Food and Cakes

Help me choose beer - updated with selections!

edited March 2015 in Food and Cakes
So I can choose 4 beers (mid-priced) for my reception but I don't really know a lot about beer and my FI only drinks Heineken. My wedding is in May, with an indoor reception. Food is BBQ style (pulled pork, brisket, mac'n'cheese, etc). Our venue coordinator asked if we would like a porter or stout, but I
wasn't sure that a dark beer would be a popular spring wedding option when people are eating a lot and dancing. There will also be wine and a limited bar. I'm thinking one of each of the following:

- light lager
- regular lager
- wheat beer (or something else "summery")
- IPA
- maybe something Belgian-style in place of one of the above?

Thoughts? Favorite beers? New England or other northeast microbrew suggestions would be especially awesome!

Re: Help me choose beer - updated with selections!

  • I don't personally like porters but lots of people do and I think it's a good choice to serve with BBQ. IPAs are very popular though, perhaps more so than porters.

    I always like sampling local beers at weddings. Are there local breweries around? See if your caterer can get kegs from there.

    - avg domestic light
    - avg domestic reg
    - local wheat
    - local porter or IPA
    *********************************************************************************

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  • mikenbergermikenberger In a f'n cornfield member
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its First Anniversary First Answer
    Personally, I would skip doing 3 light beers. Light lagers, lagers, wheats are all the same beast (mostly) just varied on yeast and fermentation. But especially the light lager and lager, you're not going to get a huge difference where you'll be like WOO! Glad I made that choice. I would:

    - Light lager/lager (Yuengling lager is a great choice.)
    - Local wheat or shandy (Travelers and Leinenkugel's both make very good shandies.)
    - IPA (or even one of the session IPA variations - All Day IPA from Founders or Go To IPA from Stone are good selections. A broader scope of hop character but not huge in ABV like a regular IPA.) And an excellent pairing with BBQ
    - And I would do an ESB, English Mild, Amber or Brown. Still gives the dark beer drinkers something to drink, but doesn't have all the heavy bitter flavors that stout can sometimes have. Or yes, a porter would be a good idea.
    - If you chose to go Belgian, try to find a saison. Mmmm. Saison. 

    I'm not a huge stickler on "You can only drink lawn mower beers in the summer!" "You can only drink doppelbocks in the winter!" Beer is good at any occasion. 

    image
    redheadbride15Liatris2010esstee33
  • Personally, I would skip doing 3 light beers. Light lagers, lagers, wheats are all the same beast (mostly) just varied on yeast and fermentation. But especially the light lager and lager, you're not going to get a huge difference where you'll be like WOO! Glad I made that choice. I would:


    - Light lager/lager (Yuengling lager is a great choice.)
    - Local wheat or shandy (Travelers and Leinenkugel's both make very good shandies.)
    - IPA (or even one of the session IPA variations - All Day IPA from Founders or Go To IPA from Stone are good selections. A broader scope of hop character but not huge in ABV like a regular IPA.) And an excellent pairing with BBQ
    - And I would do an ESB, English Mild, Amber or Brown. Still gives the dark beer drinkers something to drink, but doesn't have all the heavy bitter flavors that stout can sometimes have. Or yes, a porter would be a good idea.
    - If you chose to go Belgian, try to find a saison. Mmmm. Saison. 

    I'm not a huge stickler on "You can only drink lawn mower beers in the summer!" "You can only drink doppelbocks in the winter!" Beer is good at any occasion. 
    I second a lot of this.

    Lager - Yuengling (this will also appeal to those who aren't beer snobs, but who like a standard beer).
    Wheat - Ommegang's Witte and Bell's Oberon are two that my crowd tends to like.
    IPA - I'm not an IPA drinker, but DH loves them. Hands down Dogfish Head has the best in his book - their 90 Minute is his favorite, but the 60 Minute is also good.
    Dark - You can definitely go for a porter or a stout - I drink them all year round. Some good options would include Breckenridge Vanilla Porter or Young's Double Chocolate Stout. As PP said, a brown might be a good option as well, in which case I recommend Dogfish Head's Indian Brown Ale.

