Sampling parties for spirits, wine and beer are fairly common; people gather at a house and sample different types of beverages and vote for their favorites. In the past this activity was done at a physical house. But now with internet technology, and the new post-covid world in which we live, people are now doing virtual beer parties with their friends and family. It’s easy to do, a great way to reconnect with friends and relatives in more distant parts of the country or world, and best of all–great fun! The power of the internet makes it easier to share information about your favorite brews with friends who live far away or may have different tastes than you do .So if you haven’t done a virtual craft beer party yet or are looking to organize one, continue reading–we’re here to help!1. Get a beer glass!
Make it fun! Choose a unique beer glass that comes from your area, or a glass that says something about your personality. You’re going to be looking at each other in different video screens on a small monitor which can be a little bit less easy on the eyes than in person; so seize the opportunity to add more engaging visual stimuli.
Everyone has their go-to video conferencing tool, but something to consider: do you prefer your video conferencing tool because it’s the best? Or is it because you or the company you work for picked one and you got used to it?
Wouldn’t it be great if you used a different one each time you got together with your friends for a virtual tasting–after all, why limit your feedback to just samples of beer, when you can review your video conferencing service as well!
3. Get the beer!
This is the fun part! Once you've gathered your friends, there’s 3 ways you can go about it:
- Make up a list of beer that everyone can find and buy at their local liquor mart or vendor. This way, everyone is sampling the same beer, and the fun comes in determining who likes what–or who doesn’t like what–and why.
- Have everyone grab 5 of their own favorites–something either they like themselves, or beer that is unique to their area. You may not be able to taste what they’re drinking, but they can give you insight on a beer that you would have never even heard before!
- Some people may not be able to buy anything because their area doesn't have any craft beers available or because they don't have access to transportation. Don't worry about it; it's not a big deal if you don't all end up with the same beer at this point—the important thing is that everyone gets involved and has fun!
If you want to make sure you all have the same beer, try ordering online and getting your beer shipped! Many breweries offer delivery across all of North America, including Farmery Estate Brewery. If you even want a beer package shipped at the same time to all your attendees, contact us and we’ll facilitate your order and do the shipping at one go–easy peasy!4. Taste and rate!
Now that you’ve got all your beers ready to go, it’s time to start the party. The first thing you need to do is have everyone open their beers at the same time and describe what they taste and see inside their glass (unless they’re drinking from cans). If they're drinking from cans, they can still describe what they taste and see inside their glass! This will give everyone a chance to get into the spirit of things without feeling rushed or pressured.
Another way to get feedback is to include a template form (or send a digital file that everyone can download) where you can write down the name of the beer you are sampling, and then attach a letter grade to it–and once everyone has sampled the beer, you can raise your “rate cards” at the same time and see at a glance how everyone has graded the same beer.
If someone doesn't like beer or has never tried one before, encourage them not only by showing them how much fun it can be but also by showing them how many different kinds there are out there for them to try!5. Pair the beer with some snacks!
There is an old adage that says “pairing food with beer can be a fun way to learn more about beer,” but that is a two-way street: pairing food with beer is actually a great way to enjoy the different flavours of food as well. As well, having a snack serves as a great palate-cleanser in between sampling the beer. And finally, having snacks just adds to the quality of the overall beer sampling, because nothing brings people together like alcohol and snacks!
To get started on your own virtual party experience, try some of these pairings:
- Home-made pretzels: easy to prepare, go with any beer, and feel free to share the recipe with your guests!
- Pale ales go well with sweet potato fries. They have a mellow flavor that goes well with anything salty or lightly spiced.
- Something spicy paired well with IPAs (India pale ales). If you want to enjoy something spicy without worrying about heartburn later on in the night!
We hope this guide has been helpful in getting you started with a virtual beer tasting party! If you have any other tips or suggestions, we’d love to hear them—leave us a comment below to let us know what we could do better next time.