Many people love to throw home beer tasting parties for their friends. They love to throw open the double French doors and enjoy sharing favorite craft beers with people in a comfortable environment. In this post, you’ll find information about how to plan a successful party, what to serve at it (both food and drinks), plus some tips on what types of games you can play with guests.
1) Always invite a variety of friends
If you’re going to spend your money on a new beer, then it might as well be tried by people that can give their honest opinion. The perfect mix is usually about 50% casual drinkers and 50% experienced craft beer fans. Inviting too many experts may result in them being dismissive of the beers you’re trying, while inviting too many casual drinkers may result in them being overwhelmed. Sticking with the middle ground will ensure that everyone has a good time and enjoys their beer selections.
Create an invite list. Make sure to include all of their names on your guest list so you know who is attending ahead of time.
2) Choose a variety of beers to serve
There are two main types of beer—lagers and ales. Lager is the most common type you’ll find in stores. They’re light-bodied with low alcohol content (usually less than four percent). Ales have more body, higher ABV’s (alcohol by volume), and have a more pungent, more distinct taste. In addition to the difference in their characteristics, you’ll need to consider how much experience your guests have with beers before deciding which type of beer tasting party you want to throw.
Ales: A wide variety of ales are available, and most people will be able to find something they enjoy. Experienced craft beer drinkers will enjoy trying new and exciting combinations, while casual drinkers may find a pint too strong.
Lagers: Lager’s are the most popular type of beer in America, so chances are your guests have tried them before. They’re straightforward to drink but often lack character or complexity. Casual drinkers are likely to enjoy them, while experts may find them boring.
3) Serve a variety of snacks
It’s tough to enjoy a beer on an empty stomach. You can’t go wrong with pairing your beers with chips and salsa, pretzels, or cheese. Experienced drinkers may handle more filling foods like wings or mini-pizzas, while casual drinkers will probably prefer lighter options. In addition to the type of food, you’ll want to consider how filling it is and whether or not your guests will be able to enjoy their beers while eating.
Snacks: Chips and salsa, pretzels, cheese mini-pizzas, wings, more filling foods (ex: chili), lighter snacks (ex: popcorn).
4) Put together a fun game or two
Whether you want to play trivia, cards, or beer pong, the most important thing is that your guests are engaged and have a good time. If they’re not competitive by nature, it’s best to avoid more traditional games like Monopoly. In addition to making sure they’re having fun, you’ll need to choose games that will let guests relax and enjoy their beers; otherwise, they may be too distracted to talk or make meaningful conversation.
Games: Trivia (ex: Cards Against Humanity), beer pong drinking games, more relaxed social games (ex: Scrabble), no traditional party games (ex: Monopoly).
5) Have enough glasses and bottles
It’s no fun to let a perfect beer go to waste because someone drank it from the wrong type of glass. You’ll need about one bottle or can per person (that adds up fast), plus an extra set for yourself. Most craft beers come in 22-ounce varieties, which you can either split between two glasses or serve as a single full-sized pour. If your guests prefer pints, then just make sure to have enough pint glasses for everyone.
Glasses: Pint glasses (ex: shaker), snifter glasses, tulip glasses, taster glasses, bottle/can amount, one bottle or can per person, one extra set.
6) Have a backup plan
The last thing you want is for people to get bored and leave. If it’s starting to look like there won’t be enough beer or snacks, make sure that everyone knows they can feel free to bring some of their own. In addition, consider planning a few more activities in case things get dull. If you want to avoid any potential problems, consider having a friend or family member over for moral support just in case.
Backup Plan: More snacks (ex: chips & candy), bring your beer friends or family for moral support.
7) Choose a location that’s fun for everyone
You may be thinking about throwing your beer tasting party in the comfort of your home, which is an option. If you’re looking to mix it up, though, consider hosting at one of these places instead:
Location: Your home outdoor location (ex: backyard), bar, restaurant brewery, pub.
Depending on the type of beers you have, different snacks will pair better than others. It’s also essential to make sure everyone has a good time and can relax while trying new things. To do this, put together an engaging game or two that matches your guests’ interests. You’ll also need to take into consideration how many glasses and bottles you’ll need. Last but not least, make sure everyone knows they can bring some of their own if required.