In the absence of the 2020 Great British Beer Festival, organised by the Campaign for Real Ale at London’s Olympia, retailer Best of British Beer came up with the Virtual British Beer Festival, and saw the packs sell out within a week of launch.
Some of the beers featured are staples of this country’s beer festival scene, like Titanic and Oakham Ales, while other producers include Traquair House, from Scotland, and Bristol’s Lost and Grounded.
Best of British Beer director, Will Sherwin, said: “We’ve really enjoyed putting this collection together and we have been overwhelmed by the response so far, from both the brewers and the Great British drinking public. A lot of the boxes have been used in Zoom calls, with our beers bringing people together from all over the country.”
The selection included beers aimed at a wide range of tastes, from a best bitter to a 7.2% Scotch Ale, and from a mega-hoppy West Coast IPA to a multi-award-winning stout. No beer festival is complete without at least one cider, and there was also a quiz to get the grey matter ticking over. The pack also included tasting notes, a branded glass, and a packet of fancy snacks.
I shared mine with the neighbours, which we were allowed to do before the new tiers, then second lockdown kicked in. What impressed me most about the selection, aside from the excellent mix of modern brew styles and tradition old school favourites, was the attentaion to detail, in providing a proper mix of styles, good tasting notes, and excellent packagaing, to make sure everything arrived in great condition.
It was a great selection, with tried and tested hits, such as Titanic Stout, Oakham JHB, and Traquair House Ale, and new classics, like Lost & Grounded’s Running With Sceptres and Sambrook’s Battersea Rye.
If 2021’s Great British Beer Festival is abandoned, perhaps the Virtual Beer Fest will return!