Will it work? Is it just a gimmick? I’m not entirely sure and I’m not going to be able to try it on my Windows phone, because like with many other apps, it is only available for Apple and Android OS phones.
Of course I can always tag along with some others, which is what I might do on Tuesday evening when Leeds CAMRA branch are testing the new mobile phone app that takes you on a pub trail exploring some of the most historical and culturally significant public houses in the city.
I haven’t found out exactly who is behind all this, but the providers of the free mobile app The Leeds Digital Ale Trail have a bona fide LS2 address.
Now I can’t personally verify this, which I’ve picked up from their web site, but basically, once you’ve downloaded the app you get a code which you can share with friends and create your own little team. When you press start, Hey presto! You are given your first destination and can even book a taxi, through the app, to get there ?
Is this the beer writing version of Uber? Destined to put the creative writers out of opportunities for books and articles on pub crawls and pub walks forever?
Probably not, because there is a definite commercial edge to this, and why not, everyone has got to earn a crust. When you check in at the first venue the app tells you what ‘exclusive’ drinks are on offer, indicating there has been some advance negotiation of which pubs are included, based presumably, on financial gain? I’m speculating now, but a pub tour celebrating the history and culture of Leeds on has got to have at least two or three Nicholson’s pubs on. I wonder whether they will be on it and if so, how many other Pubcos or independents are on the list? Will it end up just being a tour of a limited number of company outlets? I reckon it’s a fair bet that Head of Steam are involved because when I searched for the above image, for which I acknowledge The Leeds Digital Ale Trail, I saw that HoS had been tweeting it. I also saw that there were quite a few diverse pubs with promotional beermats kicking around yesterday afternoon, so that bodes well, they wouldn’t have the beer mats if they weren’t participating, surely.
While you are in the pub the app fires local general knowledge questions at you to keep you occupied and it won’t let you move on until a certain period of time has elapsed. As a group your quiz question score, if high enough, can get you into a prize draw. Now it doesn’t say how you change teams? Like, what if you fall out with someone and want to join another team? Maybe that becomes obvious once you’ve got your download. It’s probably questions like this which means it’s only being launched in Leeds, as a trial run, from the 1st of July.
Although the website says you get two new pubs for every new log on, it doesn’t say how many pubs you will get in total each time and how much churn there is? Again time will tell and I’ll let you know.
So what do I think? Sounds a laugh, depends which pubs are signed up to. I couldn’t see me walking past North Bar, if it’s not on the app, or the given trail. If I’m honest it will probably suit the student to thirty somethings and the ever growing stag and hen trade. If it promotes pubs and bars and beer and responsible drinking, then I’m all for it. I’m not sure about the responsible drinking aspect, as there are people equally as clever as the developers who will probably adapt it into Otley Run style pub golf or something equally stupid.
One of the big questions has to be, is it real ale centric? Is there a destination between bars and pubs, one or t’other, or both?
Anyway, we will have some idea how good it is at the end of Tuesday evening, although my attempt at a joke about the potential frailties of The Leeds Digital Ale Trail trial CAMRA social, starting at Baht’ap fell as flat as a pint pulled without a sparkler at the last branch meeting.
If anyone does get my pun around Yorkshire dialect, a Leeds city centre boozer and modern technology, please comment below.