In a city full of top notch breweries, well stocked beer shops and a beer knowledgeable populace, why do we still end up at parties that offer yellow and uninteresting beer? If you're lucky you'll find a keg of Manny's Pale ale - don't get me wrong, I'm a fan of all the Georgetown brews - but often there is no variety. Most often one of two things will happen to those planning parties - they wait to long and the only beers left are the piss water offspring of major corporations or they are afraid to offer an unknown beer that may be rejected by the party goers. Here's a couple of tips for buying great beer for your next party.
Tip #1: Buy beer that has a broad appeal. This is not to say, however, that you need to buy watered down beer. A good place to start is one of the better beer rating websites like beeradvocate.com or ratebeer.com. Tuesday's Taste at The Beer Authority took this into consideration: Oskar Blues Dales Pale Ale (RB 96%) and Allagash White (RB 88%), Iron Horse's Quilters Irish Death (BA B-).
Tip #2: Think about the season. This is pretty straight forward: Oktoberfest beers are great in the fall, Porter/Stouts/Christmas beers in the winter, Maibocks and Browns in the spring, etc.
Tip #3: Think about your audience. A party in Ballard would be a perfect place for Belgian and other beers from Northern Europe.
Lastly, think about quantity. Most etiquette websites agree that you should provide 3-4 beers per person attending an evening party, or 1 1/2 beers for a dinner party. For a smaller party, a great way to go is a 5.16 (1/6 bbl) keg. The small keg route allows you to minimize your waste and offer a selection if you want to provide two or more. Each 1/6 bbl keg holds about 41 16 oz. cups of beer and will fit almost anywhere.
There are many factors involved in throwing a great party and selecting the right beer can make a huge difference. As always, everyone at The Beer Authority is ready to help you with all of your beer needs!