How to Host the Perfect Pumpkin Beer Tasting Party

How to Host the Perfect Pumpkin Beer Tasting Party | thegoodstuff

Printable scorecard by Betty Gay

With Halloween being on a Monday this year, I couldn’t help but think of a way to enjoy the season with a good group of my friends without the mayhem of a full blown Halloween costume party.

While I always love a good party, I wanted to find a way to gather friends but take the stress of party planning down a notch. Good news is, I found just the thing and I’m here to share it you!

Think of it this way: Everyone’s talking about pumpkin spice latte (PSL) season, but I say move over PSL — there’s pumpkin beer to enjoy!

To host this fun night in, all you need is a variety of seasonal brews, some festive snacks, and good company! So grab your favorite beer drinking friends and some pumpkin brews and host a fun pumpkin beer tasting party with these easy tips.

Step 1: Set the scene

How to Host the Perfect Pumpkin Beer Tasting Party | thegoodstuff

Have some fun and enjoy a little seasonal DIY to set the scene for your party.

A beer-tasting table should be minimal frills and all fun, so think of this like a visit to a local pub with a bit of personal flair. A rustic wood table topped with a simple burlap runner lays the foundation, while the pumpkin beer bottles and food double as both refreshments and centerpieces. Add a few mini pumpkins, some fall-inspired décor, and you’re good to go.

Shopping list: I found this burlap table runner at Michaels and it provided plenty of yardage to cover a long table! (Don’t forget you can use a Michaels coupon to save up to 40% on your pumpkin beer tasting party supplies.)

Step 2: Everything (& everyone!) in its place

How to Host the Perfect Pumpkin Beer Tasting Party | thegoodstuff

Give everyone a reason to join the table by adding your guests’ names above each place setting.

This personalized touch can help you mix up the crowd by dictating seat assignments while also providing a nice take-away gift at the end of the evening. Set casual quilted mason jars at each place setting to keep the vibe easygoing. You can use either the eight-ounce or the four-ounce size jars for this event. (If you have extras, don’t worry! Mason jars make great gift containers or pieces for DIY projects.)

Shopping list: Michael’s came through again with these adorable mini easels and canvas placecards! I also found some eight-ounce mason jars for a good price at Target.

Step 3: Tap into fall-inspired brews

How to Host the Perfect Pumpkin Beer Tasting Party | thegoodstuff

Since this party is all about the beer, make sure to have some fun and gather at least six or up to eight pumpkin beer varieties.

I found that to ensure your guests have fun experimenting with different styles of pumpkin beers you should try to represent the broad spectrum of lagers, ales, ciders, and stouts. The world of beer is booming and most large-scale beer companies and micro brewers alike are brewing seasonal beer — but you don’t have to understand the difference between a bock and a pale ale in order to throw a great pumpkin beer party.

I asked the staff at BevMo and our local Whole Foods Market to show me a variety of pumpkin beers and they came through with flying colors! Even my local Costco supplied three of the amazing beers shown here.

What you’re looking for are beers that range in color and variety, so have some fun with the selection process and your guests will follow.

There is one essential rule of thumb, though: Beer should be served cold, so keep them in the fridge until they’re ready for tasting!

Step 4: Let them load their plates!

How to Host the Perfect Pumpkin Beer Tasting Party | thegoodstuff

Now that your beer menu is ready to go, you need to focus on some simple appetizers to serve to keep your guests from getting too hungry (or a little too tipsy!) during your event.

A standard issue snack for beer tasting would, of course, be pretzels. You can buy pretzel sticks, pretzel twists, and even pretzel buns if you want to get fancy. Keep in mind that mustard will impact the flavor of the beer, so keep it simple with your pretzel of choice to keep your guests’ palate clear.

After you’ve set up your pretzels, prepare any one (or a few of) these amazing appetizers to serve after your great pumpkin beer tasting is complete — your guests will thank you for the afterparty munchies!

• Perfect for pretzels, this extra-easy, three-ingredient dip is a slow cooker winner!

• To keep with the pub-fare, one-bite appetizers like this BBQ Spicy Kielbasa recipe (#10) or some Buffalo Chicken Cheese Balls (#3) are sure to please.

• If you’re looking to add a little Halloween flair to your party, you can’t go wrong with any of the easy Halloween appetizers presented here.

Step 5: Document the fun!

How to Host the Perfect Pumpkin Beer Tasting Party | thegoodstuff

Now that the fun is ready to begin, it’s important to help your guests document their thoughts and preferences by providing them with a place to write their tasting notes.

I just loved these paper place settings that allow guest to pick the top four beers they want to try and write in the name for themselves.

If you’d like your guests to be able to take their beer tasting notes home, a cute mini notebook or these free beer tasting notes printables should do the trick! Click here to download and print out these free printable beer tasting scorecards.

How to Host the Perfect Pumpkin Beer Tasting Party | thegoodstuff

To get the party and the conversation moving, encourage your guests to sample multiple types of beer, starting on the lighter end with pilsners or blonde ales, then moving up in intensity with some heavier beer like darker porters and stouts.

This can be a fun experience for you and your guests, but it’s always helpful for you as a host to encourage a discussion with your guests after tasting each beer to help them reflect on how the beer feels while drinking it and what flavors are pronounced.

To help them along, here are some easy suggestions you can provide to direct the conversation and help your guests have a little direction for the tasting:

1. Look at the beer and describe its color, head (the foam at the top), and consistency. Make a note of this on your placemat or scorecard

2. Swirl your beer in the glass — this isn’t just for wine tasting! Ask them to pay attention to the aromas that drift from the glass.

3. Smell the beer. Have them take a couple of quick sniffs with mouth closed, then open. Reflect on the beer’s aroma — make sure they write this down!

4. Slowly taste each beer by taking a sip and letting the beer sit in their mouth. Note the beer’s body and overall taste, and breathe out during the tasting process. Try sipping the beer again after it’s warmed up a little to note any taste or aroma differences.

Now that you have a party plan, it’s time to raise a glass to the season! I had a blast tasting all these beers and encourage you to gather up your friends to do the same. Cheers!