How is your tasting group organized?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by Hanzo, Jan 11, 2013.

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  1. jibjib513

    jibjib513 Initiate (0) Oct 16, 2012 Ohio

    I've started a group at my work, where most of the members are/were very novice in craft beers but enthusiastic about trying different beers (myself included).

    The way it works is we have about 13 to 14 members, each member contributes $10 at the beginning of a "session". Each week, a person is the purchaser and goes out and buys 18 beers (of the same beer), for which they are refunded. Each member is given 1 beer and the rest are sold off for their unit price to those who want an extra one (when more members want the extras than we have, a lottery is done to see who gets to purchase). This extra money goes back into the general fund.

    At work we have to keep this all on the DL, so when distribution is occurring we keep it all in brown lunch bags. Then, everyone takes their beer home and drinks it at their leisure. We have a website set up where members can submit their reviews (the scoring is modeled after BA's scoring).

    The "session" lasts about 7 weeks/beers. At the point when the general fund is depleted, it's renewal time and if you want to get in for the next "session" you throw in your $10.

    As a rule we discourage beers that are produced by InBev or MillerCoors, not so much an anti-capitalist thing, but a pro-craft thing. There has been some beers that we have purchased which were unknowingly owned by them but only once or twice (leffe, pilsner urquell). Also, we encourage exploration both geographically (finding beers from different countries) and stylistically (trying beers from the various 104 categories, according to BeerAdvocate).

    We're on our 20th beer and it's been a lot of fun. As I've said before, most of us are novice but I think our tastes are quickly maturing.
  2. taalhiker

    taalhiker Initiate (122) Aug 26, 2008 Ohio

    1. Monthly (usually a Wed/Thu night) - still going strong after ~22 years. Typically at someone's house but 2-3 times a year we will go to a bar (if they have a special tasting) - we went out lasst month for a special 7-tap tasting of Jackie O's beers including BA Dark Apparition.
    2. Usually 6-10 but we have ~20 people on the email list
    3. 2 bombers or a 6-pack
    4. We split all the beers - typically 2-4oz / person depending on the quantity available.
    Leftover bottles are split up and taken home at the end of the night
    5. 4 hours
    6. We typically have a theme - anything from Belgian beers to beers from NCAA basketball cities/states.
    Quality varies but it's as much about the commraderie as it is about the beer.
    7. Light to dark or light to heavy to simply start with whatever we have available whenever we have a quorum.
  3. Hanzo

    Hanzo Initiate (0) Feb 27, 2012 Virginia

    Just so I understand (as I am a bit confused),

    1. Start of the week money from members is pooled.
    2. One selected person goes to store and buys 18 of the same beer.
    3. Beers are placed in the works fridge and members of the group take one and go home and drink it.
    4. They then post about it on the groups site.
    5. The following week people buy in again and process is repeated.

    So your group never meets up in person and it is always just shelf stuff? I have to ask what the purpose of that is and why the individual people can't just go to the store and snag the bottle themselves.

    I'm not knocking how you do it, I am just trying to make sure I understand.
  4. Retail1LO

    Retail1LO Initiate (0) May 4, 2011 Pennsylvania

    1) How often does your group meet?
    Every Thursday. We skip a week here and there and do something else like go out to dinner or catch a movie to switch things up

    2) How many people usually show up?
    Core group had been 4 people for several months, then we added a fifth. On a week to week basis, we have others over, but for the most part, it's the 5 of us.

    3) How much beer do people normally bring?
    Way too much. lol In fact, we recently had to come to the consensus that in a given evening, 2 bottles of high test stuff is as much as anyone needs to drink, even if done over 5 hours. Everyone comes with 2 bottles, and it's the most anyone can end up drinking.

    4) If you have a large group, how do you decide who gets pours of what beers? (Assuming you don't want to split a 22oz bomber 35 ways for example)
    We split everything evenly. Whomever brought the beer has the prerogative to take a larger pour if they'd like, but we pretty much all acquire beer with the intent of sharing it with one another. So even when I pop a beer that's mine, I think of it more as "our" beer than "my" beer. Usually everyone gets the same pour. We're all equals...and that's the way it should be.

