Beer drinkers can feel out of place at a typical wine tasting, but you can throw an at-home beer tasting party that is casual and fun. The varieties of beer available are just as extensive as wine. You can taste-test beer from a particular region, such as Belgium, or try a variety of craft beers, ales or dark beers. Remind your guests to refrain from wearing too much cologne or perfume, since the different smells can make it harder to fully appreciate the beers.
Invite guests. Most at-home beer tasting parties are small, casual affairs with fewer than 10 guests. Four to eight people is most often recommended in order to keep the party size manageable.
Choose the beers you will be serving. Create a menu and a score sheet on your computer, if desired. Place these papers inside a folder you make for each guest.
When deciding upon your beer tasting menu, you may want to assign a type of beer to each guest. Ask guests to bring at least two bottles of beer in their assigned style. The brand of beer can be written in on the menu under the proper category as guests arrive.
You will need six to 12 different beers in total. The amount should work out to 3 ounces of beer per person, per taste test. Be sure to have extra beer on hand for post-tasting beer drinking.
Chill the beer to the appropriate temperature. Typically, this is around 55 degrees for ales and 45 degrees for lagers.
Use wide goblets in your beer tasting. In order to get the full effect of the taste of a beer, it is necessary to drink it. Encourage your guests to use their senses to really appreciate the beer: smell, sight and taste. Pour no more than a third of a cup into each glass. Two 12-ounce bottles of beer will be enough for eight people.
Plan the menu so that the guests are tasting the lightest flavors first, ending with the heaviest flavors last. Beers with the highest alcohol content should be placed at the end of the list.
Set out a pitcher of water for the guests to rinse their glasses between each tasting. Provide a bucket or basin where people can empty their glasses after rinsing.
Serve mild food during the beer tasting such as cheese and crackers, nuts and pretzels. Alternately, you can take a cue from wine tastings and prepare a multicourse meal that pairs different beers with each course.