Party Tip: “Beer Advocacy” Station

In recent weeks I’ve had a couple of shindigs and decided that instead of trying to do a proper tasting in the midst of a party I would set up a self service Beer Advocacy Station. I don’t know enough myself to sit and lecture people on brewing to style, original gravity, or other such subjects, but I do want to get people drinking better beer.

I put out a handful of bottles in bowls of ice, put up a sign with descriptions that I culled either from BeerAdvocate or the brewers’ sites, and an array of small sampling glasses. I opened one bottle to start with that I poured out for myself and let the curiosity of my guests do the rest. It was very interesting to see what bottles emptied and what ones wouldn’t budge, all with very little input from me.

It only took an extra half hour in the overall scheme of party prep. For me this wasn’t too hard because I already had all of the beers I put out down in my cellar. If you do something like this and need to buy the day of keep the bottle count to 6 to 8 bottles – a mix of bombers and 12oz. That should keep the cost to somewhere between $30-$50 depending on how fancy you want to get. If you go with a “locals only” feel you could probably get away under $30. In the end given the amount of halfway decent beer leftover in my fridge from the guests it ends up in a break even situation.

Night #1 Offerings:
Nøgne Ø Brown Ale
Kasteel Tripel
Tröegs Tröegenator Double Bock
Stone 12th Anniversary Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout
Saint Botolph’s Town
Wittekerke
Stone Vertical Epic 08.08.08

Night #2 Offerings:
Mayflower Porter
Ommegang Chocolate Indulgence
Saint Botolph’s Town
Stone Vertical Epic 08.08.08
La Fin Du Monde
Ephemere
Wittekerke
Southampton Abbot 12

Biggest Hits:
Kasteel Tripel– Everybody commented on its champagne-like quality.
Saint Botolph’s Town– Liked the mild sweet earthiness.
Stone 12th Anniv.– Much love for the richness & earthy cocoa.
Mayflower Porter– One guy called it the perfect beer.

This was a fun little experiment that allowed for some interesting conversation from people who were already beer converts and for those who drink Sam Adams when they want something good, but generally don’t think much about beer and didn’t expect something like chocolate in beer.

If you’ve got the time and the beer give this a shot at your next party and see what happens.

Cheers! -John

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Bruery Tasting @ Bauer and BA’s Extreme Beer Fest Pre-Party @ People’s Republik: 2/19

Just a couple of quick Boston event plugs for this evening for those of you who aren’t lucky enough to have tickets for the Extreme Beer Fest this weekend or for those that do and would like to prime the pump this evening.

At Bauer Wines on Newbury St. from 5-7pm Patrick Rue the brewer/owner of California based The Bruery will be pouring some of his offerings which have just started distributing to liquor stores in Massachusetts. I was lucky enough to sample a few of their brews at the Belgian Beer Fest last September and recommend giving them a try, especially the Saison Rue and Black Orchard.

Then from 7-10pm BeerAdvocate is having an Extreme Beer Fest pre-party at People’s Republik in Cambridge. Sam Calagione from Dogfish Head and The Alström Brothers will be in attendance and some great beers are set to be tapped from DFH as well as Nøgne Ø from Norway and Quebec’s Dieu du Ciel!:
– Dieu du Ciel! Rosée d’Hibiscus
– Dieu du Ciel! Péché Mortel
– Nøgne Ø Batch #100
– Dogfish Head 60 Min IPA
– Dogfish Head Chicory Stout
– Dogfish Head Palo Santo
– Dogfish Head Red and White
Should be killer.

An additional Extreme Beer Fest note, I’ll be volunteering the Friday night session and the Saturday evening session so if any readers out there are going and you see somebody in a STAFF shirt wearing a scally cap it’s probably me. Say Hi and ask for some recommendations.

Prosit!
-John

That's me in the green pouring at EBF '08.

That's me in the green pouring at EBF '08.

Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project tasting @ Bauer Wines tonight.

I’d completely forgotten about this tasting, but decided I’ll pop over to Bauer Wines on Newbury Street after work and check it out.

Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project is a relatively new local brewing company -if company is really the right term- whose first release, Jack D’or Saison Americain, is a hoppy take on the traditional saison style. While I haven’t reviewed it here I have had a bottle from their first batch and it was very enjoyable if a bit on the hoppier side of things for my taste.

Tonight @ 5pm Dann Paquette, founder and brewer at Pretty Things, will be debuting their second offering Saint Botolph’s Town Rustic Dark Ale as well as pouring Jack D’Or. So stop on by and try some of each and take a bottle or two home.

Cheers,
John

[Editor’s note: 2/13- I had a couple of samples and the Saint Botolph’s was as good as I hoped it would be. I snagged a couple of bombers so a review of it and Jack D’or will be forth coming in the upcoming weeks.]