Written by Michelle Tham, Certified Cicerone® | Photo, above: Photo by: The Melideos
One of the best parts of a wedding — at least according this guest — is, of course, the bar. From signature cocktails to specialty wines, more and more couples are creating bar menus that showcase their personalities. Considering there are over 100 different beers styles in the world, and even more flavours to experience in beer’s…let’s explore how your wedding’s personality can be expressed through beer!
Google search trends show that the number of Canadians searching for the term ‘beer bar’ has more than doubled over the last two years. What’s a ‘beer bar’, you ask? Think about your traditional cocktail bar with the accessibility and versatility of beer. This latest craze in weddings is a fun, refreshing option for beer-loving brides, grooms and their guests.
Here are five ways you can swap out the expected with the unexpected by incorporating beer into your wedding:
The Radler Bar
Keep the party going for the entire night by keeping it sessionable. Sessionable drinks are drinkable, refreshing, and lower in alcohol – without sacrificing flavour. Have guests start the evening with flavourful refreshments during cocktail hour without turning up the alcohol.
A Radler is a 50/50 mix of beer with fresh and natural fruit juice, and it’s incredibly easy to create your own combination and allow guests to be their own bartender.
Start off with a beer that’s light in flavour (think a light lager, like Bud Light or Michelob Ultra) and present it alongside a mise en place assortment of fresh fruit juices that can be mixed and matched with the beer. For a unique visual, you can style the bar by pouring the juices from glass pitchers or elegant wine carafes to showcase their colour, and dress up the table with fresh fruit arrangements. Have fun with exploring fruit flavours that are in season and beer from your favourite brewery.
The Beer Toast
The clinking of glasses and the sharing of positive vibes is the true sparkle of the wedding toast.
Consider beer’s celebratory spirit to fill the glasses to cheers your guests with more versatility (and affordability). Sip your favourite lager out of a fluted and stemmed glass, and try not to label yourself an official beer snob! Toasting with beer as your bubbly can be inclusive for all guests, especially those that don’t want to consume alcohol (a non-alcoholic beer that looks and tastes just like the real thing like Budweiser Prohibition Brew is an option to allow everyone to enjoy and toast freely).
Outside of the wedding toast, ensure your venue has appropriate glassware and offers your beer menu with a glass pour. An elegant selection of glassware, even for beer, is a thoughtful touch of detail that elevates both the occasion and beverage. Not to mention, drinking beer out of a glass is the best way to experience the flavour and aroma; after all, you put in all the work to select flavourful and interesting beers, its qualities should be properly experienced! Pouring beer into the glass releases the aroma and carbonation, let’s you appreciate the colour and appearance, and prevents that bloated feeling, keeping your guest light on their feet and ready to dance all night.
The Couple that Brews Together…
Brewing beer isn’t easy -but it’s something you can do from home with your partner, to create something together that is reflective of your personality. You can also have fun with naming and labeling your brew.
Visit your local homebrew store and work from a brewing kit that provides all the ingredients and equipment that you need. You can purchase empty bottles or recycle bottles from beers you’ve had (more fun) and sanitize them for re-bottling. Plan for the brewing process to happen about a month out from the big day to allow time for fermentation (when the magic of alcohol happens) and conditioning (when the beer rests and matures to its best flavour). Take it a step further if you’re ambitious and brew enough for take-home growlers as a party favour.
The Perfect Union
Small plates look to incorporate as many different styles of foods from regions around the world. Go big on flavour by pairing each plate with a different type of beer to compliment the spices, textures and delicate undertones of your dish.
The world of beer is alive with flavour so there are a lot of options to choose from including farmhouse ales, Belgian pale ale, and American pale ales. When a beer and dish are perfectly paired, the flavours should harmonize and elevate each other.
When pairing beers with food, collaborate with the chef to ensure that the intensities of both beer and food align; that there are bridging flavours that both items have in common; and there is some sort of contrasting element in the taste and texture between the food and beer.
According to some chefs, the definition of dessert is changing -Instead of sugary sweet late-night treats, explore with cheese for an end of the meal, or end of evening experience. A custom cheese platter of assorted varieties provide a satisfying savoury bite waiting to be washed down with a refreshing and carbonated sip of beer. Some flavourful pairings to try: smoked cheddar with a Belgian Dubbel (Leffe Brun), pepperjack with a roasty Irish stout (Mill Street Cobblestone Stout), creamy goat cheese with a Belgian witbier (Shock Top), or blue cheese with a citrusy and bitter IPA (Goose IPA).
Michelle Tham is a Certified Cicerone®. What’s that? Think of your traditional wine sommelierâ€¦but for beer! As the Head of Education at Labatt Breweries of Canada (aka. Best. Job. Ever), Michelle helps Canadians ‘beer better’ by providing a deeper understanding of beer, including how to find the right beer for the right time, for any occasion, including weddings!