Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Tips For Choosing Craft Beer For Your Wedding

This Choosing Craft Beer For Your Wedding post is written by Pete. For all his posts, check out this link.

Beer. It's necessary. Some would say that beer, in fact, makes life worth living and without it life would be a pointless waste of time. I would be one of them "some." For goodness sake it's noon on Sunday as I write this and I'm on my second beer.

If I was left to my own devices to determine the laws regarding beer consumption, distribution, and regulation, suffice to say there would in fact be no rules regarding beer consumption, distribution, and regulation. I would implement a "Social Darwinist" system where the rules would be abolished and it would be up to every human to fend for themselves; kill or be killed; drink beer or have your beer drank. But I digress.

Let's be honest: The best part of a wedding (for the guests) is alcohol. How many times have you been trapped in a church, falling asleep, feeling restless, and asking yourself "When is this part gonna be over so I can have a drink and bring da ruckus?" You then gaze all around to notice that the look on almost everyone else's face indicates that they are asking themselves that same question too. 

With the recent explosion of the craft beer movement, the types of beers and flavors you can offer at your wedding are infinitely fresh and exciting. Why limit yourself to having the old boring and flavorless two or three "choices" of beer -- usually the "Trinity Of Terribleness" as I like to call it: Bud Light, Coors Light, and Miller Light?

I use quotes because there is only the illusion of choice. It's really just "Hmm ... which beer-flavored water is the least horrible.?" In 2015, we actually have real choices to choose from thanks to craft beers.

Tips For Choosing Craft Beer For Your Wedding

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With this being said, there is a very good chance that some (maybe even many) of your wedding guests are into to this trend and would really appreciate having some exciting beer choices to choose from. Some may even brew themselves, and, with a subtle hint, may brew something yummy for your wedding.

(Lisa's side note: Be sure to ask your venue to see if you are allowed to bring in outside beverages. Some venues will allow this, others absolutely will not. So before your cousin decides to surprise you by brewing a keg for your wedding, make sure you are allowed to bring it into your venue.) 

The problem now is there are almost too many choices and many people don't even know where to start. It's not like liquor where you can just be like: vodka, whiskey, gin, done. With beer there are a vast multitude of styles. And to make things even more confusing, there is an amazing amount of variation within each style.

Speaking in the widest of generalities, in my experience, craft beer drinkers fall into two major categories: hop heads and those who can't stand the flavor of hops.

Hops are a very divisive and polarizing issue, so I think their abundance (or lack thereof) is a good place to lay out a simple plan on how you can choose great craft beers for your wedding. Now bear in mind, by choosing craft beer, you will not be isolating people who actually enjoy the "Trinity Of Terrible" (regardless of what they initially think). You will merely be giving them a high quality option that they will enjoy.

Case in point: I have a friend who is a die-hard fan of Bud Light and pretty much loathed the craft beer movement ... until he tried a Kolsch-style lager, the perfect craft substitute for any of the beers in the "Trinity Of Terrible." It was the perfect segue on the beer list.

You want to cover the major styles, and also keep in mind that when you do decide what beers styles you want, make sure to source them from the most local brewery you can find. This will ensure that you'll be getting the freshest beer possible and have the best beers at your wedding.

When choosing your beers, you can basically envision the process as choosing colors that range from light to dark, the lightest, least hoppy, and easiest to drink is a Kolsch. So there's choice number one. Moving down the scale, I would recommend the following:

Craft Beer For Your Wedding Recommendations

1. Kolsch
2. IPA (for the hop heads – look for a "session IPA")
3. Fruit beer (something sweet)
4. Dark beer (chocolate stouts always go over well)

How To Save On Beer For Your Wedding

Lisa here to chat a little bit about budget. Because, isn't everything really about budget when you're planning a wedding.

Figure out how much beer you need for a wedding

If you're trying to figure out how to save on beer for your wedding, you have to first determine how much beer you need for a wedding.

The general rule of thumb is account for one drink per person per hour. But honestly, I don't think that's quite accurate. For anyone over 50, sure. But in my experience, anyone under 30 is drinking closer to two drinks an hour. At least.

We had a five hour reception and I told everyone if they drank more than five drinks an hour, we won (based on the cost we paid for alcohol) and if they had less than five drinks an hour, the venue won. Our friends far surpassed that and we ended up making out on the cost.

So, my rule to estimate is 1.5 drinks per person for hour. It accounts for the more your friends will drink averaged with the less your grandma will drink. So, if you're having a five hour reception, that's 7.5 drinks per person, so round up or down depending on if you have a lot of younger or older guests.

Shop beer sales

If you're able to bring your own drinks into the venue (or if you're having a backyard wedding), you can stock up on beer when it's on sale to help save money. One of our local grocery stores has beer clearance all the time, and the beer is never expired. I'll pick it up for Pete to have at home, but if we were wedding planning, I would definitely pick it up for that.

Look for beer rebates

When we were in New York, we used to find a ton of beer rebates and we'd get free beer. We live in North Carolina now, which is really particular about this, but my parents live in Florida, which is a little more loose. So this is dependent on where you live.

But, there are cash back apps like Ibotta, which offer cash back on beer and wine all the time. And then there are sites like Beer Money Pro, which list the current (and future) beer rebates. You can break it down by state, which makes it really easy.

BRIDAL BABBLE: What craft beer is your favorite?

1 comment:

  1. We are a craft beer loving family!! We would totally have a craft beer wedding! Thankfully in Wisconsin we have soooo many options!!