Thursday, June 4, 2009

Party Hosting Ideas

Here's is a beautiful light centerpiece, perfect for a beer tasting party.

With more people opting to stay home this year, there is no need to opt out of entertaining as well. If you have had your kitchen re-done within the last few years, this is the time to make that investment pay off. You can cater your own affair right at home but you needn't lay out a huge banquet every time you invite people over. Here are some great ideas for entertaining at home where the featured guest is a bottle of wine or beer.

Hosting A Wine or Beer Tasting Party

You can host a "participatory" wine or beer tasting party. Guests are free to bring a few bottles of their favorite wine or beer. You simply supply the glasses, cheese or other appropriate snacks for the evening. The emphasis is on TASTING not guzzling so small tumblers are quite the ticket for a party like this. Set out the bottles of beer or wine and instruct your guests to:

TASTE LIKE A PRO The true secret to tasting like a winemaker or brewmaster is to take your time and use all of the senses to experience the drink.

LOOK Study the wine or beer in the glass. Hold it up to the light. What do you notice?

SWIRL Swirling the wine or beer in the glass helps release the flavor.

AROMA Researchers tell us that 90% of what we taste is actually smell.

TASTE Pay close attention as the beer or wine sits on your tongue. Different regions of the tongue pick up different tastes.

CLEANSE Before moving on to the next sample eat a cracker and have a drink of pure water. This will cleanse the pallet for the next round of flavors.

You can have index cards next to the samples so that your guests can take note of the ones they like and leave comments on what they noted in flavor, aftertaste and balance. A party like this is wonderful opportunity to learn more about what is available and how to really enjoy a fine glass of wine or a tasty brew. There are so many wines as well as types of beer such as ales, stouts, lagers, etc. You may find yourself overwhelmed with so many choices! I purchased a case of Samuel Adams Brewmaster Variety Pack. It contains six distinct styles of beer and gave me a great education on the differences in flavor and texture offered by various brewing processes. I also visited the Yuengling Brewery in PA a few years ago and had my first dark porter in the tasting room at the end of the tour. Do a little research on the types of cheese that compliment the most common variety of wines. As for beer, hot, savory appetizers are always good. The main point is that you'll want to relax and enjoy the evening with your guests. If you keep the menu simple and let the wine or beer be the main attraction, you'll find yourself free from a lot of preparation and work.

If you are set on going out for an evening with friends and the restaurant allows you to carry in your own alcoholic beverages, this idea will work in this setting also. You will save on purchasing high-priced alcoholic beverages at the restaurant while trying some of your friend's favorites. It really is a great way to spend an evening with friends and family with no clean up involved on your part! If you'd like more information on various types of beers or holding tasting events such as this visit George Killians at

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