By Chris Jennings
For the Oregon Beer Growler
Celebrations are always a great occasion to crack open a tasty homebrew, be it a birthday, holiday, Thursday or even a wedding — your skills as a homebrewer can be on display at any given event.
Weddings can be the most romantic and extravagant displays of affection, so once you’ve found that perfect someone to share your life with why not begin your adventure together with a homebrewed commemorative beer? Naturally, your soul mate likely shares at least a certain degree of passion for your homemade concoctions (how else could you have possibly wooed them to begin with?) Or perhaps you know the soon-to-wed couple and can create the perfect social lubricant as a gift for their reception. Either way, the process to select what beer to make and serve at a wedding can be a difficult task. Once you jump through any legal hoops, paying a tapping fee can be annoying at best. But the satisfaction of knowing the guests will be enjoying a quality homebrew as they toast your union of love will make it all worth it.
You Can’t Please Them All
In the process of selecting which of your award-winning brews to make for your own wedding or the happy couple’s, there are several things you should consider. Of course, the most important factor is the two people who are getting married. In a perfect world, they would want the same beer. However, you may have to make two different styles to accommodate differing tastes. You should also consider the guests and try to get a sense of what kinds of beer they’ll find palatable.
Make sure to give yourself enough time to brew and ferment so that you’re not rushing or sending green beer to the party. Additionally, remember to make enough beer for the size of the reception. A 5-gallon batch produces approximately 41 pints. Naturally, you can probably drink a third of that yourself, so factor in the estimated number of other people who will be there and increase the volume, as needed. And even if you only manage to make the couple happy, you’re doing a perfect job because this is their special day.
Are You a Bootlegger?
Once you know which brews you want to showcase, you need to figure out how to serve them. There are a few legal matters to become familiar with, but first and foremost keep in mind that there is absolutely nothing illegal about serving homebrew (no matter what the event space or organizers might tell you). However, the decision to do so lies with the party that possesses the liquor license. A tapping fee may be required, particularly if the venue is providing bartenders and servers. If they will not accommodate your request, you can always look for a different location — so ask about serving homebrew early in the planning process.
Another option would be to use bottles of homebrew as favors to the guests. You could go as far as packaging the beer with specially designed labels reflecting the theme of the wedding. There are a handful of websites to help with that process. In the end, remember that the beer you’re making — whether it’s for your own wedding or someone else’s — is a way to show support for two people who are celebrating their love and devotion to each other for the rest of time.
Bone Dry Black [AG]
Bone Dry Black [Extract]
Stories from the print edition of the Oregon Beer Growler.