Throwing a Party: Part 1
|A Few Selections For This Year|
Well since fall has some of my most favorite beers I am throwing my annual Oktoberfest Party. How does one throw a beer party?
Step 1: Theme
Pick a theme you like and can work with. Oktoberfest is pretty easy, but not your only option. I have also done Ploughman Platter, Christmas, and locavore parties. Use your imagination. A theme allows you to connect all the dots.
Step Two: Buy the Beer
At my Oktoberfest party I buy in three categories Oktoberfest, Pumpkin, and Fall Seasonal. I usually figure about a six pack per person although for some crowds you may need a bit more. For the Ploughman party the beers were all English stout/ porter/ ESB. For locavore hit up your local brewpub for growlers. I like to buy a wide assortment and a lot. Get mostly six packs and buy only one of each. Save your budget by getting a few 12 packs of less expensive beer. For example at this years party I have Leinenkugel’s Oktoberfest, New Belgium Hoptober, Sierra Nevada Tumble and Goose Island’s Harvest Ale as the “cheap” beer. I said less expensive not crappy. Also buying one big bottle of something special adds a central event. This year I will pour a bottle of Pumking from Southern Tier into my new tasters. (Thanks BB!) This allows a central event and provides an icebreaker if you have guests who do not know each other well.
Step 3: Menu
I try to make my food match my beer. For this party the menu includes pumpkin, apple and off course German food. If your a person who likes to cook here is your chance to show off. This year my guests will get snack sandwiches on homemade pretzel rolls, and Nelly is bringing some cake that she has be going on and on about along with my homemade pickles and pumpkin bread.
Step 4: Other People
I find it a nice touch to consider all guests. For one Beer Bitch of course dislikes beer. I occasionally have a theme cocktail, but at minimum have some spirits a few mixers and a bottle of wine. A friend of ours has dietary restrictions so I set a turkey sandwich off to the side for her in place of the ham. Doing this simple gesture really makes a guest feel welcome and you can see the appreciation immediately.
Step 5: The Sort
How do you serve over 24 varieties of beer in three style groups effectively? YOU SORT! This year Bro helped me because it can be time consuming and she enjoys being paid in beer. First pile all the six packs from one style on the table. Get an empty box. Pull one bottle from each sixer and put it in the empty box. Here is the dirty little secret of party throwing: that box that holds one of each beer is mine, and I mean all mine it is put away and not touched until after the party. This is a great way to make sure you get to try everything you want. Now take the remaining six packs and mix them up. This will ensure a constant variety throughout the night and forces guests into trying new beers. Most people think this fails. I have never had a guest who was not impressed. All walk away trying something they have never had and a new appreciation for tastebuds.
Part 2 will feature the execution of the party. Look for that next week.