I love having parties. I do not love, or ever remember to, take pictures of them. So just imagine a traditional German market, resplendent in that distinctive blue plaid. And imagine groups of frabjous, jolly people quaffing and clanking steins. Oh, and also, all those people are wearing Lederhosen and leading goats on ropes and devouring mountains of bratwurst and sauerkraut, of course.

Okay, so maybe it wasn’t exactly like that. After all, I’m not a squillionaireness and I also don’t like goats in my house. But I think it was a fun party nonetheless.

How it Works:
We bought six different kinds of beer, all around a similar theme. The ones we chose for this party were:

– St. Arnold’s Oktoberfest – slightly sweet; delicious, with fall flavors that were good but not overpowering. Could drink this all year.
– Magic Hat Seance – I usually don’t like anything too dark, but I was a fan of this beer in small doses. It’s pretty dark and toasty and roasty. Would drink again.
– Sam Adams Harvest Pumpkin Ale – Sam Adams doesn’t really count as true craft beer, but (and warning, this is probably girly) this beer has the best color. It looks exactly like pumpkin pie. It tastes like pumpkin and spice and fall.
– Left Hand Oktoberfest – probably my least favorite. It was just too bitter for me.
– New Belgium Brewing Pumpkick. Pumpkick has the most fun name and its label says it pumpkin-y with the kick of cranberry. It had just a little tartness (from the cranberry, I guess) that made it unique from other fall beers and very drinkable. I could see this as a great fall beer in Texas where it’s not very cold this time of year.
– Southern Tier Warlock Stout – I can’t say anything about this beer as I’d had plenty by this time and I’m not a stout fan. Judging from the rave reviews of the men in attendance though, it was a fan favorite.

Friends brought their own fall favorites as well, and we put them all out with tasting glasses, then let everyone start tasting.

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That’s one of the only photos of the evening. For snacks, of which there were zero photos, I made mini Reuben bites (had to work the sauerkraut in somewhere, just to keep it authentic), jalepeno popper dip, Pittsburg Hot Links (from my grandmother’s restaurant), sausage balls and mini sausage wraps. I think that’s all – some of the night is a blur, not because of the beer but because it’s exhausting being such a charming hostess.

Oh, one other thing that’s a must-have at a beer-tasting party: palate-cleansing ginger. But, be forewarned – this is spicy stuff and not intended to be consumed like candy.

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If only there had been some kind of a disclaimer or warning or a clearly-written note explaining this, so people wouldn’t just eat it like candy, then become indignant. Sigh.

It was fun, even for a Friday night party, which was absolutely the only day in October that worked. And an Oktoberfest party in November or May, well, that’s just silly. Small group, good beer, friends, excellent conversation – pretty much a winning recipe for the beginning of a great month.

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