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Budget-friendly receptions: a beer tasting

How can you truly have “champagne tastes on a beer budget?” Have a beer tasting at your wedding reception.

Granted, this style of reception is not for every couple. But beer tasting parties are very hot right now, so if you apply the sophistication of a wine tasting to your reception, you can have a fun and original party, while maintaining the elegance a wedding deserves.

First, throw away the ideas of swigging bottles of beer at a tailgate or drinking out of the tapper at a college party. A beer tasting is a great way for couples who enjoy beer to give their guests the chance to sample a number of fine and exotic beers along with their food.

Pick the right location.
Ideally, you’ll have the reception at either a brewery or a microbrewery with a restaurant, like Emmett’s Tavern & Brewing Co. in Palatine. Not only will this lend to the atmosphere of your party, but they will be able to consult you on beer and food pairing choices.

Serve fine beer.
Don’t serve Schlitz at your beer tasting reception. Go for a wide selection of beers your guest will not have tried. Choose a few very sweet and cider beers for those who prefer sweeter drinks (like Riesling wines, etc.). Also, the staff working at your reception should have a knowledge of the beers in case your guests have questions.

Select beers to complement the food.
Just like at a wine tasting, the food should be paired with the proper beer. You can accomplish this by serving beers with the courses if it’s a sit-down dinner, or by offering a buffet of heavy hors d'oeuvres and placing a card with appropriate beer choices nearby.

For those who really don’t like beer….
If you offer enough selection, those who prefer wines are sure to find a beer they like. But just in case, you may want to offer a couple inexpensive wines in case your guests won’t budge.

Offer a tour of the brewery if possible.
Find out if your venue will host a tour of the brewery before the reception gets underway (combine this with a cocktail hour). A tour will be fun and interesting, even for the non-beer drinkers.

Check out a microbrewery
The "Love Brews Wedding Event" is being hosted at Emmett’s Tavern & Brewing Co. in Palatine on Sunday, February 21, which would be a great time to only sample some of the restaurant’s items, but see what things a microbrewery might offer.

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