Beer Tasting Party {Gluten Free}


Beer tasting party

A very dear friend of mine had an epic move recently.  Leaving behind a life in Chicago that she had cultivated for years to turn the chapter on new adventures.  She has taken a huge step boldly and courageously and is such an inspiration to me. She set off in style because, of course, she is fabulous.   I was lucky enough to get to see her around the holidays in the city she had called home for years and where many a high tea, oysters and martinis, and memories were made together.  I was sad not to be able to see her off, to throw her a goodbye celebration, to help her pack, or just to be there, as moving is one of the big stressors in life.  Psychologists say it’s only rivaled by death; shocking!  I found my mind drifting to thoughts of her constantly, worried about her drive over snowy roads, thinking about how her felines would adjust and of course, missing her all the while.  I wanted to do something she would enjoy and having recently turned to a gluten free lifestyle, I started thinking of recipes I could do to honor her.  Then it came to me.  Gluten Free Beer Tasting.  Perfection.  She is a fantastic hostess and I thought what a wonderful way to celebrate new adventure and make new friends by throwing a brassy beer bash that even those with sensitivities to gluten could enjoy.  So, from almost 2,500 miles away I threw a beer tasting party in her honor.

What I love about a tasting party is it gets people talking.  No one pulls out their phones, or talks about work, people are talking about the experience, the flavors; the tastes.  It’s a great way to mingle together different groups of people and a fantastic way to spend an afternoon if I do say so myself.  You don’t need much to make it happen; a few small glasses, a few bottles of brews and an open palate! I did a blind tasting at my party.  I feel that this makes people more adventurous, you may think you don’t like IPAs but are you really giving the beer a chance if you already have that opinion set?  Blind tastings make us a little more open to trying things that we may already think we either like or don’t like.  I used votive candle holders for my tasting cups.  I found them to be the perfect size and priced even more perfectly! I grabbed a few mini chalkboards and whipped up a little tasting template you can download here if you don’t want to make your own.  I choose 2 gluten free beers and 2 ciders for the people opting out of gluten and 4 beers of varying styles for the gluten indulgers.  I began with a lighter beer, like a pilsner, then a red ale, an IPA, and a stout.  If you need help picking out beers, someone on staff at the grocery store is sure to prove valuable and if you can’t find anyone, take a leap of faith! After all it’s just a taste!

I used old paper bags, cutting them to wrap around each label and numbered each 1-4 to correspond with the numbers I chalked up on the little boards.  Then set out your snacks in little bowls and get to tasting and talking.  Give your guests a little score card or note book so they can write up notes and when you reveal the beer they can be sure to write down their favorites to purchase later.  I have included my template below for you to use at your Beer Tasting Party.

Beer tasting party

Beer tasting party

Beer tasting party

Perfect place setting - Beer tasting party


The Menu

Blue Cheese with Cayenne Pepper Honey

Gluten Free Pretzels

Balsamic Candied Nut Mix

Salt and Pepper Popcorn

Balsamic Candied Nut Mix - Beer tasting party

Balsamic Candied Nuts

  • Preheat your oven to 350 and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper
  • Crack one egg in a mixing bowl and whisk
  • Add two tablespoon sugar and 1 tablespoon aged balsamic and 1 teaspoon salt to egg
  • Mix in 2 cups nuts (I used a mixture of cashews, pecans, and almonds)
  • Spread onto parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes
  • Let cool and break up any large clumps of nuts and serve – store in an air tight container

Blue cheese and cyan honey

Salt and Pepper Popcorn

  • Pop ¼ cup popcorn melt ¼ cup of butter and toss to coat
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Cayenne Honey

Mix 2 tablespoon honey with ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Beer Tasting Card

beer tasting party

Gluten Free Snacks - Beer tasting party

Beer tasting party

Beer tasting party
Caveman Blue Cheese with Cyan honey - Beer tasting party
Beer tasting party

Beer tasting party

Beer tasting party

To friends and beer,

Marcella Rose

Beer tasting party

Vintage Halloween Bash


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All Hallowe’en

When the world is wrapped in slumber

And the moon is sailing high,

If you peep between the curtains

You’ll see witches riding by

 

It was this poem, printed on a sweet vintage style Halloween card from my mother that inspired my Vintage Halloween Bash.   I grabbed my witches hat and broom to fly back in time bringing some old school charm and whimsy to the evening. I wanted this party to feel classic so Matthew bought me a fantastic book on vintage Halloween traditions and games and we wove them into the evening, creating a magical night. You set the tone with the invitation of course, so I mailed out vintage inspired cards with a hand written invitation inside. We played vintage fortune telling games, had food with the flare of days gone by, and partied into the evening.

 

We kept it classic in an orange and black palate. I spent the month of October crafting away, draping dip-dyed tulle around and placing crows and owls on the fence to keep a vigilant watch. I crafted hand-painted paper bags into a Cemetery Luminary and modge-podged tissue paper into floating ghosts with led lights tied inside to glow into the evening. We must have cut out a million bats; hanging them in flocks around the house and from the chandeliers casting eerie shadows on the walls. Pumpkins with holes drilled through them were stuffed with lights and glowed away on the porch. You can’t have a vintage Halloween without a Scarecrow so we propped up an old one that was gifted to me from my Grandma to make sure the crows stayed on the fence.

 

Here is the full breakdown of everything good.

 

Games:

Donuts on a String

Bobbing For Apples

Costume Contest

Guess how many Candy Corn

Chestnut Tree Fortune Telling

 

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Pumpkin-Diorama

Décor:

Paper Bats

Bouquets of Flowers Infested with Bugs

A Paper Bag Luminary Cemetery

Tissue Paper Glowing Ghosts

Cobwebs and Tulle

Pumpkin Lanterns

DIY Halloween Candles

Pumpkin Diorama 

 

 

 

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Savory:

Black (olive tapenade) & orange (roasted pepper) Crostini

Deviled eggs with chili peppers and poppy seeds

Blue cheese plate with rosemary and olive “bugs”

Prosciutto wrapped asparagus

Trick or Treat Stew – with elk, yams and parsnips

Brussel Spout Salad with pistachios and bacon

Sweet:

Two-tiered marshmallow cobweb cake

Maple Glazed Bars

Carmel Apples

Popcorn balls

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Vintage Halloween Party

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When black cats prowl

& Pumpkins gleam

May luck be with you on Halloween!

Marcella Rose

 

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