|Beer pitchers spread out all over the house|
I researched a lot of different ideas on Pinterest about how to do the actual beer tasting. I knew that I wanted everyone to be able to taste the beers and score them without knowing which beer they were drinking. I ended up modifying a bunch of different ideas but the end result worked out great. I ordered 25 plastic pitchers, one for each guest, (from The Dollar Store!) and made labels to number each pitcher. On the invitation, we asked guests to bring a chilled six-pack of their favorite beer. When guests arrived, I took their beers into our office and poured that beer into a pitcher. I made a spreadsheet in advance with the pitchers numbered and added the person's name who brought it and the type of beer. I made sure to use the numbers at random so it wasn't as obvious who brought what. Three beers ended up being the perfect amount in each pitcher, which let people drink their favorites of the remaining beers after the tasting part was over.
I had tasting glasses set up with tasting score cards and mini golf pencils. I also made a big batch of Skip-And-Go beer punch, which brought back many college memories! As for food, I tried to keep the menu simple, bar food. I wanted everyone to be free to walk around and taste instead of tied to sitting down with a plate of food so I made a walking chili bar. I had bags of fritos that guests filled with one of four different types of chili (regular chili, white chicken chili, taco chili, and a spicy chili) and topped with their choice of toppings. It worked out perfect because I was able to make the chili earlier in the day, leave them in crockpots during the party and socialize! I also had giant soft pretzels with various mustards and cheese sauces, popcorn, pub mix, and a salted caramel birthday cake. Having a good amount of food was key to balancing out the amount of beer!
I let the party run pretty freely, letting people eat and taste however and whenever they wanted. Towards the end of the evening, I collected the score cards and counted up the votes. I loved reading everyone's comments....especially the funny ones from later in the night! I bought $10 giftcards to Hopjacks (a local restaurant/bar) for the two winners: the overall favorite and the birthday boy's favorite. (Surprisingly enough, they ended up being the exact same beer so we had to go with the second place overall winner!) I also slipped in a pitcher of Bud Light just to see if people would be able to recognize the taste. I was totally impressed by how many people knew immediately and wrote that it was Bud Light in their comments!
|The boys drinking straight from the pitchers at the end of the night. One of the few pictures I took the entire night!|