9/7/14

Justin's Beer Tasting Brew Ha-Ha Birthday Bash

Justin's 35th birthday fell on a Saturday this year and if that isn't reason alone to throw a party, I don't know what is. The problem was he couldn't figure what he wanted to do to celebrate.  We find it difficult to get a large group together for dinner, even if you can find a restaurant that can accommodate a large group and ensure everyone shows up on time, you are still left chatting with the few people sitting beside you all night and no one else at the table. Plus, we are also a little too old for the going out all night dancing scene. I really wanted to make this birthday special for him though. Justin does so much for me on a daily basis that I wanted to show a small token of my appreciation.

After brainstorming  party themes we have not attempted before, we ended up settling on a Beer Tasting. Although I am not a huge beer drinker myself, the party was still top-notch, if I do say so myself.

We gathered our closest friends and asked each couple to bring a 6-pack of any variety. You may want to suggest that each guest(s) bring a certain type of beer to ensure you get a variety, but we figured with a guest list of 24, we would have our bases covered regardless.

I then contacted an old friend from high school that is now a Cicerone-certified beer master and asked if he would come over and chat about beer, answer questions, etc. Not only did he oblige, he ended up bringing great beer from a local brewery he works at, which was an awesome touch. Thank you Andrew!
Andrew and Justin


I wanted this party to be fun and filled with lots of cute manly décor, so I printed some signs from Etsy, as well as typed up a few of my own.


We wanted everyone to have their own pint glass, so I began looking everywhere for an affordable option. I finally found the perfect, fun option- mustache and lip pint glasses for guests to use and take home:

They were ordered from DollarTree.com and were such a cute touch and just a buck! This was way cheaper than any other pint glasses I could find anywhere else. Plus, I thought they were so fun. We added a tasting sheet and pencil, so party-goers could take notes on beers they liked and didn't like.

A party décor kit from Michaels provided a fun color and texture to our dining room:

We kept the food really simple: beer and cheese dip (which was super addictive!), buffalo chicken dip, hot wings, pasta salad with goat cheese and fresh basil (that my sweet friend, Crystal, made) and deviled eggs (a special request of Justin's for his mom). We had some sausage we had planned on grilling and slicing but never got around to it.


For dessert, my sweet mother-in-law made chocolate cupcakes with Bailey's and Kahlua-flavored icing. Yum!

We cleaned out our fridge as best we could before the party and set out several coolers for extra beer. The beers we were currently tasting were put in the trough and buckets on our kitchen counter.The extras were kept in the fridge or coolers.

I would suggest leaving extra bottle openers out and a jar of some sort to corral the bottlecaps.

As a special touch, I made palette-cleansing pretzel necklaces for our tasters to wear. Super easy but added a festive touch.
 *The pretzel necklace palette cleansers were made just before guests showed up, so they wouldn't get stale . You can see them above hanging from our kitchen cabinets. Another tip- include small shot-size plastic glasses to allow guests to test beer before filling up their pint glass. Lemons, limes and oranges were also set out to help enhance some beers.


No party of ours is complete without some trivia. We had 10 beer related questions for everyone to complete.

The winner received the classy prize of a beer-can holder hat. Perfect for tailgates and parties. The 'prize' was such a hit that several people gave it a whirl.
Even the birthday boy tried it out.

Last but not least was the prize for worst beer...that individual (who shall remain nameless but here's a picture...) won a mug full of little liquor bottles. Since he had such bad taste in beer, we figured he better stick to liquor. For the record, he brought Hamms beer:)

All in all, this was the easiest, most laidback party we have thrown, and yet it was probably the most successful. I had so many of our friends tell us what fun they had and that the beer tasting was such a fun idea. Don't forget to include root beer and water for anyone that's not drinking or needs a break from all that beer!

Most importantly, the birthday boy had a fantastic time.

 Guests mingling

 The brewmaster giving us a lesson in Beer 101

Here for Beer sign hung above coolers


 Funny beer signs I made and placed throughout the party

 Some helpful beer signs were on display as well

Thanks to our friends and family for making this such a fun night. Happy Birthday Justin!

xoxo, Suzanne

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Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. Comments from my sweet readers make my day! You can always email me at scsa25@gmail.com if you prefer as well. love, S