The SOB Beer Blog
Our rants about beer and beer culture.
How To Host A Beer Tasting Party
08.05.2012 08:59 AM
August is one of those months that is severely lacking in a solid beer-drinking holiday. That's why we invent our own! You can host a Beer Tasting Party on any old weekend of the year. Why? Well, for one: your friends have been swearing that PBR and Coors Light are the end-all / be-all of beer for way too many years. For another: you love beer and food. If you really need a third reason, consider this: by taking part in a craft brew celebration, you're really sharing in the American Dream of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. So, without further ado, here's all you need to know about hosting your own swanky beer event.
1. Print out this Tasting Mat for all your guests so they can keep track of what's what. (Note: There will always be a few spoilers who will chug every beer with wanton abandon like they're Icehouse. And that's fine. Every court needs a Jester.)
2. Print out the official Beer Judge Certification Program score sheet so your friends can judge beers like the pros and you can have a beer competition of sorts to identify the top picks of your tasting.
3. Give each person two glasses -- one for water and one for beer. (I know, I know... water is so lame... but one needs to cleanse the palate and rinse your glasses between beers!) Also, keeping a pitcher of water on the table will prevent you from getting up too often.
4. Keep a platter of unsalted crackers, olives and cheese on the table.
5. You'll want paper towels (for the inevitable spills) handy. Also, have a church key or bottle opener on the table to avoid that awkward moment when everyone is simultaneously fumbling around for their key chain openers.
6. Keep a cooler stocked full of beers next to you. (You don't want to miss a single moment of the drunken debauchery happening around the table!) A flower vase can be used to pour excess beer into. (Will the dude who has been chugging his beers drink it at some point? Stay tuned!)
Pick A Theme.
- You can choose different brands of one particular type. For example, you might have a Pale Ale Party or a Stout Sampler. (This gives you an excuse to hold a new party every month.)
- Or you can do a seasonal tasting. For instance, you might do all Summer Ales... or, my personal favorite, all Oktoberfest Biers.
- Beer Dinner themes are fun because they involve much eating. Pair two beers with each course and have guests vote on their favorite combination.
Have The Right Mindset.
Remember, a beer tasting party isn't just about consumption. It's about reveling in the fine art of beer-making and actually tasting the flavors of a well-made craft brew. So you will want to encourage your guests to FOCUS during the tasting portion and save the raucous festivities for afterward. (Good Luck!) You can add more to the experience by researching the history of the breweries, the Alcohol By Volume, and any special nuances in the ingredient selection or production of each beer. (Keep your overviews brief, for the love of beer!)
Make sure you serve the beers in order from lightest to darkest or you'll see a lot of brows furrowed in confusion. Also, keep in mind these simple rules:
- Pair sweet with spicy foods.
- Pair bitter with rich/heavy foods.
- Pair sour with salty foods.
Download CraftBeer.com's Pairing Chart and shop until your heart's content!
Don't forget to consult SaveOnBrew to see what's on sale so you can save money on your next party!
If you find a really amazing beer, shoot us an email and let us know what you'd like us to track for you!
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