There is something about the pairing of hot wings and beer that just goes together. The spicy, tangy flavors set your mouth ablaze while the cool carbonation and rich flavor of craft beer tames it. Last weekend, we hosted a beer tasting- one of THE most fun events to throw, and honestly…pretty simple!
I use Evite because, well, it is easy and all of our friend’s email addresses are in there. I would love to do actual real paper invites though- there is just something about receiving an actual tangible invite in the snail mail that preps you for a party. It would be fun to use bottle labels in the invite- soak the bottles in hot water for up to 30 minutes (add Oxiclean if they are truly stuck), peel the labels off and lay flat to dry. Cut and affix to cardstock, and add a cute phrase underneath- My fave?
Make sure to let your guests know the scoop on the party. We encouraged guests to each bring a 6-pack of their favorite beer. Many times, guests WANT to bring something to a party- a hostess gift, appetizer, etc…. This way, they have something to bring that they get to show off to the guests. We had many friends visit local breweries and bring growlers- how fun!
I purchased 20 red plastic buckets from the Dollar Store, mini red Solo cups and a couple rolls of brown kraft paper. That was pretty much all I had to buy! I filled the buckets halfway with ice and a little water and asked guests to deposit their offerings as they came in the door. We opened one bottle of each type of beer and gave each guest a “tasting glass” (yes, mini red Solo cups!).
I also tapped a pumpkin and added Blue Moon Harvest Pumpkin ale, detailing the contents on the pumpkin with a Sharpie. To tap a pumpkin, simply buy a spigot (I took the one from my Mr. Beer Kit), hollow out the pumpkin and carve a small hole near the bottom that is just smaller than the spigot. Then, remove the nut from the spigot, screw the spigot in and add a drip tray underneath. Tapped pumpkin!
Guests were encouraged to sample each of the beers- they could pour a small amount into their cup, take a sip, and grab a bottle or a pint glass if it was a favorite. I love this concept because I often try a beer, find it not to my liking, but continue to sip anyways because well…you can’t waste it, right?
Ahhh the food. First and foremost, we had a hot wing sampler thanks to All Spice Cafe! They offer a variety of gourmet firey sauces to jazz up even the most bland food, transforming it from so-so to SO spectacular!
All Spice Cafe has won over 20 awards in some of the biggest industry competitions. I love the fact that their sauces aren’t just hot- they have a complex flavor profile in addition to the spicy kick that allows you to incorporate them into your favorite dishes. Add to everything from guacamole to prosciutto-wrapped scallops for a tangy zip. I simply baked wings and poured the sauce to coat, but you can grill them for more authentic flavor!
|Available Flavors: Chipotle Garlic, Cayenne Habanero, Caribbean Spice, Jolokia Ghost Pepper|
As for the rest of the food, I created an ever-popular Mashed Potato Bar (hint: use the amazing pre-made mashed potatoes from Costco…simply dump in a crock pot) that included various toppings. A charcuterie platter is a must for easy finger foods, and I also had my staple of bacon-wrapped smokies. I always like to have fairly heavy food when we do an alcohol-centric party like a tasting. I want my guests to go home happy, but with enough food in them to soak up the booze 😉
As for dessert, I love the BarkTHINKS snacking chocolate. I chose the Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Seed with Sea Salt version, which paired perfectly with my pumpkin ale. It is also Fair Trade Certified, so double delicious. I also whipped up Double Chocolate Brownies with Vanilla Stout Buttercream Frosting- and yes, I ate most of them.
How do you plan to ring in fall? Is a beer tasting up your alley or are your more of a wine fan? Cheers and enjoy!
Disclosure: I received product from All Spice Cafe for review purposes, all opinions are honest and my own.