    Also, I think you do need to know your crowd. Do you have a lot of beer drinkers? Are they beer snobs? Or do they prefer you more general run-on-the-mill beer? DH and I are definitely craft beer drinkers, as are a number of our friends. However, his whole family prefers what we call "race car beer" (ie - the stuff you swill at NASCAR events). So for our wedding, at which we could offer 3 beers, we did one something along the lines of a bud light (shudder), Yuengling, and then the 90 Minute IPA mentioned above. The beer snobs all went for the latter if they were drinking beer that night, DH's family went for the bud light, and everyone else picked the Yuengling. (We also had several wine options as well as mixed drinks.)
    image
    redheadbride15
  • These are great suggestions! I do expect a significant portion of my guests will be beer "snobs", which may be why I'm spending so much time thinking about this. I already told my venue coordinator to skip the light option that they usually stock (Miller Lite or Bud Light). But she told me they would get whatever I wanted, so now I'm stuck with making decisions!

    I'm hearing:
    1. Lager (forget the light version): Yuengling is a great suggestion - I went to college in PA and this was always our go-to beer, so it will be popular among my college friends in attendance.
    2. Wheat: Harpoon is popular up here in New England - I may do their UFO as a wheat option, or Allagash White (from Maine). I've never had Ommegang's Witte, but I know my brother likes one of their high ABV Belgian ales.
    3. IPA: I may need to taste test. I think I'm going to try to stay away from the high ABV options (like Dogfish head 90 min IPA, and even the 60 min is 6.0%).
    4. Dark: also will need to taste test. These don't tend to be my favorites, so I'm open to lots of good suggestions here! I think something a bit smoother and not too bitter.

    I tend to drink lagers or wheat beers, so these are easier for me.
  • Another thought... With a list like this, I would have a little sign on the bar that people can see from a couple spots back in line. 

    That way, your bar line moves faster vs. every single person asking the bartender "what kind of beer do you have?" and then taking a while to decide.
    *********************************************************************************

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    redheadbride15mrsdee15
  • I second the suggestion for the Stone Go To IPA - it has a lower alcohol volume (4.something%, I think), and a lot of people really like it.
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  • I tend to prefer stronger, darker beers, so I think it's a good idea to include one. I don't know if it's available where you live, but Brooklyn Brown Ale from Brooklyn Brewery is a darker beer that isn't quite as heavy as a porter or a stout. 

    Does your venue offer the option of a hard cider? That might be another good choice.
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  • julieanne912julieanne912 member
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary First Answer
    edited March 2015
    I agree that it's a "know your crowd" thing.  I live in Colorado, land of the beer snob, and our venue is in a town home to 3 breweries. But, most of our guests are coming from Wyoming, land of Bud Light.  So we will probably do either Bud Light or Coors Light, 2-3 kegs of those, probably a keg of something a bit heavier like Coors Banquet, and then a keg of something "fancier", like an IPA.  Also having bottled Heineken available for the gluten free folks.

    Side note, I love Leinenkugel's Summer Shandy.  Beer upsets my stomach these days but I'll usually take one for the team to drink the shandy on a hot day. 


    Married 9.12.15
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  • I love Shandies too, but I'm not sure my crowd would be into them. I'll just have to get a six pack for myself and stash it in the bridal suite :)

    Oh by the way, I know we're talking beer and I'm loving all your recommendations and advice, but I'm really excited about this: May 30 (our wedding day) is National Mint Julep Day, which means I've TOTALLY got my signature cocktail figured out! Yum!!!
    mikenberger
  • Cookie PusherCookie Pusher Looking over your shoulder member
    Eighth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I'm not much of a beer snob, I just want to say I totally agree with Yeungling is a great choice for a lighter beer that has more mass appeal. We went through 3 cases of it at our wedding - along with 3 cases of Guinness and 2 cases of Guinness Black Lager and tons of hard liquor and wine.
    ~*~*~*~*~

  • I say go with an IPA, my personal favorite choice. It's full of flavor, nice and bold. Then get a regular local beer as well.
  • MobKazMobKaz Chicago suburbs member
    Tenth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers

    I tend to prefer stronger, darker beers, so I think it's a good idea to include one. I don't know if it's available where you live, but Brooklyn Brown Ale from Brooklyn Brewery is a darker beer that isn't quite as heavy as a porter or a stout. 