    5) How long do your tastings normally last?
    Some of the guys have light days and roll in around 3 or 4 in the afternoon. Some can't make it over until 7. We're usually done by 9 though.

    6) Are there any bottle quality requirement? Or can anything be brought from shelf beers to white whales?
    We just drink good beer. All of us except one are active traders and have we always end up drinking pretty decent stuff.

    7) How do you decide on order of bottle opening?
    We just take turns picking
  5. deuce9259

    deuce9259 Initiate (0) Dec 28, 2011 Ohio
    Beer Trader

    ISO: NW Ohio / SE Mich Tasting Group. This. Is. Awesome.
  6. jibjib513

    jibjib513 Initiate (0) Oct 16, 2012 Ohio

    You're close but there is some misunderstandings I think. :slight_smile:

    The money is pooled at the beginning of a "session" which might last 7 weeks. Basically, if we have 13 members, that's $130 in seed money. Each week, one purchases the 18 beers that are distributed. We're not buying the very expensive beers, most of the time the 3 six packs are no more than $30. At that point, with 5 extra beers that are sold out as extras the dent in the General Fund each week is around $22 or so, which means we can get between 6 or 7 weeks before we have to start a new "session" (everyone who wants in throws $10 to join the next session).

    As far as meeting up in person, we all work at the same company, and most of us in the same department. So we usually have ample time to discuss that week's selection. Therefore, I suppose it is always "shelf stuff" however, I did recently give everyone in the club a bottle of my first homebrew. I'm not sure what else it could be? draft available only at the brewery?

    As far as "purpose", there is a decent amount of camaraderie as we are all learning more about beer in general and comparing our tastes. Also, the nature of the club encourages exploration (far beyond what many of the members would have done on their own, being mostly BMC drinkers prior to the club). Also, a decent amount of research is being done as each Purchaser, when their week is coming up, feels a little bit of pressure to find an interesting beer to try.

    Hopefully, I'm explaining it properly.
  7. audioserf

    audioserf Aspirant (253) Sep 3, 2010 Connecticut

    My tasting group consists of myself and three other fat white males with varying amounts of facial hair. We occasionally get together and drink a variety of craft beer without any semblence of organization. I hope this has been helpful to you.
    westcoastbeerlvr and TheJollyHop like this.
  8. codasnap52

    codasnap52 Aspirant (258) Jan 24, 2008 Connecticut
    Beer Trader

    We just started a new group a couple of months ago. Its been pretty awesome thus far and we have another meeting coming up soon. Here's my answers to your 7 q's...

    1) Once a month, to every 6 weeks
    2) 12
    3) Two large format, or a sixer/4 pack
    4) N/A - Try to get about a 2 oz pour for each person, same as you would at a typical beer festival
    5) 3-4 hours
    6) No requirement, we stress trying to get interesting stuff, but it can range from Lawsons, Cantillon, etc to much more easy to find beers
    7) We try to mix it up. Other than IPA's or specific beers we want to compare side by side, we like to keep our palates on its toes by choosing different styles next to different styles. Of course, we often save the most exciting offerings for last :slight_smile:
  9. nanobrew

    nanobrew Initiate (0) Dec 31, 2008 California

    I have a few groups that I drink with. One is more of a group of friends where we meet up randomly, typically on 3-5 people. Other times I like hosting large bottle shares, typically every few months with about 12-20 people. I also have a regular tasting group, so i will answer your questions with that one in mind.

