My husband and a friend decided to have a beer tasting to celebrate their birthdays, which are a week apart. What a good excuse!
With all the beer lovers we know, it was difficult to keep the guest list small enough to fit in our dining room, and we wanted to try a somewhat serious sit-down tasting. We ended up with just short of 20 guests and asked each to bring a 750ml bottle of beer, which works out to a little over an ounce per person. We even ordered a case of beer tasting glasses and I designed a beer tasting sheet (PDF).
Since this was our first tasting, we decided not to specify a style or to taste blind. When guests arrived, we grouped their beers into themed flights. We spontaneously paired these groupings with the food – recipes are at the bottom of this entry:
- Paler ales and soft pretzels (our first time making them!)
- Belgians and Liege waffles
- IPAs and buffalo chicken dip
- Porter with meatballs
- Dessert-type beers with stout brownies
We also had plenty of snacks on hand, including sriracha popcorn (pop and toss with sriracha and melted butter), bacon caramel popcorn, cheese plates, hummus with vegetables, and an assortment of chips and nuts.
If I had to choose a favorite beer from the night, it would be the Collaboration No. 3 – Stingo, a joint brew by Boulevard and Pretty Things.
- Bacon Caramel Popcorn: bacon caramel popcorn recipe
- Soft Pretzels: via Tasting Table. I let the dough rise all day at room temperature.
- Liege Waffles: used the recipe on the package of Lars Pearl Sugar because it was so much simpler than others I found. I let it rise 3 hours or so, longer than recommended
- Buffalo Chicken Dip: Pressure cooked 5 skinless chicken thighs on high for 15 minutes in some Franks’ Red Hot sauce. Shredded and mixed with a package of cream cheese, 1/2 cup mayo, 1/2 cup Frank’s Red Hot, 1 cup shredded cheddar, season to taste and add more hot sauce if desired. Filled in ramekins, sprinkled with blue cheese, baked at 350 until bubbling.
- Stout Brownies: I used this recipe but wasn’t too happy with it. It tasted great (how could it not?) but it completely stuck to the foil and was a total mess.