A virtual beverage
The magic of beer tasting with Stone & Wood in the comfort of your own home.
Proof positive of the indomitable spirit of the human race – Audi delivers the virtual beer tasting.
7 January, 2021
If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that life must roll on and that despite seemingly insurmountable challenges, the clever and the innovative will always win out. Finding new ways of doing things took many forms throughout the year and many of these continue into 2021 as the COVID restrictions continue to compromise so many activities we once took for granted. But rather than sit back and allow these restrictions to end life as we knew it, Audi Australia set about finding new ways of staying in touch and providing customers with special experiences even if the more ‘traditional’ way of doing them was not an option during the height of the pandemic.
To that end, the Audi virtual lifestyle experiences were born, a way of continuing to provide Audi customers with very special experiences while observing the health and safety restrictions. No mean feat to be sure, but one which the brand took to with its usual style and incredible attention to detail.
The results were, and continue to be, spectacular. If customers couldn’t meet with an Audi ambassador in person and get an exclusive insight into the way they did things, then why not meet virtually from the comfort and safety of their own home?
If the Audi experience involved an exclusive cooking class with say, Guillaume Brahimi, then the essential ingredients could be delivered to participating Audi customers beforehand and the event be something new and no less exclusive. Likewise a special gin tasting experience, flower arranging or even cooking the perfect steak with Anthony Puharich.
The Audi virtual lifestyle experiences were born as a way of continuing to provide Audi customers with very special experiences while observing the health and safety restrictions
The experiences take the form of live online events as opposed to pre-recorded videos, where customers are able to converse directly with the expert conducting the event
The experiences take the form of live online events as opposed to pre-recorded videos, where customers are able to converse directly with the expert conducting the class via an Audi ambassador acting as mediator. The concept was and remains a resounding success. It also resulted in some of the finest meals cooked in my household as a result of my diligent reporting on same during the height of the pandemic.
But frankly, Audi Australia nailed it for me with an ingenious new concept I’ll call the ‘virtual beverage’. Not able to travel to Byron Bay at the time to take part in a beer tasting, Audi brought the concept home – literally – with a virtual beer tasting hosted by Stone & Wood with Audi ambassador, Hayden Cox presiding over the virtual event.
With Stone & Wood beer expert, Jess Flynn, live from the Stone & Wood Brewery tasting room in Byron Bay and Hayden patched in live from Sydney, it was another seamless Audi virtual experience.
Each participant had already received their four selected brews, delivered to their homes ahead of time, so they had nothing more to do than make sure that the beer was on ice and their internet connection was up to speed and then it was just a matter of sitting back and taking it all in.
Up for tasting for this event were – in this order – the Green Coast Lager, The Gatherer, Pacific Ale and the Cloud Catcher.
From how to pour the beer for best results, to the individual properties of each beer, Jess took participants through these four fine Stone & Wood offerings. The event also looked at the ingredients used in each beer to arrive at the finished product as well as the philosophy behind Stone & Wood and how they brew their world-class products.
She also stressed that as this was a tasting event, participants were under no obligation to finish each full beer – but in the interests of being thorough, I felt it would be rude not to. Ah the beauty virtual events beamed straight into your home!
The name Stone & Wood refers to the two original tools used in brewing – where wood used to create the vessel in which the brew was created and large stones were first heated in a fire and then used to heat the fledgling brew and ingredients. Although the modern operation is state-of-the-art, true to that ancient tradition, once a year, Stone and Wood resurrect the heated stone method to create a special, limited edition beer called Stone Beer.
But this event was all about four of the brand’s core products, kicking off with the Green Coast Lager. This is a Helles-style drop that anyone who has visited Munich would immediately recognise. Crisp, clean and a little ‘biscuity’ this has become a personal favourite.
Then on to The Gatherer, which is what’s called a ‘fruit beer’ – an American wheat beer, flavoured in this instance with watermelon, cucumber and mint. A perfect summer drop that’s refreshing and easy to drink, its pink tinged colour a giveaway as to what lies in store.
From how to pour the beer for best results, to the individual properties of each beer, Jess took participants through these four fine Stone & Wood offerings
Then on to the Pacific Ale, the first beer to come from Stone & Wood – a fruity, clouded beer that is the taste of tropical Australia
Then on to the Pacific Ale, the first beer to come from Stone & Wood – a fruity, clouded beer that is the taste of tropical Australia and remains Stone & Wood’s best known drop.
The tasting wrapped up with the Cloud Catcher Pale Ale, another fruity offering with the same ‘galaxy’ hops used in the Pacific Ale, but with the addition of a Victorian hop called ‘Ella’, which, when combined with galaxy results in a more earthy, stone fruit flavour as opposed to the tropical flavours of its sibling brews.
As well as being a pure, virtual tasting experience, it also shed light on how each beer was produced and the science of modern day brewing. What ingredients would result in the right colour and of course the desired flavour profile and where each ingredient was sourced. Then of course there was discussion of the importance of using natural ingredients and natural preservatives which form an integral part of the Stone & Wood philosophy and are central to the flavours that have made the beers so popular.
But quite aside from her in-depth brewer’s insights throughout the hour long event, it was one of Jess’s comments on ingredients that really struck a chord.
“Don’t drink anything that you can’t pronounce, so if an ingredient is written in a numeric code, you’re just going to be hung over the next day."
Sage advice I’ve taken to heart ever since – that and great love of the Green Coast Lager.
Audi’s lifestyle experiences will continue in 2021 both in face-to-face format as conditions and restrictions allow and also in virtual format for selected experiences. For more information on the Audi lifestyle experiences visit the myAudi website.
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