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The Pursuit of Hoppyness: A Craft Beer Party

See what's brewing in the world of craft-beer-themed party ideas



Didn’t get those tickets to the Great American Beer Festival?  Not to worry, here is brewing the best of craft beer party ideas.

Gone are the days when we gratefully accept a plastic cup of “college” beer at a tailgate or backyard barbecue. Today, hosts honor their heritage—whether geographic, demographic, or nostalgic—by providing both the beverage and background their guests will enjoy.

Beer is the ultimate equilibrium, providing a sophistication and ambiance to serve any occasion, any audience. Book club? Why not offer beer instead of that chardonnay. Company gathering? Why not make tasting an ice-breaker. Family gathering? Let heredity drive the moniker. Backyard barbecue? Well, let the neighbors share their personality with the brew they select.

Barley & Me

Not sure what kind of beer to serve at your upcoming party? For honest, thoughtful reviews on all types of craft beers, check out Colorado-based Dave Butler’s Fermentedly Challenged, a beer-blogging site.

Butler is an avid beer fest attendee and home-brewer who shares his reviews on all types of beer, including pale and dark ales, hard ciders, wheat beers, gluten-free beer, coffee beer, and everything in between. He has saved us all invaluable time by generously testing each beer and providing feedback on his blog. While you may not agree on all Butler’s findings, keep in mind that can be part of the dialogue around your craft beer table.

The gathering may be themed around craft beer, but some folk might not be able to partake. Ensuring you have nonalcoholic options available for your non-drinking guest—anything from a zero-content beer to a paloma or soda water bar—is an absolute must. You might also consider setting up a coffee station, as well, for designated drivers.

Beer O’Clock

While most folks believe the party’s over when the drinks run out, most event planners believe food is what keeps people at a party.

Once you’ve decided the beer menu, the food options that best complement your selections will come more easily. What kind of cheese is the best counterpart to a cream ale? Can I serve a stout beer with Mexican food?  

Whether you’re trying to offer a unique experience, trying to finish on time or trying to stay within a budget, these food pairing ideas deliver for every entertainer. And if you have never found your talents in the kitchen, you can order delicious local food and focus instead on the ambiance.

Beer Me

With the food and beverages procured, you’ll want to ensure you have the proper set-up for beer tasting and that you have some fun, stylish decor for tying the party together. 

Creating a personalized, stylish get-together is not only more memorable for guests, but it can also be more enjoyable as a host. Grab a beer flight paddle, DIY beer bottle decorations, and fun chalkboard signage for a more authentic, audience-specific experience.

The final touch for a successful party, and the essential ingredient for keeping lulls in conversation at bay, is a universally popular and current party playlist. For those of us who still believe the musical pre-party routine involves wiping down CDs with a shirt sleeve, it might be time to upgrade to a great, on-trend party playlist. Set the mood while you’re setting up, and your guests will feel more welcome.

Only one word to the wise for the Rocky Mountain reader: Remember golf balls go three times farther at altitude, and so does a beer!

See also:
A Dinner al Fresco in Jackson, Wyoming
It's All in the Details: Creating the Perfect Dinner Party
The Complete Labor Day Barbecue Guide

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