Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Fall Beer Tasting Party

Shortly after Anna and I hosted our wine tasting party a few months ago, Adam decided he and I should throw one as well only it should be a BEER tasting party. We decided that since there are so many fabulous fall beers, why not have that be the theme? And so the Fall Beer Tasting Party was planned.

In our evite we asked everyone to bring a six pack of their favorite fall beer. I had everyone let me know what they were bringing before they purchased it so we would not have any repeats. In the days before the party Adam and I picked up the supplies for the party and out together a tasting kit for each guest made up of a piece of autumn-y scrapbook paper for notes, a pen, and a tasting glass from Crate and Barrel.

I went a little nuts in the sticker section of Michaels, what can I say? They had autumn leaves AND beer stickers. It's like it was meant to be.

Anyway Adam and I spent most of Saturday shopping for and preparing the snacks which consisted of a veggie platter with a bread bowl of dip

Manchego and Chorizo mini skewers, Smoked Gouda + Crackers,

Baked Brie with Mango Chutney on top and a few bowls of dried fruit - all things that pair prety well with spicy fall brews. We also picked up a selection of "cool, weird beers" we found at Old Colony (local liquor/beer store) to give away as the prize for whoever brought the best beer. Rewarding beer with more beer is how we roll.

Our guests began arriving around 7PM on Saturday and as the line of six packs on the counter grew and grew I got psyched. Not only were there no repeats but there were quite a few beers I had never heard of. All in all we had about 13 six packs of such autumn-y beers as Dogfish Head Punkin Ale, Jack's Spicy Pumpkin Ale, Harpoon Octoberfest and even some some cider thrown in for good measure (not to mention some Old English 800 to keep it real). Since this was a blind tasting, we had all the guests hang out in the living room with the food and Adam and I took turns pouring three beers from each six pack into a pitcher for each round and then yelling into the living room ROUND ONE!! Then, everyone would come in for a sample and we would all go back into the living room for a few minutes to sip and comment and then back in the kictchen for another beer and so on. We had thirteen rounds!! I guess it is a good thing that each round was only about 3 oz of beer per person (uh unless I was pouring…I have a bit of a heavy hand).

The brie and the Manchego +Chorizo mini skewers were a HUGE hit and were so simple. For the mini skewers just slice up some Chorizo and grill in a pan for about 10 minutes, then skewer a piece of Manchego on top of each slice with a toothpick. Then stick it in the oven on LOW (about 250 degrees) for about 10 minutes just to soften the Manchego a bit. Delish! And the baked brie is a cinch – just spoon on a few tablespoons of mango chutney (or whatever chutney you like!) onto a wheel of brie and bake at 350 degrees for fifteen minutes. Serve with crackers or french bread. It's a GREAT fall-y snack.

In any case the beer tasting was a success! Everyone participated in the discussions and had a good time and at the end when everyone voted on their favorite which ended up being the Paulaner Octoberfest brought by Jenny and Matt and so they got the prize of "Bag of Weird Beers".

I learned that I do in fact like hard cider, and I do, in fact, like blueberry ale. So the party was both fun AND educational.

And what's better than that?

(And stay tuned this week for Adventures in Odd Meats: Volume 2, Skirt Steak with Onion Marmalade, and Apple Stuffed Pork Chops)


a reader in brooklyn said...

Your party makes me want to move to Boston immediately and host gatherings!!
Next time you're looking for a tasty beer: I went on a tour of the Allagash Brewery while in Portland, Maine this weekend. I'm not a beer girl: My use for beer is generally as a "slow-down" drink to be nursed for an hour after a particularly strong whiskey or when there is no more ice at a summer party but lots of cold beer BUT. This beer is DELICIOUS. and organic. It's the perfect fall beer. I really liked the Tripel Ale and their basic [most easy to find] White. They have it at some food coops in NY so you may be able to find it at crunchy places like Harvest in Cambridge [not sure if they sell beer or if they're still around. Ah, I miss the Boston area...]

A said...

That is SO my kind of party. What a fabulous idea! Is it normal that it's only 9am here, and I'm now craving chorizo and beer??

Libby said...

A beer tasting party! Why has this idea never before occurred to me? Thirteen rounds must have made for some serious fun!

Sarah said...

a reader in brooklyn - thanks for that tip! i work near a beer emporium and will definitely keep an eye out for the white ale!

A - not at all, that actually sounds like a great breakfast to me :-P

Libs - thirteen rounds of beer tasting = why i never got around to taking more photos!

Anonymous said...

If you ever travel west of the mississippi you and Adam HAVE to try New Belgium Brewery beers. I hate beer in general but I'm in LOVE with their Tripel. Also, I am in love with your party theme! What an awesome idea!!!!

Perfectly Plump Preppy said...

That sounds like so much fun! I know some guys and gals in my area who would love a party like that!

Stacey said...

Great idea, Sarah! Sounds like you guys had a good time. :)

Lys said...

Blueberry Ale? :::ears perk up:::

Nicky said...

I'm so sad we couldn't make it!!! We desparately need to co-ordinate a get-together with you and Adam. I'm thinking maybe PJ and I can host another dinner-and-game night some Saturday? Let me know your availablity in the upcoming weeks.

Anonymous said...

If you like chorizo and you like skirt steak you and Adam need to go to Union Grille in the south end. So good. Check out there menu online. They are always packed so you will need a reservation. They serve an amazing cornbread chorizo stuffing with chicken. It is so good they also have it as a side. Their skirt steak is great to. Check it out if you haven't already!

Sarah said...

Thanks! I have not been there before but your description def. perks my interest!