With Halloween being on a Friday this year, there are bound to be a plethora of costume parties, midnight trips to the haunted corn maze and lots of pumpkin beer. Since I prefer to avoid the craziness (I’m an old woman at heart, I know), my ideal Halloween evening consists of a pumpkin beer tasting party with several close friends. To host this fun night in, all you need is a variety of seasonal brews, some festive snacks and good company! Here is how to throw a bewitching beer bash.
Step 1: The Beer Selection. Part of the fun is sampling the beverages without any expectations or preconceived notions, so don’t be too picky when it comes to selecting the beers. No need to spend hours researching the best brews before standing in the seasonal beer aisle. We built our own six-pack at Total Wine with a variety of bottles, with everything from light ales to darker porters.
Step 2: The Score Sheet. Once we selected the drinks, I typed up the list and made columns to write notes about the flavor, hoppiness, etc. and to rate each one from 1 to 10 (10 being the best). It’s fun to look back on your comments and compare these seasonal sippers. Plus, you won’t forget which one you liked the best for next year! Now next time you are faced with the difficult decision of which pumpkin beer to buy, you will have a go-to beverage.
Step 3: Snacks. Make sure to have some festive munchies on hand. I mixed together sea salt popcorn, candy corn (with the big pumpkins, of course!) and plain M&Ms. The salty and sweet flavors were the perfect way to cleanse your palate and get ready for the next seasonal sample!
Step 4: Pumpkin Party Time! Let the tasting commence! It’s best if you use sample-sized glasses (4-ounces or so) to make sure everyone gets a taste of each beer. Here are a few tips from BeerAdvocate’s Beer Tasting 101. Enjoy!
What were your favorites or least favorites? Here are the winners (and losers) of our pumpkin beer taste test.