Connoisseur Beers for your Zoom Tasting Group

By Janet Forman

Photos by Tom Houghton

Buckle up to enter uncharted taste territory… bring a connoisseur’s edge to the Zoom tastings that have lifted our spirits these last few months with Tavour, craft beer specialists that hand curate the finest releases from more than 600 far-flung producers. Tavour’s Cicerones, beer sommeliers, are the first to sniff out the latest beer trends and up and coming producers, so even the most sophisticated craft beer enthusiasts will find under-the-radar surprises.

Ideal for our times, these are beers you’d usually hunt down with a plane ticket and a lot of free time, but through Tavour, you’ll get a front-row seat to craft beer culture at the top of its game, delivered to your door. 

Download the app and peruse selections, or scan the Tavour Website, a goldmine of information, outlining basics for beginners and taking deep dives into arcane territory that will inform even the most knowledgeable beer geeks. You can build your own custom crate of the craft beers you love or order the curated box you find most appealing, many from microbreweries with hyper-limited brews that rarely leave their hometowns. Enroll in a subscription and Tavour will snag the highest-rated beers that suit your taste. No minimums, no commitments.

The first time I ordered I wanted a bit of everything and my astonishing selection included IPA's, Saisons, Wild Ales, and Imperial Stouts I never knew existed like the Young Dankenstein Hazy Pale AleHop Whammy Wet Hop IPA with its comic book design can, a French Toast Milk Stout flavored with maple syrup, cinnamon and vanilla, and a Glasgow Smile Gose Ale with bilberry, heather, and Black Sea salt. I spent a few happy hours just reading the ingenious labels.

This time I was in the mood for something wild and ordered a selection of sours, a trending style among beer aficionados. For some these bold flavors are an acquired taste, but those with adventurous palates will want to buckle up for releases like the elegant bottle of Carpe Diem Mañana, a wild fermentation ale aged in wine barrels and bottle conditioned with Oregon wildflower honey from The Ale Apothecary, a vintage batch oak barrel brewery in Bend, Oregon.

These collections are surefire conversation starters for your tasting group. They’ve been called subversive, edgy and strange, but are always madly tasty. So, think about booking two Zoom sessions back to back, as the 40-minute mark is when the conversation will just start heating up!

Order through the app and receive a flat rate shipping of $14.90 for any amount of beer. Gift box prices range from $35 to $99 with free delivery. Click About Tavour for more information and Tavour Gifts to get the program started.

When the shock wears off, move on to Key Lime Pi from Westbrook Brewing, a pastry sour ale inspired by the ratio of the circumference to the diameter of a key lime pie. Brewer’s Secret: “We employed an extremely advanced, complex brewing technique called “buying a bunch of key lime pies and putting them into the beer.” When the mood for a mystery thriller strikes, pick up the bottle of Jester King Lagered Farmhouse Beer to read the Tale of a Cereal Killer. We won’t reveal the ending, but we will tell you that since the beer from this 165-acre farm and brewery takes inspiration from pre-prohibition American lagers that utilized corn, it’s made with locally sourced Texas Hill Country well water and ears of Texas heirloom “Jimmy Red.”