We loved Carrie Bradshaw for many things, but Cosmos were not one of them. Who wants to pay $15 for a sugary hangover? Unless you’re in the midst of a UTI, there are better options out there when it comes to booze. In honor of the whole Oktoberfest thing, we’re going to argue on behalf of beer. Why beer? Well, it’s traditionally a ‘man’ drink, and since we seem to be in the process of taking over the world from our ‘better’ (ahem) halves, we feel this is necessary territory to conquer. Also, beer is good. Not Coors/Bud/Natty Light, per se (though we’ve had our fair share of 40’s), but serious craft brewskisi. To convince you, we’ve put together an easy and cheap Broke Girl Beer Tasting that is going to sound so ridiculously fun you may even be tempted to break out your bikinis and mud wrestle. Or, not.Here’s what you need to get this party started:
1) Beer. (Obviously.)
Unless you’re the generous type who likes to provide everything yourself (we can’t relate — sorry), assign each of your guests a different type of beer to bring. We advise picking six to eight varieties to represent the beautiful diversity that exists in the world of beer. There are so many styles to choose from, but we recommend the following: a lager, an IPA (India pale ale), a Belgian, a wheat beer, a sour beer, a stout / porter, and a hoppy beer (which currently happens to be very popular in southern California). You could also divide up your tasting according to different regions — Germany, Portugal, the US, and so on. Good places to find a decent variety of beer include BevMo, Wally’s, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and the occasional random liquor market.
Make sure to keep the beer nice and cold (around 50 degrees Fahrenheit) or all of the beer will taste exactly the same: like sh#t. And serve it in glassware — NOT disposable cups — because you are one classy dame. Technically you’re supposed to cleanse the palate with water from a swill bucket after every beer, but we think that’s gross and come on, our palates aren’t that sophisticated. If you’re concerned about that whiny girl who doesn’t liiiike beer, make sure to serve a lambic, which is a type of sour beer that is faintly sweet and fruity and tends to be enjoyed even by people who “don’t like beer.” We suggest Lindemans’ peach- or raspberry-flavored lambics, which even the girliest wine-cooler-aficionado can’t help but like.
Beer has had a long and happy relationship with such delicacies as chicken wings, popcorn, mixed nuts, sausage puffs, nachos, pizza, chips, and pretty much any dish of Mexican or Indian origin. That being said, you might want to get a little fancy and try pairing the different varieties of beer with complementary foods. This website goes into much greater detail than we ever could, but some basic suggestions include pairing schnitzel with lager (obviously), curry with an IPA (again, duh), cheddar cheese with brown ale, chocolate truffles with a stout beer, and hamburgers with an amber lager. Basically, you should match delicate beers with delicate dishes, and vice versa. You should also be looking for a common flavor or aroma between the beer and the food — finding harmony is key. Steer clear of gag-worthy combos like spicy nachos with pumpkin ale.
If you simply can’t fight the Martha Stewart raging inside of you, there are plenty of cute snack setups that can be arranged, such as the adorable snack jars shown here. If you’re looking for something akin to crack, try this ‘puppy chow’ recipe. We can attribute as least a ½ inch of our waistline to this addictive and not even remotely healthy, er, ‘dish.’
This is not a wine-tasting. You will not be pulling up your favorite pieces by Beethoven on your iPod, nor will you hire s violinist to serenade your guests — just turn on the TV. Football works. If no one’s playing, throw on a movie that will fit in nicely with the party’s theme: Animal House, Beerfest, Strange Brew, Van Wilder, or Old School.
4) Dress Code.
Jerseys and/or lederhosen are optional. Elastic waistbands are not.
For more ideas on boozing on a budget, and any number of other fun & frugal delights, make sure to sign up for the Broke Girl’s Guide free daily email!
Contribution from Sonya Gilman of Breakwater Brewing Co, whose knowledge of all things beer has no bounds.