Drink a beer, run it off: My love-hate relationship with this new app

It was great when the app told you to drink more beer.

I love beer. I also love running. (OK, I love how it feels when I'm done running.)

So when I came across this new app that tells you how much you have to run for every beer you drink, well – challenge accepted.

For three weeks, I religiously logged my beers and begrudgingly ran off the miles, with the goal of being even or ahead on what I've come to call my "beer miles."

The app

The app is developed by Mikkeller, a microbrewery in Denmark. In the app, you log the beers you drink (most beers are in the database, including every Minnesota-based brewery I drank from), and also keep track of the miles you run.

Then there's the stats section, which tells you if you should be running – or if you should be drinking – based on what you've logged in the app. Like this:

I love-hate this app.

It was so great when it told me to drink more beer, but I wanted to throw my phone when I saw how many miles I'd actually have to run.

When you log a beer in the app, it tells you how many "beer miles" it makes up. Beers with a lower percentage of alcohol are around 1 mile per beer, while beers with higher alcohol are close to 3 "beer miles."

Note: The app only tracks beer. But for this challenge I decided to log all alcoholic beverages I drank so I wouldn't cheat and drink other booze for three weeks. I also allowed myself to run off my beer miles on the elliptical and stationary bike, too – because it's winter in Minnesota, brr.

Running all the beer miles

The first week wasn't so bad, mainly because I didn't drink very much. I went to the gym a few times so I was always "up" on my "beer miles," and the app would tell me "more beer less running."

I liked when the app said that. It was like I was winning.

But after week one, I spent a lot more time playing catch-up. I'd drink beer, then run until I was just a mile or less "up" on my beer miles. I'd drink again and owe more miles.


Then one morning, I woke up and I owed 21 "beer miles."

Yes, I had to run 21 miles – nearly a marathon – to run off everything I drank that weekend. It took me five days, but I got the app back to saying "more beer."

What I learned

That's when I really started to put how many beers I was drinking into perspective, which in this case was miles – and that'll really make you reconsider your life choices.

I started to cut back on how much I drank – any time I'd go out to eat I would usually order a beer or a glass of wine. But after that "21 miles" of agony, I started just ordering water instead to save up my "beer miles" for the weekend.

And if I knew I'd be going out with friends and having several drinks, I'd think about what I was drinking. I'd have one "good" beer (like an IPA) before switching to lighter beer (my go-to was Michelob Golden Light – it's only 1.08 beer miles, the lowest I found).

By the end of the three weeks, I drank 33 beers (or the alcoholic beverages I logged as beer), which equaled 56.6 "beer miles." I ran them all off, plus some, ending the challenge "up" 3.8 miles.

I'll mark that down as a win.

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