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Virtual pubs: enjoy a real drink and chat with these online beer buddies

Grab a drink, a phone and get involved.

Virtual pubs: enjoy a real drink and chat with these online beer buddies
29 May 2020

With pubs and bars shut due to the coronavirus outbreak, online gatherings are suddenly more important than ever and these beer tasting sessions are the virtual pub everyone needs right now.

Although take-away is still possible, not being able to have a drink or two with your friends and family might be getting you down. Luckily, it’s 2020 and the power of the internet and the technology we carry around in our pockets makes it incredibly easy to keep in touch.
Breweries, bars and the like are now using Twitter, Instagram and other platforms to host online events like tastings and quizzes.

The latest to do these is the Bunnahabhain distillery with its Feis at Home celebrations. The idea is that the world-famous Feis Ile festival isn't taking place in Islay this year so it is doing a virtual tasting session, 8PM on the 29 May (Friday).

Hosted by whisky expert Dave Broom, Bunnahabhain Master Distiller Stephen Woodcock will be joined by Master Blender Julianne Fernandez, Distillery Manager Andrew Brown and Visitor Centre Manager Dr Billy Sinclair for the live stream.

In the session you will get to learn about tasting and more about the two limited-edition expressions the distillery is launching. Head to www.facebook.com/Bunnahabhain. for more information.

Another to look out for is craft beer club, Beer52. It is currently prepping for its second online beer festival, called CYBER FEST 2. It is taking place across two separate sessions on Friday 5th and Saturday 6th June 2020, both between 6-10pm.

You need a ticket for this one. Currently, discounted early bird day tickets are available now for £34.99 (usually £49.99). They have also introduced a ‘weekender pass’, for a discounted early bird price of £64.99 (usually £99.99). All orders will have a £4.99 delivery cost but what you get is a curated case of craft beers in advance to sample alongside the live-streamed beer festival. Head to Beer52.com/cyberfest2 for more information.

It's set to be a good 'un. The last CYBER FEST had a couple of celebs joining in, including actor Chris O’Dowd and Brazilian footballer Roberto Carlos.

Others that are doing things include, BeerBods. The subscription service, which (currently) sits atop our best beer subscription box shortlist holds weekly tasting sessions on Twitter at 9pm (UK time) every Thursday and has more recently started doing live streaming on Periscope, too.
Tom, aka CraftBeerHour, has been hosting weekly Twitter meets on a Tuesday at 9pm (UK time) since 2014 typically with a different brewery featured each week. Often a prize draw gives followers a chance to win free samples.
The Pembury Tavern in Hackney, run by Five Points Brewing, will be hosting its regular Monday night quiz on Instagram instead (at 7pm, UK time) with chances to win brewery tour tickets.

Camden Town Brewery has launched its very own URL venue called The Camden Bre.www.ery Bar. The London brewery is hosting weekly events including live music to pub quizzes. This week's live event is a virtual pub quiz and you even have the chance to win beer delivered direct to your door. Tune into the brewery's Instagram on Thursday 9 April at 7pm to take part.

To fully round-off the pub experience, there’s even a ‘digital tip jar’ but in this case the money is going to Hospitality Action’s COVID-19 Emergency Appeal to help support hospitality workers whose jobs are now uncertain or no longer there. You can either donate through the JustGiving page or add a donation to any purchases you make from the brewery’s online shop.

Run by a group of volunteers, The Tweet Inn is back after a hiatus and for the first time will be holding virtual tap takeovers in a similar vein to CraftBeerHour.The Virtual Beerhouse is a similar account you’ll find on Twitter. While Scottish beer fiends BrewDog has introduced the BrewDog Online Bar. Doors open 6pm every Friday.

Something common across these kinds of online events is that they’re relaxed and open to anyone, regardless of your beer knowledge or whether you have the same beer others are drinking.

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