Hi everyone, I'm Dani! When Jess asked me if I would guest post during her vacation, I happily said yes of course duh. But I was even more stoked when she said I could talk about one of my favorite things ever, beer. So let's crack open a cold one and talk about how to host a beer tasting party for your friends, ok? And no worries, you don't have to know a single thing about beer to have a good party, just that it's tasty and gives everyone the warm fuzzies.
1. INVITE 'EM! To host your party, of course you'll first need to invite people. Facebook events, texts, or even handwritten, snail-mailed hipster invitations are all good ways to go. Since a beer can only be split so many ways, I'd aim for at least 4 people total, no more than 6. Or you could buy duplicates of your beers and have as many people as you want, whatever works for you. OR you can be really smart and make your friends bring along their favorite craft beers. That would give you total freedom with the guest list and save you some ca$h (and you'd get to skip the next party-throwing step).
2. FIND 'EM! If you're providing the party beers, try to find ones you've never heard of or ones you've never tried. It's more fun if you steer away from the Bud Lights of the beer aisle and go more for the Ugly Pugs or Hoppy Boys of the world. I've personally experienced that the sillier the name or more fabulous/ridiculous the label, the better the par-tay. To find such awesomeness, hit up your local alcohol stores and look for the section where you can buy single bottles. It usually costs about the same to get a six pack of amazing singles as it does to get a pre-made sixer of frat house party juice. If you have any breweries nearby, maybe stop in there as well, and don't forget to check your grocery store, too. Mine just started carrying a small, decent selection of craft beers, whut whut.
3. FEED 'EM! Omg, snacks. Salty but light munchables are my preferred beer pairing of choice, and since I work so hard finding great beer, I usually get kinda lazy and just mix up a bowl of hard pretzels, popcorn, and whatnot. Really though, you can do whatever you want as far as the food goes. Loaded potato skins, jalapeno poppers, or even just potato chips would be good. Keep it simple or go crazy, it's up to you, just make sure there is some kind of snack. Friends feed friends, y'all.
4. DRINK 'EM! Once you have your beer and your friends and your snackies, it's time to whip out the bottle opener and start pouring a bit for each person. Preferably into glasses, so pull out some smallish ones. Or relive the glory days of college with red cups. Things aren't super serious here, so whatever you drink out of is fine. Brewmasters might shoot me for saying that, but they aren't invited to your party and I am (right?) so oh wellsies on them. The important thing is to have fun! And getting a good head on your beer, that's important too, so pour down the side of the cup/glass to encourage just the right amount of foam. Watch THIS to see what I mean, then let's move on to numero 5.
5. RATE 'EM! Because you'll be drinking and having a grand ol' time with your friends, it's also important to rate your beers as you taste them. It'll be fun to conversate about who likes which beer best and why, plus you'll be a cooler human because there will be written proof of your beer judging qualifications and who doesn't want that? A side benefit to rating your drinks is that the next morning, after the fog clears, you'll be able to remember which beer was your favorite and which one you never ever want to drink again. I whipped up a printable beer tasting scorecard HERE in case you don't feel like making one yourself.
6. PLAY 'EM! Totally optional, but for a smaller-ish party, I recommend throwing a board game into the mix for added funsies. Or do as we Texans do and put on your poker face, your your poker face. Really though, a game of any sort will give y'all something to do other than stare at each other sipping beer. Because even though we're friends, that might be sorta awkward, yeah?
If you want to know more about beer or get more ideas about hosting a tasting party, well you're in luck because I've started a Pinterest board dedicated to all things beertastic. You can find it HERE. I've pinned recipes that look delicious and would pair great with beer, snazzy infographics about choosing the right beer for you, and beer humor that made me giggle. Enjoy, and drink responsibly, y'all! :)