The average American is a busy person between work, family, and all the other responsibilities that come with being an adult no longer partying it up in the college dormitories. Because of this the thought of going out to a local brewery with friends on the weekend may no longer hold the same appeal it once did. So, what can a group of adults who just want to have fun and drink some sudsy brews do together that does not involve fighting the Friday night bar scene? They can host a beer tasting party in the comfort of their own home! Here are a few key points to keep in mind when planning and hosting your first at-home beer tasting.
Know Your Audience
Knowing your audience is first and foremost when thinking of hosting a beer tasting party. Are these your average beer drinkers who stick to the staples produced by the macrobreweries? Do they venture to the local breweries to try the newest seasonal beers? Remember to keep it simple and fun. You do not want to overwhelm your friends with a huge selection of obscure stouts when IPAs and lagers will keep their interest piqued and their taste buds happy.
Once you know your guests’ preferences for craft beers, choose a theme for your party. If you are hosting your beer tasting party in the fall, it would be a great time to sample pumpkin flavored beers or host an Oktoberfest themed party. You can also choose to sample beers from your favorite region, such as Belgium. Or better yet, go to your local craft brewery and pick out a sampling of five local beers for everyone to enjoy.
Make sure your beer is cold and kept in the refrigerator until it is time to serve. Having the proper glassware is also important. Beer tasting sampler glasses can easily be found in various stores on the internet for under $1 each. If you do not want to go the extra mile and purchase new glasses that you will probably only use once, then wine glasses or standard pint glasses can substitute for the night. Also, consider how much beer you need to purchase to serve all your guests. Four ounces is the standard for a beer sample so an average 12-ounce bottle will be able to serve three of your guests.
Producing the proper head foam on a beer is important. When you begin pouring the beer into a clean glass, hold the glass at a 45-degree angle. Halfway through the pour, bring the glass to a 90-degree angle and continue to pour until the beer is in the middle of the glass. This pouring technique will produce the perfect, foamy head on your beer.
This is the best part of the entire party; interacting with your friends! Encourage your party goers to describe the beer as they look at it. What is the color they see? What is the consistency like? What is the head like? Have them give their sample glass a swirl and take a deep sniff or two. What aromas stand out to them? Is the beer fruity, citrusy, or flowery? Then, the best part, have them take a sip, hold it in their mouth briefly, and then describe what they taste. You will be surprised at some of the answers you may receive depending on a person’s palate.
Don’t Forget the Tasty Treats
Do not forget to provide your friends with tasty snacks to enjoy alongside their samplings and make sure to provide water as well. Snacks are important to help cleanse the palate and stave off inebriation. A light spread of cold meats like prosciutto and salami, cubes of cheeses such as gouda, swiss, or cheddar, or crackers with soft spread cheese such as brie are all perfect fare for a beer tasting party. If you enjoy cooking, you may even want to find a recipe for homemade pretzel bites to serve alongside a warmed cheese dip.
Most Importantly, Have Fun
The most important thing to remember when planning a beer tasting party is to have fun. If you are not enjoying yourself even the most delicious craft beer will not raise your spirits. A beer tasting party is the perfect way to stay in the comfort of your own home, save some money, and enjoy the company of your closest friends even when life is too hectic.
Have you hosted a beer tasting party at home or been to one? Tell us what your favorite part of the night was in the comments section below!