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13 Unique Beer Tasting Party Ideas

A beer tasting party can be as nuanced and sophisticated as any other food and beverage tasting. Styles of beer vary across a wide, multi-layered spectrum of taste, color, and alcohol content. Whether as a simple get-together among friends or a more elaborate party with a featured brewmaster, planning the ultimate beer tasting party is at your fingertips! Make sure you tailor it to the audience, starting with the perfect venue. After all, a bridal shower, an alumni weekend, or a Friday night at home will have very different vibes. To select the right spot to bring your beer tasting party ideas to life, visit Peerspace for the perfect venue that suits the mood you want to project!

1. Narrow your focus

So many varieties, so little time! One of the most straightforward beer tasting party ideas is to zero in on the offerings of a single brewery and build your event from there. Theme snacks and non-alcoholic beverages to match and create a tasting passport for your guests. Use labels and logos from your featured beer labels and allow a space for attendees to take tasting notes.

2. Commit to the theme

Peerspace offers an abundance of brewpubs, breweries, and beer gardens to rent. Choose one that has the perfect vibe for your group! Once you have your home base, use it as a launchpad for the entire event. Embrace the existing decor and roll with it, whether Irish pub, rustic lodge, or industrial chic taproom. The icing on the cake: invite a facilitator help you through the beer tasting process to encourage educated sipping. 

3. Hand out functional swag

For the practical among us, give a beer tasting-themed party favor that serves a purpose! You can go the route of product-emblazoned hats, bottle openers, and T-shirts. On the other hand, make a shift towards custom coasters and special label bottles; go over the top with personalized growlers or etched ale glasses.

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4. Beer vs. wine

Best presented as a sit-down, multi-course dinner, this is one of the most unforgettable beer tasting party ideas. Work with a culinarian who has an open mind and a wild imagination. Develop dining courses that potentially pair well with wine or beer, then provide tastings of each. An entree course may pair well with both a cabernet and a stout, as well as a salad with a rose and a fruit IPA. Guests should settle in for a leisurely evening and rate their favorites!

5. Unexpected food pairings

Illustrate how the notes of different beers are heightened when paired with different flavors. Reach beyond the expected and expand what you think you know. Sure, an ale goes well with smoked meats and BBQ, but it’s also delicious with Asian cuisine. Pair fruit beers — lambic, in particular — with mild cheeses and salad with vinaigrette. You may already know that stout goes well with chocolate, but try it with peanut butter, too!

6. Beer for breakfast

Tasting-focused events don’t need to be limited to evening hours! When it comes to unique beer tasting party ideas, forget mimosa — instead, try an array of beer-centered brunch beverages. You can’t go wrong with a cerveza fresca or a cocktail made of ginger beer and pilsner. Serve your favorite hearty brunch foods: cream chipped beef on toast or biscuits and gravy; fried eggs and scrapple; or shrimp and grits. Bonus points if you serve them family-style, in cast-iron skillets! Add an eye-opening live jazz or bluegrass trio to keep the mood upbeat yet soothing.

7. BYOB

This is among the greatest beer tasting party ideas for a casual evening at home with novice tasters. All that’s required is enthusiastic participation. Invite guests to bring a six-pack of their favorite brews, preferably adhering to a theme. Assign flavors of fruit or spice; compare ales and stouts, or explore microbrews from across the country. Pour tastings and discuss what you taste. Provide guests with a beer tasting “scorecard” to compare notes.

8. Shades of hops

Nerd out to the science of brewing! Anything from the balance of ingredients to varying brewing conditions causes beer to come in a virtual rainbow of colors. Hues range from pale, local lager to deep, chocolate porter with varying degrees of ruby and amber in between. Talk through the process and see what else the various shades have in common.

9. Progressive tasting

Keep guests moving with an open house format. Each new room or corner of the party features a new beer tasting experience. Offer two-ounce pours of beers on each station, allowing guests to enjoy at their own pace. Give them a punch card at the door so they don’t miss anything. Among engaging beer tasting party ideas, this one is a must-try.

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10. Choose a Festival

Not all Hefeweisen are created equal! Oktoberfest is a breeze to research and create food and beer tasting party menus. Consider, too, the winter season with creamy, spicy and sweet flavors, or welcome Spring with a tasting of dry, crisp beer selections. Pair food accordingly.

11. Cooking with beer workshop

Beer and cheese are a match made in heaven, and who hasn’t heard of beer-battered anything and everything? Expand your horizons for a hands-on beer tasting party: use beer to braise meat, pour it into chili, prepare a chocolate stout cake or rich brownies, pour a splash of Guinness into a bloody mary, or crack a can of pilsner into a seafood boil.

12. Keep their attention

Keep your party moving with activities between courses: themed trivia for the brainy beer drinkers, Cards Against Humanity for huge belly laughs. Want to get them out of their chairs? Pair your beer tasting party with games of billiards or darts. Beer pong is only acceptable if you put water in the cups instead of beer. Ping pong balls will not enhance the flavor of your carefully selected brews.

13. Safety first

No matter which of your beer tasting party ideas you choose, keep in mind that safety should be your first priority. When your beer tasting party is over, you’re responsible for getting everyone home in one piece. Have your Uber or Lyft app prepped and ready; even better, rent a party bus to take everyone home. Stock it with sparkling water and offer to-go bags filled with mini bags of chips, mints, and packets of ibuprofen.

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