    Does your venue offer the option of a hard cider? That might be another good choice.
    One of our choices we made within our beer category was Mike's Hard.  I don't drink beer at all (with the exception of Schofferhoffer grapefruit during Oktoberfest), but love a good Mike's on a summer night!
  • These are all great ideas, guys! FI and I will be doing some beer tasting this weekend (in other words, we'll go buy 1 6-pack of each and try them). I'll update you all on how it went!
    cj3561
  • cj3561cj3561 Connecticut member
    25 Love Its 10 Comments First Anniversary Name Dropper
    I am an absolute craft beer freak - my Fi and I go to different breweries almost every weekend. I have nothing but great things to say about Two Roads Brewery, here in CT, and their "Honeyspot Road" white IPA - especially if you are looking for one with lower ABV. I believe it is 5% or just under. It tastes delicious, light, a little citrus-ey and is the epitome of a spring beer in my mind - still has that hoppiness of an IPA. You can find it all over New England. :)
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    This is why we can't have nice things.
  • These are all great ideas, guys! FI and I will be doing some beer tasting this weekend (in other words, we'll go buy 1 6-pack of each and try them). I'll update you all on how it went!

    By the way, you guys have all given me so many great options that I've come to the realization that I will inevitably spend most of this weekend drunk as a skunk.

    @cjr3561 haven't heard of Two Roads Brewery before - will definitely have to check them out!
  • arrippaarrippa Sam Adams Craft Commonwealth member
    Eighth Anniversary 1000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer

    My favorite NE local beer is Allagash White and of course, Sam Adams.


  • I tend to prefer stronger, darker beers, so I think it's a good idea to include one. I don't know if it's available where you live, but Brooklyn Brown Ale from Brooklyn Brewery is a darker beer that isn't quite as heavy as a porter or a stout. 


    Does your venue offer the option of a hard cider? That might be another good choice.
    Ditto the same! I am not a beer person as well, but I sure do love some Woodchuck Cider as well as Redd's Apple Ale.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • Cookie PusherCookie Pusher Looking over your shoulder member
    Eighth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers

    Thanks for your suggestions everyone! We had a fun time beer tasting this weekend. Here are the final selections:

    1. Yuengling (lager - Pottsville, PA)
    2. Allagash White (wheat - Portland, ME)
    3. Dogfish Head 60 min (IPA - Milton, DE)
    4. Smuttynose Old Brown Dog (brown ale - Portsmouth, NH)

    Plus, secret connections have promised a limited stash of the much-sought-after Heady Topper Double Imperial IPA (The Alchemist, Waterbury VT)

    I'm coming to drink all your Yuengling. Kthnx.
    ~*~*~*~*~

    redheadbride15
  • arrippaarrippa Sam Adams Craft Commonwealth member
    Eighth Anniversary 1000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer

    Thanks for your suggestions everyone! We had a fun time beer tasting this weekend. Here are the final selections:

    1. Yuengling (lager - Pottsville, PA)
    2. Allagash White (wheat - Portland, ME)
    3. Dogfish Head 60 min (IPA - Milton, DE)
    4. Smuttynose Old Brown Dog (brown ale - Portsmouth, NH)

    Plus, secret connections have promised a limited stash of the much-sought-after Heady Topper Double Imperial IPA (The Alchemist, Waterbury VT)

    I am ready to par-tay!

    redheadbride15
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