Sip and Learn: A Beginner’s Guide to the Rise of Online Beer Tasting Sessions

In the evolving world of craft beer, enthusiasts are no longer bound by geography. The rise of online beer-tasting sessions has opened up a new frontier for aficionados and novices alike, allowing participants to explore global brews from the comfort of their own homes. This guide will walk you through the essentials of participating in or hosting your very own virtual beer tasting, ensuring an engaging and flavorful experience.

Choosing Your Platform

The first step in hosting an online beer tasting is selecting a digital platform. Zoom, Google Meet, and Skype are popular choices for their ease of use and interactive features such as screen sharing and chat functions. Ensure your chosen platform supports the number of anticipated participants and test your setup beforehand to avoid technical difficulties.

Curating the Beer Selection

A thoughtful beer selection is crucial for a successful tasting. Choose a mix of styles to showcase the diversity of flavours, aromas, and appearances. Consider including a lager, an IPA, a stout, and a sour to cover a broad spectrum. For a more thematic approach, select beers from a specific region or focus on seasonal offerings. Communicate the beer list to participants well in advance, allowing them enough time to source the beers from local shops or online retailers.

Preparing Tasting Materials

Enhance the educational aspect of your tasting by providing participants with tasting mats, scorecards, or guides. These can include information on the brewing process, tasting notes, and a flavour wheel to help identify different taste profiles. Digital versions can be sent to participants ahead of the session, allowing them to print them out or view them on a second screen.

Setting the Scene

Encourage participants to prepare their tasting area with appropriate glassware for each beer type, ensuring a proper tasting experience. Lighting should be sufficient to observe the beer’s colour and clarity, and background noise kept to a minimum. It’s also beneficial to have water and neutral palate cleansers, like crackers or bread, on hand.

Guiding the Tasting

As the host, your role is to guide participants through each beer, discussing its history, brewing process, and key characteristics. Encourage participants to share their observations and impressions, fostering a collaborative and interactive environment. Discuss the appearance, aroma, taste, and mouthfeel of each beer, comparing notes and preferences as you go.

Engaging and Educating

To keep the session engaging, include fun facts about the brewing industry, trivia questions, or short videos from the breweries. This not only adds depth to the tasting experience but also educates participants about the craft beer world.

Following Up

After the tasting, share a follow-up email with participants including a summary of the beers tasted, answers to any questions that arose during the session, and links to further reading or upcoming beer-related events. This reinforces the sense of community and keeps participants connected beyond the session.


Online beer-tasting sessions are a fantastic way to explore the vast world of craft beer while connecting with fellow enthusiasts. With careful planning and a focus on engagement, you can create an informative and enjoyable experience that transcends the physical boundaries of traditional beer tastings. Cheers to your successful virtual beer adventure!

This beginner’s guide should equip you with the knowledge and tools to dive into the world of online beer tasting, whether you’re hosting or participating. The key is to embrace the learning experience, share your passion, and, most importantly, enjoy the journey through the diverse landscape of beer from around the globe.


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