admitted as much "E.g. Tap or batch number, to help you locate the brew". If you filled this in, then it displayed next to your brew on your BrewBoard.
Well, that identifer is now gone (don't worry - we haven't lost your data, your board will look the same as before). Instead, we now provide controls for how you label your taps and bottles/cans. And a dedicated field for the batch number, if that's something you track.
Configure your taps (and bottles)
On your BrewBoard Board Settings, you can now decide what identifiers to display next to your brews. For taps that might be the tap number or label (and you can set up your fixed tap labels), the batch number, or nothing (if you use pump clips or write the name of the brew next to the tap). For bottles and cans, you can choose between the batch number or nothing (for those who actually have proper labels on their beers).
For more details, see the Tap Setup and Brew Identifiers page on our documentation site.
This change should not affect how your BrewBoard displays. To transition, we have defaulted BrewBoards to use the batch number as the ifentifier for brews. And we have converted your existing identifiers to batch numbers.
Bonus improvement Fullscreen brewboards are, by their nature, space-limited. BrewBoard themes now handle long identifiers better - so if you label your tap "Best Beer in the World" it will no longer get cut off. But, seriously, just label it "1".
Even more control...
We've also added some new configuration options for the fullscreen view. You can decide which brews to show in fullscreen mode (taps only, bottles only, or both). And if you are using fixed, numbered or labelled taps option, you can choose whether to display the empty taps on the fullscreen view (by default, they don't show).
Hope these updates make BrewBoard more useful to you. If you have any feedback, questions, or suggestions, do let us know.
Chromecast / Android TV Integration
Do you have a Chromecast or Android TV? Then you might like the Google Cast integration we've just released.
With this new integration, you can cast your BrewBoard to any nearby Chromecast-enabled screen. So with a single click you can see your BrewBoard on one or more displays. Quick and easy - great for taproom or keezer large-screen taplists.
For more details about requirements, see our Chromecast integration guide over on our newly launched documentation site. (There's not much else there yet - but we'll be adding to it soon).
Simple Black Theme
We've also just added a new theme for BrewBoard.app subscribers. It's called Simple Black, and it's a clean, modern take on the blackboard idea available in a a couple of different shades and single or double column layouts. Check it out by clicking Change Theme on your BrewBoard - you can preview it even if you don't have a subscription yet.
And if you don't already have a subscription, consider getting one. You'll gain access to new features as we realease them, and also be a part of supporting BrewBoard.app as we develop it further this year.
A Christmas Theme for your Taplist
For those of you using our fullscreen taplist, we've created a Christmas 2020 theme to brighten up your BrewBoard over the holidays. You can access it via the new theme browser we’ve been working on (click the cog icon, then "Themes", on your BrewBoard).
If you use it and like it, please do share pics of your setup with us (and let us know if we can feature them on our site)!
More themes on the way
For the last 6 weeks or so, we've been focused on building out the theming capability for our fullscreen taplists. As well as the Christmas theme above, we're also rolling out our first Pro theme today, called The Lounge, available in several configurations.
Access to this new theme requires a Homebrew Pro subscription, which you can buy on a monthly or annual basis. As well as allowing you to use this and future themes, your subscription will help us maintain and grow BrewBoard in the future.
We've plenty more themes, features and fun functionality in the pipeline - so if you can subscribe and support us now, we'd really appreciate it!
In case you missed it
In response to requests from a few people we added the ability to delete brews (there's a link at the bottom of the brew details page). In general, we recommend marking brews as finished once the keg kicks, so you keep a record of past brews. But now you can delete too, in case you've added something by mistake.
More Social: Comments and Notifications
When I hacked together the first version of BrewBoard.app a year ago (first code commit was Sunday October 20, 2019), I had in mind a shareable take on the traditional chalk board. Before long, that vision developed a bit from not just shareable to social. So it's fitting that we're celebrating the anniversary of that first code commit by rolling out our most social feature to date.
A couple of weeks ago, we added the ability for anyone, brewer or drinker, to comment on individual brews, allowing them to add feedback and reviews and to discuss recipes and taste. Today we added real time notifications and a notification inbox so you can catch up on what's been happening on your board since your last visit.
We hope that these additions will be a solid underpinning for BrewBoard.app to become a place where beer talk happens, and where the sharing that's part of brewing culture can continue beyond the last sip. We've several ideas for developing this moving forward - but we're also keen to see what you make of it. We look forward to nudging this in a direction which fosters friendly and constuctive community around our favourite drink and hobby.
(Oh - as part of this we've also published our terms of service which includes some general content guidelines aimed at making sure that we have a baseline for good community behaviour.)
Optional QR Code Page
Quick update and a note today.
Firstly, in response to a few requests and comments, there's now an option in Board Settings to turn off the QR code page which displays as part of the fullscreen BrewBoard rotation.
If you do turn it off, don't forget that you can always turn it on again at any time. Useful if you have friends over, so they can easily pull up your BrewBoard on their phones.
Secondly, in our previous post we mentioned that our Brewfather import now supports batches as well as recipes. Note that whether you see recipes or batches or both is determined by the permissions you grant when you create your api key at Brewfather. So, if you granted only Read Recipes permission when you set up your key, you would need to destroy and recreate the key with Read Recipes and Read Batches access scope to have access to both recipes and batches.
Theme Update - More Beer
A number of brewers have asked about being able to show more brews per screen on the fullscreen taplist. From today, you can do that.
In your board preferences (accessible from the cog menu, top-right on your BrewBoard) you can switch from our default Trio theme to the new Trio Compact variant. And your taplist will start displaying up to 8 brews per screen. (Of course there is still no limit to the number of screens it will page through)
This is the first step on a longer journey to provide more varied and customizable themes for the big screen. But hopefully it will make things more comfortable for some of you immediately.
While you're here...
Some other updates we've rolled out this month, in case you missed them:
- The Brewfather integration now allows importing from batches as well as recipes.
- We've added a timezone setting (accessible via your account page) which affects how dates of activities are displayed. We're doing our best to set this to an intelligent default based on your browser settings - but you can easily change it.
- We've added a setting to toggle the discoverability of your BrewBoard (on the board preferences page). So if you want your updates to be featured on our homepage (and elsewhere in future), make sure you mark your BrewBoard as discoverable.
It's been a big week at BrewBoard. A month or so of work came together in a batch of updates which together move our product closer to our vision of a chalk-board for the modern age. So what better time to plant the seed of this blog.
BrewBoard.app started as a simple project to scratch a brewer's itch - a way to get a BrewBoard on a phone. Lockdown gave us the opportunity to focus more time and attention on the budding project. And as we started adding features, we found a growing tension between presenting a clean, simple taplist and exploring the more enhance BrewBoard functionality which a phone/table/computer allows.
Our latest release finally resolves that tension by introducing a dedicated fullscreen mode.
This means that on the phone and computer we have much more freedom to explore the interactive and social possibilities of the BrewBoard. To that end we've updated the look and feel, enhanced the data presented and provided access to past brews as well as current ones.
But tap the fullscreen button, and your BrewBoard transforms into a taplist laid out for big screen, non-interactive displays. There's no limit on the number of brews it shows; and it updates in realtime as you make changes to the BrewBoard from other devices. For now it uses our original Trio theme - but we'll be adding more themes soon, along with numerous options for customisation.
We've got plenty more planned for the future - and we'll keep you updated on the latest changes here.