Have you and your friends ever wanted to learn more about beer but were unsure how to start? Why not host a beer tasting party in your home? It’s cheaper than going out, you know it won’t be loud or smoky and you get to choose what to serve. It will also let you try a wider range of samples, and is a great way to learn what you like and what you might want to buy again.
Successful events require preparation and advanced planning.
You don’t have to be an expert in beer tasting to host an event, but you do need to provide some structure. A tasting party should always be fun, but the best events have an educational component where guests learn by doing. Think workshop, not lecture. Here are some tips on how to get started.
Pick a Theme
You need to be able to explain the concept of the party easily, such as, “we’re comparing porters and stouts” or, “we just started getting beer from Stone—we’re going to sample their lineup.” You can choose to sample a wide range of beers, or something narrowly focused. See the “Party Themes” sidebar for some suggestions.
Build a Guest List
You can get more accomplished if the guests are at a similar skill and interest level, and if they know each other. You want people to be able to discuss the beers without one person dominating. Keep in mind that the number of guests also sets the mood; smaller tastings can be more serious and intimate, while larger groups are more party-like and less educational. I think between four and 10 guests is a good number for most at-home events.
Know Your Audience
Do you want it to be educational or purely fun? How technical do you want to get in your discussions? What existing knowledge do people have? Understand what your audience wants, and then tailor your event around their expectations.