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St. Patrick’s Day Beer Tasting Party

March 10, 2014 - Filed under Other, St. Patrick's Day

Beer Tasting Kit from Talk Crafty To Me — Download the full kit for free!

It’s almost time for St. Patrick’s Day, a holiday beloved by beer drinkers the world over. Let’s face it, St. Patrick’s Day and beer go together like Thanksgiving and turkey… one just doesn’t feel right without the other. This year instead of sticking to the tried and true Irish favourite Guinness, why not host your own St. Patrick’s Day Beer Tasting Party and discover a whole new world of tasty brews? We’ve put together everything you need to host your own beer tasting party — except the beer of course!

Download the Beer Tasting Kit

  • Beer Tasting Placemats
  • Rating Scorecards
  • Numbers for Blind Tastings
  • Beer Trivia Quiz
  • Cheat Sheet of beer terms to help you describe what you’re drinking
  • Cupcake & food toppers
  • Toothpick Flags
  • Place cards/Food cards

How to throw a Beer Tasting Party

 
 

1. Pick a theme

Wether you’re supplying the beer or getting everyone to pitch in, it’s best to start with a theme. Since we’re talking St. Patricks Day, Ireland or Irish inspired beer is the obvious choice, but there are lots of other options:

  • Local Beers — Choose a selection from various craft breweries in your area.
  • The full line up — Choose one brewery and sample their full line up.
  • Pick a style — Stouts, Porters, IPAs, etc. Pick one and try a range of offerings from different breweries.
  • Use a seasonal theme — pumpkin beers, winter beers, summer beers.
  • Get creative — Only beers with animals on the label, or beers with a play on ‘hops’ in the name (Hopslam, Hopsecutioner, Hoptimus Prime).

Keep your guests in mind and try to choose something that will appeal to everyone. Understanding their interest level and existing beer knowledge is helpful too, but remember it’s a party after all so don’t get too technical or over plan.

Beer Tasting Party - Step 1. Pick a theme

(Photo credits: 1, 2, 3)

2. Serving the beer

Next you’ll need to decide if you want to have a blind tasting or let everyone know what they are drinking while they are drinking it. Personally I think it’s kind of fun to go the blind tasting route and let people tell you what they think of the beer. What flavours and aromas they are getting from each sample rather then telling everyone what to expect. Not only does this tend to facilitate more conversation points, it’s also less work for you, the host, as you don’t need to prepare any notes for the specific beers.

Which ever way you decided to go, keep in mind the serving order of your beers. In order to save your palate it’s recommended that you taste your beers in order of bitterness. The International Bittering Units scale, or simply IBU scale attempts to rate the perceived relative bitterness of beer (the bitterness of beer is provided by the hops used during brewing). Ideally you want to start with the least bitter beer and work your way up. IBUs can usually be found on the label, but a good general guide is to start with fruity beers, then Lagers and Ambers, keeping Pale Ales, IPAs and Stouts for later.

Next it’s time to decide how to serve your beer. If you’re having a large gathering you might want to set up tasting stations with small glasses at each and allow your guests to work their way around the party sampling and taking notes as they go. For something smaller and more intimate download our printable beer mats and pour a personal tasting flight for each guest. Or if you really want to look the part check out some of these amazing beer flight paddles on Etsy.

For the glassware, arguably the most important decor item, use small tasting glasses or shot glasses. Ideally you want about a 3oz pour per beer. If you’re having a large party this can be more challenging and you may have to use plastic shot glasses or rise them out after each beer. The important thing is to make sure everyone has the same style glass so they all experience the beer the same way.

Don’t forget to provide your guests with small pencils and tasting cards so that they can make notes as they go, and hopefully discover a new favourite beer along the way.

Beer Tasting Party - Step 2. Serving the Beer

(Photo credits: 1, 2, 3, 4)

3. The Food

When thinking about food for a beer tasting it’s important to remember it really is all about the beer. You don’t need to get all fancy with individual pairings (although that can be fun too) but rather make sure there are palate cleansers readily available. You want to serve food that is mild in flavour so as not to compete with the tasting. Things like crackers, popcorn, light cheeses and of course water should be set out amongst your guests or tasting stations, for people to snack on between samples.

Once your guests have sampled their way through the beers they may want to go back and try some of their favourites again. This is a great time to bring out some bolder flavoured and heartier dishes and get something in their stomaches before they get too sloshed.

Beer Tasting Party — The Food

(Photo credits: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8)

4. Decor

A beer tasting should be casual and fun. Skip the flowers and opt for more manly decor such as craft paper table cloths and wooden cheese boards for serving dishes. Consider going to your local homebrew supply shop to pick up some hops and malt to place on the table(s) during the tasting. Guests can sample the malt (taste) and smell the hops to get a true sense of ingredients used in craft beer.

Beer Tasting Party  — The Decor

(Photo credits: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)

5. Entertainment

Tasting is of course the main entertainment. Encourage your guests describe the beer. If your friends aren’t all beer snobs, it might be a bit intimidating for them to describe the beer as anything other than good or bad. So, display a list of terms to use, or print out our tasting cheat sheets to help facilitate conversation. See what the general consensus is before moving on the the next beer.

Some other ideas to keep things interesting throughout the night:

  • Beer Vote — Set up a ballot box and have your friends vote on their favourite beer of the evening.
  • Name that beer — If you’re doing a blind tasting have everyone try to guess which beers are which.
  • Beer Trivia — Think your friends know their stuff? Download our Beer Quiz and test out their beer knowledge with a little bit of beer trivia. The winner gets to take home any leftover beer (Leftover beer? I know I’m not sure what that is either, perhaps some beer themed prizes instead)

Beer Tasting Party — Entertainment

(Picture Credits: 2, 3, 4)

6. Have Fun & Be Safe

Lastly have fun. With St. Patrick’s Day just around the corner what better excuse do you need to share a few good brews with some friends. Just remember to drink responsibly, and make sure everyone gets home safe.

Download the Beer Tasting Kit

  • Beer Tasting Placemats
  • Rating Scorecards
  • Numbers for Blind Tastings
  • Beer Trivia Quiz
  • Cheat Sheet of beer terms to help you describe what you’re drinking
  • Cupcake & food toppers
  • Toothpick Flags
  • Place cards/Food cards
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Posted by: kelly

1 Comment so far

  1. Rebecca March 12, 2014 2:06 pm

    Another crafty beer connoisseur! What a wonderful idea and set of accessories to go with it. You’ve really gone through all the details here – I think someone who didn’t know the first thing about beer could throw a successful tasting party with this post. Cheers!
    Rebecca´s last blog post ..FYDP Roundup 10

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