After a little discussion and a few loony ideas (think everything from a white trash party to a southern bbq), Honey and I agreed on a Chili & Beer Tasting party. The beauty of this particular party theme is not only that nearly everything could be prepared in advance, but that chili definitively tastes better the next day anyway! It's customary that the host couple provide the entire meal, while guests bring their beverage of choice.
Although it's not by any means required to send an invitation for this monthly gathering, y'all know I couldn't resist! Kraft paper tags designated whether guests should bring ale or lager. And I always love a good excuse to use our custom monogram.
The chili tasting bar offered cups for "just a taste" and bowls to "fill up."
We served three different chili options - Beef & Bean, Southwestern and White Chicken - will all the fixin's. A chalkboard designated suggested pairings. And because I'm super duper type A, I covered the stove with burlap so that things looked pretty :-)
(we added the sliced avocado just before serving)
Salad and honey cornbread muffins were served family style at the tables. And, speaking of the tables, with such a large crowd we had to split up between the dining room and kitchen. I used a kraft paper runner, paper napkins and kraft paper place tags. I was in a real pickle for some sort of center piece and last minute threw some yard clippings into empty beer bottles and clustered them on the table. It admittedly looks a little last minute :-)
We finished our meal with Guiness Brownies a la mode. I scooped and refroze the ice cream in cupcake liners the night before, which made for super easy serving at the party.
The beer tasting bar featured a bucket of ales and a bucket of lagers. It was so much fun to try all the different kinds of beers people brought to the table! We provided blueberries, lemons, limes and oranges for garnishes and sheets to keep track of beers we adore and beers we abhor.
Of course, we also offered iced water and sweet tea.
Stay tuned for more details on the beer bottle invitations and all the recipes!
We had a packed house, full bellies and loads of fun with a group I hope we'll be hanging with for years to come! This place is finally starting to really feel like home.