    1) Once a week, however it is common for people to miss every once in a while
    2) 5-8
    3) typically 2 large format bottles, or equivalent ounces. There is no hard set rule, we all just bring good stuff. Sometimes I have opened 3-4 bottles, other times just 1. We usually have some beers we didn't get to by the end of the night.
    4) Since my main group is smaller this isn't an issue, we usually have a pour left after everyone tries it. For the larger bottle shares it is mainly an honor system thing. If you have had the bottle recently the typically you pass if others have not had it. Plus there is usually no lack of beer, so you need to spare your liver as much as possible.
    5) Always longer than I think. Usually I think, oh 2-3 hours is good...5 hours later. The regular one I attend usually last 3-4 hours.
    6) No, this is more about having good people to drink with. There will be local stuff brought but it is still fun to try. No one is showing up with a sixer of SN pale or Deschutes.
    7) Typically we just start opening bottles. Maybe switch light to dark, or mix up styles. Sometimes we want a comparison of styles or vintages/variations.

    Overall, if you are going to have a regular tasting group I would keep it small with a bunch of great people and most of your questions just work themselves out.
  10. MarkIntihar

    MarkIntihar Initiate (0) Mar 17, 2010 Michigan

    O RLY??? :rolling_eyes:
  11. FosterJM

    FosterJM Poo-Bah (2,719) Nov 16, 2009 California
    Beer Trader

    1) Whenever we get a chance
    2) Usually me and one other dude. Sometimes we get 1 or 2 more
    3) Usually 2-3 bombers each
    4)Not an issue for us.

    5) Usually 3 hrs
    6) Nope. Bring what you have at the house to share. Something youre excited to try
    7) Roshambo for 1st rights.

  12. FosterJM

    FosterJM Poo-Bah (2,719) Nov 16, 2009 California
    Beer Trader

    Ive drank with them. Do I count? I live furthest. You just got #markintihard

    AleWatcher likes this.
  13. MarkIntihar

    MarkIntihar Initiate (0) Mar 17, 2010 Michigan

    I don't think that means, what you think it means... :grinning:
    FosterJM likes this.
  14. FosterJM

    FosterJM Poo-Bah (2,719) Nov 16, 2009 California
    Beer Trader

    Bwhahahaha. Probably not. :flushed:

  15. mychalg9

    mychalg9 Champion (849) Apr 8, 2010 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    That's probably caused by too much acid (or not enough).
  16. tcanaday

    tcanaday Initiate (0) Oct 23, 2012 California

    I want a tasting group. 22 from Sacramento, CA! If anyone has room let me know.
  17. mhksuccess

    mhksuccess Zealot (579) Jul 7, 2012 California
    Beer Trader

    damn all this talk makes me want to go to a tasting lol
  18. liamt07

    liamt07 Poo-Bah (2,349) Jul 26, 2009 Ontario (Canada)
    Beer Trader

    Hanzo likes this.
  19. waddellc2

    waddellc2 Crusader (719) Aug 23, 2012 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    Where do you meet in the philly area? I am looking to partake. I live in the Conshocken area
  20. yamar68

    yamar68 Initiate (0) Apr 1, 2011 Minnesota

    1) How often does your group meet?

    Always the week before Christmas, then sporadically throughout the year.

    2) How many people usually show up?

    Depends, usually around ten. The Christmas tasting is more like 30 or 40.

    3) How much beer do people normally bring?

    I ask people to bring as much beer as they would plan to drink - if everyone does that, there will be just the right amount. I usually assign one or two people to bring cleanser beers / water. Most people also bring some food stuffs.

    4) If you have a large group, how do you decide who gets pours of what beers? (Assuming you don't want to split a 22oz bomber 35 ways for example)

    This has never been an issue... sharing is caring. Fighting over who gets what defeats the whole point of these things.

    5) How long do your tastings normally last?

    A few hours... depends on how fershnickered people get I guess.

    6) Are there any bottle quality requirement? Or can anything be brought from shelf beers to white whales?

    All beer is welcome. It seems like without a requirement, people get more excited about surprising the group with something special.

    7) How do you decide on order of bottle opening?[/quote]

    It's usually pretty democratic, and therefore doesn't really fall in line with the traditional beer order rules.
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