Backyard Beer Tasting

Monday, July 28, 2014

For my husband's 40th birthday I planned a special party to celebrate with close friends. I came up with the idea of a backyard beer tasting. I bought four types of beer in pint size bottles. They ranged from light to dark and created a well rounded flight. You could also do a tasting of beers from around the world, a single country, same brewery, or the same type of brew (e.g. IPA, blond, etc.). The possibilities are endless. I wanted to appeal to the masses so I picked a variety to satisfy everyone's taste buds. To my surprise the hit of the night was the peanut butter stout. Who knew?

The idea was to keep the tasting as a self serve process. This way I was free to mix, mingle and be a good hostess. I setup up a chalkboard with a couple of easy steps. I wrote down the order and name of each beer along with a little about what it would taste like. I had guests grab a paper plate (I know very glam, but who are we kidding I was going for easy clean up!), then they loaded it up with 2.5 ounce tasting cups (aka Jello shot cups) and poured a flight. It was really fun to watch guests taste and interact. A great icebreaker and way to get the party started!

My DIY chalkboard consisted of an old door and a lot of chalkboard paint.

I used a flower pouf to hide the large hole where the doorknob would otherwise go.

I added a hint of a Mexican/Spanish theme throughout the party. I used burlap and chalkboard as my accents along with bright pops of color. Glass juice bottles filled with water and pinto beans served as vases. I bought three small bouquets of flowers at the grocery store and mixed the colors to make centerpieces on the dining tables.

I hired a taco guy to cook and serve dinner. The best money I ever spent. It smelt and tasted heavenly.

I used my DIY tassels to add pops of color to my decor. I'm selling this set of 3 handmade tassels here. This is a one time shop item and once it's's gone!

I carried on the Mexican/Spanish theme with this framed chalkboard print adored with mini tassels. I also added a fun chalkboard Keep Calm sign next to the bar.

Lots of succulents already in my garden, but moved around to add some natural accents.

I wanted to create a special backdrop for a dessert bar. I bought peg board and two shades of yarn to create an ombre banner. I crossed stitched the numbers 4 and 0 using a basic pattern found on Pinterest.

This was a super time consuming project, but really made an impact. I marked out the grid using painters tape. This really helped me stay on track. I finished the backdrop by tying black and white pictures of my husband growing up over the years. It was a really fun conversation piece.

I was super lucky to have help on this project from Sawyer. He's a crafter in training!

My husband's favorite meal of the day is definitely dessert. I decided to have all of his favorite things lined up on a dessert bar. At one end of the table I had a gourmet s'mores station. I included a fun menu with made up concoctions like the great white (marshmallow, white chocolate, and coconut sandwiched between two graham crackers.) This menu is part of a Smore's Kit on my shop. Guests roasted the marshmallows over our outdoor fire pit.

When I asked Derek what kind of cake he wanted he told me Sprinkles cupcakes. Um, I said cake not cupcakes! The birthday boy is always right so I ordered an customized mini sprinkles cupcakes. I wanted to keep everything small so guests could try more then one dessert.

I found fun little chalkboard signs at Target and labeled each of the flavors.

Since I spent a small fortune on cupcakes I made a cake for Derek. I found this super simple recipe Pioneer Woman. Instead of using Cool Whip I used vanilla frosting. I was afraid the Cool Whip would melt outside. When I was making the cake my layers starting sliding off so froze the whole darn cake over night and crossed my fingers. It totally worked out in my favor! I topped the cake with a custom 40th birthday banner. I snagged this printable here.

Last, but certainly not least the donut portion of the table. I had three layers: powered donuts bought at the grocery store, homemade donut shaped sugar cookies, and dounut holes.

I added some fun donut sayings for a bit of whimsy and two actual donuts to add to the look.

When I saw this donut pillow I had to have it! I will be the first to admit that I overpaid. I spotted it at the mall when I was shopping with Sawyer. I had him hold it while I browsed the store and it totally kept him entertained. SCORE!

D├ęcor for the party, toy for Sawyer, and the cutest photo prop EVER!

What a great party and way to celebrate my amazing husband!

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