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

Matt’s Meatball Shop Birthday Party

IMG_7384 My husband and I recently moved from New York to Ashland and it’s been so wonderful to have a house instead of a closet to celebrate and host in.  So, I was extremely excited to throw my first big party at our home for my husband Matt’s birthday.

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The first thing I do when throwing any event, be it a wedding or a simple dinner party, is to decide on a theme.  A theme gives your party a body, so to speak, and whenever you have to make a difficult choice you can go back to the theme for guidance.  It pulls your event together and gives it shape and cohesion while making decisions so much easier.

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For Matt’s party we looked to one of his favorite restaurants in New York’s Lower Eastside: The Meatball Shop.  If you’ve never been, it’s this great restaurant that took New York eaters and hipsters everywhere by storm.  Their menu is simple, meatballs and homemade ice cream sandwiches, so my menu played out like this: IMG_7401    

Hand-squeezed lemonade

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Beer

Make-your-own meatball sandwich with marinara, mozzarella and parmesan

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Three-meat antipasto board

Fresh handmade pickles

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Spicy bow-tie pasta salad

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Superfood salad with dreamy poppyseed dressing

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Homemade ice cream cookie sandwiches;

– Double dutch cookies with mint ice cream

– Ranch girl cookies with chocolate peanut butter ice cream

– Chocolate chip cookies with vanilla ice cream

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For the decorations I used twine and old grocery paper bags to create recycled decorations.

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I measured the locations first and then created paper bag pennant banners to swing across the yard and blow in the breeze.

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On the house I placed larger pennant banners to spell out Happy Birthday as well as cut-outs from paper bags for the menu.

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I always like to create, even in the smallest of places, seating areas for people to settle and chat and create memories.  With a few bistro tables, some lounge chairs, a couple smaller end tables, and using a few of my mismatch vintage tablecloths, created some lovely seating areas dotted around the yard.

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On our porch I set up a rocking chair, lounge couch and my record player with a few carefully selected vinyls to set the mood of the party.

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To give it that real finished look I added some small bouquets and my constellation cans on the tables and set up a game area.

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 That way people could feel free to play a few yard games or decorate the walkway with sidewalk chalk. IMG_7382

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There was plenty to eat and lots of fun had by all! Happy Birthday Matt!

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Love, love, love,

Marcella Rose

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A special shout out to my dear friend Amanda who helped in the kitchen and at the craft table!

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