A few days back, Michelle and I hosted a beer tasting for a few friends and I learned a few tips. The full review of the beers tasted along with recipes will follow later, but here's a quick list of what I learned.
- When hosting a tasting try and pick foods that pair with multiple selections.
The beer we served had different flavor profiles and I found a few items that matched with multiple beers. A few examples were a selection of stinky cheeses from Cork and Bottle, a nice salty prochuttio, mini quiches and a lean meat like buffalo or lamb. The stinky cheeses were able to hold up to a few of the hoppier beers and the lean meat (buffalo) worked with a few of the more herbal beers. However, having multiple different flavors of food allowed people to try different flavors along side the beer to how food changed what they were drinking.
- Try to prepare food that can sit in a crock pot or warming plate.
This is something I have learned for all parties. The worst feeling is having to stay in the kitchen waiting for food to finish cooking and missing the socialization that was the reason for the gathering in the first place. Most of the food I listed above was able to sit out the entire time everyone was here. I planned for the last dish to finish about 5 minutes after the party was supposed to start which seems to work well for when most of our friends arrive.
- All sizes of beer can be shared.
Most of the bottles I had were 750 ml bottles shared across 5 beer drinkers and 1 person who was just sampling. The origonal plan was for a total of 8 people and each of those bottles had enough with lighter pours that we could have easily served 10 or so. Later in the evening, I broke out a few 12 oz bottles that I had and those were also easily shared with the entire group. I was surprised as I thought that the smaller bottles would not have enough to share, but everyone poured enough to taste and there was still plenty to share.
- Remember to relax and enjoy the evening.
As a know beer lover and someone who tries to make sure that there is something for everyone, this is one of the tougher things to remember. If a pairing does not work like it should, treat that as an excuse to discuss why you picked the flavors and figure out what may have worked better. This time, I made the mini quiches with a Kahill's Irish cheese with Guinness. My thought was the stout in the cheese would complement a few of the darker beers that we tried. It was a less than perfect pairing as the dark beers were porter styled and the quiche worked better with a few of the lighter IPA styles instead. I did not expect that, but the egg mixture offset the cheese more than I expected. It was not what I intended, but I learned something from the experience and had a great time discussing why something worked and figuring out why it did not.
Overall, the evening was a great success and I am working on getting notes and recipes put together for a future post. Any other suggestions on how to host a beer pairing party? Tips or tricks that I don't know about?
Posted by Kevin at 7:38 am in