So I’m finally getting this up on the blog. It’s one of my favorite events, and according to my husband, it is THE best event I’ve done. Probably because it was for his 30th birthday and the theme is one of his favorite things–craft beer. He’s dabbled in home brewing for a few years now, and really enjoys finding well made craft beer. And as his big birthday drew closer, the obvious choice for a party for him was a craft beer brew bash. At first I was going to try to surprise him, but that would have been way too stressful. Plus, he had so much fun anticipating, taste-testing brats and cupcakes, and helping to plan (don’t tell anyone, but most of my best event ideas actually come from his creative genius), it was totally worth it to bring in him on it.
My main goal for this event was to keep it classy. I didn’t want a bunch of drunk people cluttering up my house and back yard and disturbing my neighbors. The point of craft beer isn’t drunkenness, it’s appreciation for the drink, much as it is with wine. So we were intentional in our planning. We wanted to essentially have a gastropub in our back yard and went for an industrial feel–bricks, galvanized steel, chalk boards. My husband’s brewing equipment made for great decor and doubled as ice chests. Our fences were covered in Dogfish Head (one of my husband’s favorite breweries) posters. Tables were covered with butcher paper; centerpieces were a beer bottle with wheat and a bucket filled with peanuts on bricks. I created a “Hoppy Birthday” banner, as well as some chalk board style posters. I also made garland out of bottle caps and a craft beer glass silhouette garland. Finally, I bought a beer and pointing finger garland on Etsy.
Food & Drink:
We served brats from a fantastic local butcher, as well as chicken sausage for the more health conscious, along with sauerkraut & caramelized onions and variety of mustards. Our friend, Gary, came up with the remaining menu and catered gourmet gastropub food like cheesy bacon chips, fried pickles, and roasted brussel sprouts with garlic aoli. Finally we served a bunch of munchie, snacky items like soft pretzels, kettle chips, Chex Mix, M&Ms and peanuts.
Obviously, for drinks, we served craft beer. We provided a few growlers from a local brewery, Wolf Creek, then asked each guest to bring a bottle of their favorite craft beer to share. We also served fancy sodas (we have a LOT of pregnant friends right now) and bottled water.
Warning: Shameless promo ahead!
Dessert was probably my favorite part of the night, being the crazy cake-loving lady that I am. We wanted to serve beer cupcakes, and after scouring the internet for recipes, I found a company in San Diego that makes cupcakes using craft beer and actually sells their cake mixes! It was perfect! Except for one thing–at the time, PubCakes was still working to make their craft beer cake mixes available for purchase online, but was not yet up and running. And with a toddler and newborn, I simply didn’t have the time to drive to the San Diego farmer’s market to buy them. So I emailed the owner, Misty, explaining my situation. She was awesome to work with and mailed the cake mixes to me. Now a quick note of explanation–I love cake but I do NOT like cake mixes. Cake needs to be made from scratch. Except PubCakes cake. Their cake mix was SO. GOOD. There are only four mixes available (vanilla ale, cocoa porter, chocolate stout & belgian spice), but Misty offers a number of different recipes on her website so you can turn your mix into whatever craft beer amazingness you’re currently craving. She also has recipes for frostings and fillings. And trust me, they’re good. I hope to one day soon make it down to San Diego so I can actually meet this cupcake goddess, but for now I’ll have to make myself content with her mixes. For this event, we used three of her mixes and made the following (and yes, I made all these lovely cupcakes along with the help of my friend, Sam, and her mad cupcake frosting skills–we thought ourselves to be just a little amazing when we were finally done with our gourmet cupcakes):
We also made a fourth cupcake, a chocolate pretzel stout with a brown ale custard filling from a recipe I found on the Snyders of Hanover website. I was born and raised in PA (quite close to Hanover) on Synders pretzels so I had to make this one excepiont to PubCakes. This cupcake was also amazing. I think I may have eaten my body weight in cupcakes both leading up to the party (you can’t serve an un-tested item) and the night of. And in the days after, finishing up what wasn’t eaten. I didn’t want any of that yummy goodness to go to waste. Anyway, I’ve taken a lot of space–probably too much–writing about cupcakes, so I’ll stop now.
Invitation, Favors, Water Bottle Labels
For the invitation and favor, I worked with Product80 on Etsy. Grant makes custom coaster invitations which are pretty awesome. I preferred the coaster as a party favor as opposed to an invite, so he created a special coaster for our guests to use based on the invitation design. We also decided to do water bottle labels to round out the look. Grant was great to work with and we loved what he came up with for us!
And that was my labor of love for my best friend and hubby. It is not a 30th birthday he will soon forget. It really was so much fun–everyone keeps asking us to have another. Maybe we’ll just have to throw a craft beer brew bash every year for his birthday!
Event Planning & Styling: Marigold Events
Photography: Blyss Photography (except for the crappy pictures–Alyssa was also our babysitter and had to leave leave to watch the kiddos so the not-pretty pictures are ones I, and other, took)
Food Labels, Mustard Bottle Labels, Craft Beer Chalkboard Posters, Hoppy Birthday banner: Marigold Mom Shop
Catering: Gary Edwards
Brats: Bob’s Country Meats
Cupcake Mixes: PubCakes
Invitation, Coaster Favors, Water Bottle Labels: Product80
Decorative Posters: Dogfish Head
Beer Varieties Poster: Pop Chart Lab
Beer Glass & Finger Garland: Sunny by Design