What are the components of a successful online beer event?
In short – a good selection of beer, snacks, and good people.
Anytime you’re engaging with people you want to have a good selection to discuss and to choose from.
As for beers, I always try to go as local as possible.
I’ve organized a handful of virtual beer events for my work at Craft Beer Cellar over the last few months, and I always try to go as local as possible because a) I want to support local places and b) by going local, you can learn the stories behind the places that you might not get as much from some of the big, national brands.
How to Learn a Brewery’s Story
Get out there and visit it! Give them your support. Buy their beer and talk to the bartender to glean some information about their brewery and their product. Take notes if you have to. Tell them you’re a beer geek doing your homework. Especially these days, local small breweries need as much support as they can get.
You can also research most of them by going on their website, by following their social media, finding the brands that they’re connecting with and engaging digitally.
Also try to think about the breweries you just know and love already. If you’re excited about sharing something you enjoy, your enthusiasm will show and become infectious for the people participating in your beer event with you.
Advice: pick beers who you have a connection with that will make you excited to talk about. If you’re the host of a beer event, your guests will inevitably be feeding off of your energy. The more enthusiasm you can authentically muster, the better your beer event will be.
How Many Beers Should You Have for a Typical Beer Event?
I would say if you’re trying to throw an hour to an hour and a half beer event, you want to have about three to four beers. A big mistake you can make is trying to have too many. Everybody drinks at different paces, and you don’t want anybody to be rushed.
Also, beers are 12 or 16 ounce cans and you don’t want people to get too drunk.
I always just make a statement like, I know you’re not driving anymore, but please still drink responsibly. Beers are still alcohol and too much is not a good idea for many reasons.
Remind people that they don’t have to finish each beer.
I honestly think the first four to six ounces of a beer are the best four to six ounce sips you can get, because it’s really going to start you thinking about that beer, and tasting its nuances and intricacies.
Do you know the answer to every beer question people ask you?
Of course not! Don’t pretend to either – it’ll just make things awkward.
Advice: Google is great. If you can establish authority about a handful of things. And then you get thrown something that you don’t know. It’s okay not to know, and just remember that Google is your friend.
I suggest you phrase your response as, “that’s a great question! Let’s go on this adventure together. Let’s all Google it together” – or – “let me find it real quick. Hang tight. I’m interested in knowing that answer, too.”
Remember to make it interactive to a point where it’s not like you’re sitting there reading to yourself and ignoring people. Remember, your job is to present it in a way that’s like, “Oh, this will be cool to find out together, guys. I don’t know this either, so I can be excited about it.”
Virtual and in-person events are all about the enthusiasm that you exude.
Because you’re the point person people are potentially paying, or not, to see you. They’re hanging out because you’re the person they know to talk about this stuff with. Be confident.
What are the most important traits for a host of a great Beer Event?
The kind of person that you would want to hire is someone sociable, friendly, confident, and knowledgeable.
Honestly, knowledge is probably the least important of all of the above qualities. It’s still important, because you don’t want someone to be floundering, but think about it – are you going to want someone who can drone on about the brewing process for an hour giving a lecture? Or do you want someone engaging and friendly to show everyone a good time?
In the end, your guests are people who just want to learn a little bit, and be entertained for an event.
I’d always advise to teach people a lot about a little than a little bit about a lot
Recommendations for Good Beer Event Snacks
Tiny little bar snacks are always more engaging than something big and hearty.
Cheese, olives, pickles, chocolate and pears will always be better than suggesting someone grab a burrito for their beer (even though burritos are great drinking meals, your goal for a beer event is to to slowly engage and enjoy the process).
Also. Pizza is surprisingly terrible for beer pairing. Tomato sauce is one of the hardest beer pairings I’ve ever done. Because tomato sauce is so acidic – there’s nothing that really goes with it.
What you want is bite size things with one or two flavor profiles. As snacks, it can be as simple as Cheez-Its. Don’t make the mistake of thinking your snacks need to be anything fancy.
Roasted nuts are also a great beer pairing snack. Saline and light beers that are crisp go well with nuts. Salty olives pair excellent with a pilsner, a wit beer, or a kolsch any day.