Hey Girl Guide To Throwing A Beer Tasting Party

My first real experience with craft beer enthusiasts was last year at Sacramento Beer Week. I was managing social media for the event, and thought I knew what I was getting into. I was ready for big crowds, long lines, late nights and a lot of tweets. I was not prepared for how excited the city got for this annual homage to craft beer. After 11 days (yes, Beer Week is 11 days) of tasting and learning I was hooked, and I am not the only one.
According to the Brewers Association women ages 21-34 represent 15% of craft beer drinkers in the US. As a new craft beer disciple I was eager to find a way to replicate the enthusiasm of Beer Week and get all my friends together to taste and talk, so I decided to throw a beer tasting party. Hosting a beer tasting party is a fun way to introduce the world of craft beer to your friends, and I’m breaking down everything you need to make it happen.

Party Prep

I am all about making life easier so I was psyched to find a beer tasting kit from Semi Sweet Press that included everything I would need from invites to tasting mats, to score cards. The kit helped guide my friends through the beer evaluation process and led to some fun conversations.

When you are purchasing beer for the party go for variety, the point is to try new beers! While deciding on which beers to purchase I would also encourage you to follow the mantra of “drink local” and seek out beers made in your community. Many breweries have tasting rooms where they sell individual bottles.  For my party I selected  six bottles from local Sacramento breweries Ruhstaller and Out of Bounds.

Photo By Madeloni Photography
Photo By Madeloni Photography
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Photo By Madeloni Photography

I wanted the tastings to be blind so my friends could concentrate on the aromas, flavors and look of the beers instead of the label. I dropped each beer into a  brown paper bags, tagged them 1-6, and set out tasting mats (all included in the beer kit). Last but not least, do not overlook the importance of snacks! I went with the classic bar snacks of chips, nuts, and pretzels.

Photo By Madeloni Photography
Photo By Madeloni Photography
Photo By Marita Madeloni
Photo By Madeloni Photography
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Photo By Madeloni Photography
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Photo By Madeloni Photography

Party Time

Once your guests arrive get to pouring! The point is to taste, not guzzle, so pour accordingly.

Photo By Madeloni Photography
Photo By Madeloni Photography

Now for the fun part, getting judgy! The score cards walk guests through some basic beer evaluations including aroma, appearance, flavor, and mouthfeel (yes it is okay to giggle when you read that). This is when the fun discussions happened, people would talk through what specific flavors they were tasting and why they did or didn’t like a certain beer.

Photo By Madeloni Photography
Photo By Madeloni Photography
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Photo By Madeloni Photography
Photo By Madeloni Photography
Photo By Madeloni Photography
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Photo By Madeloni Photography

In case you are wondering where I sourced my glamorous glassware from it’s from Ikea, and cost about four dollars for six glasses, but you could always go disposable for easy cleanup.

After everyone is done tasting and comparing notes reveal the beers they tasted so they can pick up their favorites for home.  I had a couple friends who proclaimed they were “not really beer people” leave the party with a new found love for craft beer.

Now let’s hear from you: What is your favorite beer to sip when you drink local?

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Photo By Madeloni Photography

Now let’s hear from you: What is your favorite beer to sip when you drink local?

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