My husband received a variety of different craft beers as gifts at his 30th Birthday Party, so I thought it would be fun to drink one of each at a beer tasting! Our parents were visiting for a night before attending the MN state fair, so I thought this was the perfect occasion to try all of the beers. I usually go all out making my events themed and matchy/matchy, but this beer tasting was very informal using the beers we had on-hand and things I had around the house. The only thing I bought special was the food, and it still turned out really fun!
Here's what you need to throw together a fun, laid back beer tasting:
-Beer: We sampled 14 beers between 5 of us, which was a good amount. Everyone had a good taste of each beer, without being forced to drink too much if it wasn't their favorite. The amount of beer overall seemed right too for a weeknight social. Our beers were determined by what my hubby got as gifts, but fun themes might be Octoberfest, lagers, mexican beers, imports, nostalgic beers (Grain Belt, Pabst Blue Ribbon, Hamms), etc.
-Beer List: I visited the websites of all the beers we tasted and copied their pictures and descriptions into a word document. I sorted them in the order we were tasting them and printed for each of our guests.
-Fun Bar Food: We has a variety of snacks both store bought and homemade including cheese straws, smoked salmon, candied bacon, buffalo chicken pinwheels, and sausage/cheese/pretzel bun skewers. The food was fun and fancy but still easy to execute and went well with beer. I tried to plan the menu so we could try some new foods along with the new beers.
-Great Atmosphere: We hosted our beer tasting on our deck, complete with patio lights, wood table, and colorful outdoor pillows. The temperature was perfect and croaking frogs took the place of a playlist. The space was comfortable and festive for drinking beer,eating snacks, and talking for a couple of hours.
-Real Dishes & Glasses: Rarely do I use paper cups/plates when entertaining, as it looks and feels much better to use real, plus I think it's easier to load the dishwasher than take out the trash. Small white square plates are perfect for appetizers at any party, or for everyday use. We poured beer in our juice glassed which were the perfect size for a beer tasting.
-Fun Napkins: Since I didn't go all-out with a theme, I at least wanted the cocktail napkins to be fun. I buy fun napkins whenever I see them and pull them out for various occasions. These 'DRINK' napkins were perfect for our beer tasting. A mariposa napkin holder is a must-have for easy entertaining.
-Insulated Beverage Tub: We used this to keep all of the beers cold and within reach on our deck. I have two and use them both pretty much whenever we have company. Be sure to get one thats insulated to avoid water drips from condensation. It will also allow you to set out drinks and ice before guests arrive, making entertaining easier.