So, I was a little fed up with wine tastings. Been there, done that, chugged some Chardonnay, glugged some Gewurztraminer, tasted some Tempranillo. At one of our wine tastings, we even had an incredibly talented friend saber the cork off a bottle of Champagne- it was fabulous.
I am actually a beer lover. Every time I go out with the girls, unless I order a martini (which means I am down to gossip or dance), I always order a beer. You will rarely see me with a big balloon glass full of a rich red, sipping daintily. It just isn’t my thing. I love the fact that beer comes in so many different flavors, strengths, and from such different places.
My husband bid on a massive lot of craft beer at an auction and came home with cases upon cases of delicious craft brew. We then decided to throw a beer tasting party, and if you know me, I couldn’t just put out a few cases and call it a night. We had over 20 varieties of craft beer available for tasting and some yummy treats. Here is the end result!
Although paper invitations are fun to receive, Paperless Post has perfected the art of digital invites. They give the recipient the feel of opening a physical envelope, and allow the sender to customize everything from the envelope liner (beer) to the stamp (more beer). You can follow up easily with guests, send messages, answer questions, and more. I love their partnership with kate spade new york, Oscar de la Renta and Jonathan Adler- exquisite design available for a fraction of the cost of paper and still chic.
Each type of beer was put on ice, with an open bottle ready for sampling. I gave each guest a stack of 2 oz tasting glasses and pointed out where each type of beer was. Here were the categories:
Ales (Red, Pale, Brown)
I put brown kraft paper on top of plain white table cloths and used a Sharpie to add the name and type of the beer next to it. I added cardboard 6 pack boxes full of peanuts and beer-friendly snacks to complete the party!
Best beer presentation of the night goes to…Pumpkin Beer! I “tapped” a pumpkin and put pumpkin ale in it:
IPA Beer Cheese Fondue
Bacon Wrapped Smokies
Buffalo Chicken Bites with Blue Cheese Fondue
Jack Daniels Pulled Chicken Sliders on Pretzel Rolls
Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Chocolate Covered Pretzel Sprinkles
Decorations weren’t too over the top- the focus was on the brew! I used tall gold pillars with electric candles on top (I learned my lesson regarding real candles after a particularly tipsy dinner party- I burned a hole in my brand new dining room table. Eh- entertaining hazard!)
So, fake candles work now. They add a great glow to an evening party when the kids are (supposed to be) asleep and the adults can chat. In case you are wondering, yes, I had to use every single bowl, pot and serving dish that I own in order to accommodate all of the beer. It kind of had this eclectic, grassroots microbrewery vibe, don’t you think?
There were full bottles of each beer on standby in case people decided they liked what they sampled.
My gorgeous friends and I sampled beer well into the night. I wore a t-shirt, skinny jeans, and a statement necklace which is the first time I wore jeans to a party. Fancy that.
Here’s the thing- the girls actually enjoyed this party more than the guys! Why? Many of us don’t know which beers we like, so to be able to sample over 20 and choose is a delight!
Here were the category winners, based upon an informal survey of random guests:
Favorite Overall Beer: Three Floyds Alpha King Gumballhead
Favorite Dessert Beer: Blue Moon Cinnamon Horchata
Favorite Appetizer: Buffalo Chicken Bites with Blue Cheese Fondue
If you want to throw a beer tasting, I suggest you ask each friend to bring their favorite 6-pack or growler! We have a ton of local breweries popping up and I love to sample the local flavors. Have fun!
Cheers to throwing a party where everyone pitches in and finds their best brew!
In collaboration with Anagram Interactive; all opinions are honest and my own as always. This post was originally published on December 4th, 2014 and has been updated.