The rise of the virtual beer festival

As we approach a year of Covid safety restrictions with a ban on major events and hospitality, including pubs, either closed or restricted in operation we have seen event organisers including CAMRA adapt to offer curated beer events to enjoy at home.

Established events that have already taken place virtually includes CAMRA’s Great British Beer Festival (which normally takes place in London in the summer and Birmingham in the winter) and the Funkfest, a celebration of sour and mixed fermentation beers hosted by Abbeydale Brewery.

Both these events involved a choice of themed beer boxes delivered to you at home along with access to online content such as live tutored tastings, meet the brewers, discussions and brewery tours.

A further development of the format has been pioneered by the organisers of Manchester Beer & Cider Festival – normally run by local CAMRA branches in the Manchester Central event venue, but this year replaced by a #PubsMatter festival in conjunction with a number of pubs and bars in the area that are known for great beer & cider. Each pub are selling beer or cider boxes for home delivery and each are hosting a festival session online in a style that suits what their venue is known for. For example the Marble Arch bring you brewers hosting a live tasting session and discussion, Wigan Central are hosting a quiz and the Smithfield are presenting a live DJ set.

The CAMRA Members Weekend, AGM & Conference which was to be held at Sheffield City Hall this year also receives the “from home” treatment with all the conference business to take place online and a box of beers from Sheffield brewers available to order to enjoy in the “virtual members bar”. Details are due to be announced soon.

For details of CAMRA’s online beer tasting events visit the website.

Naturally we do look forward to the time we can once again attend actual beer festivals and fingers crossed we can go ahead with Sheffield’s 46th annual Steel City Beer & Cider Festival this October!

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