Some people have poo-poo’d the whole idea of an internet beer tasting as being rather anti-social. Sitting behind the keyboard rather than in front of the bar. Conversing with a bunch of virtual strangers 140 characters at a time. Seems a little counter to the social nature of beer.
I kind of see the point. But then again, in an hour and a half stretch I made more than a dozen new friends that I can now interact with daily. Don’t think I’ve ever done that sitting at an actual bar.
So what the heck a TwitterTasteLive? Basically it’s an extension of the Twitter service which lets users post short messages on whatever topics happen to be relevant to them. In this case, beer (or wine or cigars)!
The organizers will post a time/date and a list of beers to be tasted at the event. Anyone interested in joining in the fun can buy the some or all of the beers on the menu ahead of time. On the night of the tasting, login to the site at the scheduled time and post your thoughts. You can view the other tasters’ notes in real time and there’s also plenty of lively and topical banter.
The first beer event was an Introduction to Trappist Ales. On the menu were Chimay Red and White and Westmalle Dubbel and Tripel. The menu is selected largely based on availability, so you shouldn’t have much trouble finding the beers, but you might need to check a specialty store.
Overall I rate it a smashing success. It did get a little tough to keep up with all of the conversation online, but no more so than at any other large gathering. I also had family over for a local group tasting, so there were several conversations going on at once.
A few people even chose to tune from their local bar and taste each beer there. It most certainly doesn’t have to be a solitary event if you don’t want it to be.
I don’t think virtual tastings will ever replace a night out at your favorite beer bar with friends, and they shouldn’t. But why not do both? Clear out one night a month from your social calender to stay home, invite a few friends over and make some new ones. Oh, and drink some great beer too!
The next tasting is scheduled for Feb. 21 and the featured beers will be stouts from Rogue and Samuel Smith. Followed by a Dogfish Head tasting in March. Keep an eye on TwitterTasteLive or this site and follow me on Twitter for announcements on upcoming events.
Image from TwitterTasteLive