According to Boston Magazine, what beer you choose for your wedding is just as important as the food.
You’ve likely spent days, maybe even weeks, planning your dinner menu. Your mother doesn’t like lobster and loves steak, but your in-laws are pescatarians.
You’ve had a significant job on your hands to make sure that everyone’s needs are met with the dinner decisions. The same holds true for the beer.
Choosing the wrong beer can easily ruin all your meal planning. Selecting a dark-colored beer for a summer wedding can throw off the entire mood. Picking a stout for a spring wedding can have your guests wondering if there’s a snowstorm approaching.
Just like meal prepping for your big day, there are factors to consider before choosing the beer to serve at your wedding. Here’s a guide to help you with that so that your guests can enjoy their meals and hold their peace.
What season will you say your vows?
The season you decide to have your wedding is a huge factor for determining which beer to serve. Your guests may forever hold their peace about your marriage, but you won’t hear the end of it from your cousin, Jeannette if you choose the wrong beer for the wrong season.
Let’s look at the best beers according to each season.
Fall weddings can have both light and dark beers. The fun part about having a fall wedding is finding pumpkin-flavored beers to highlight the harvest season. The alcohol content for these beers is generally one or two percent higher than summer beers. Try out an amber ale, Oktoberfest, or a stout.
Besides the season, it’s also important to think about the setting. Will you be outdoors during hotter weather (summer or spring)? You’ll want to opt for a lighter-colored beer. Darker colored beers are better for colder weather, evening, or nighttime weddings.
What foods will you serve?
Arguably more important than the season are the seasonings used on the dishes you serve. Pairing alcohol with food, in general, can make or break a dish. Pairing beer with food is no exception. Let’s look at a few popular wedding dishes and their beer best friend.
Serving lobster? Choose an IPA. IPAs are very intense, aggressive beers that can drown out the taste of food very quickly. But if your lobster is drowning in butter, you have nothing to worry about. The fat of the butter counteracts the bitterness, creating a smooth flavor from the beer and a tasty flavor from the lobster.
Porters and stouts are an excellent choice for more decadent options like chowders and stews, which you might be serving at a winter wedding. Keeping the cozy theme of the food going, porters and stouts have a malty, robust flavor that gives them a malty richness. They also have coffee and toffee aromas adding to the sweater weather feeling.
Planning to have top sirloin on the menu? Pale ale has intense flavors and fruity notes that help it pair really well with top sirloin steak. It brings out the savory taste of the steak while highlighting the crisp flavors of the ale.
The caramelized flavor of an amber ale complements the sweet and rich flavors of the sauce used on prime ribs incredibly well. You’ve probably heard of using amber ale in homemade barbecue sauces, and this is precisely the reason why.
Feeling fancy with a filet mignon? Serve a nice, crisp lager. Filet mignon has subtle flavors, so it’s a great idea to choose a drink that enhances those flavors instead of overpowers them. Lagers are great for this as they won’t cut through the taste of the steak.
Serving juicy roasted chicken calls for blonde ales. These types of beers sometimes have added fruit that helps bring down the bitterness. The malty sweet flavor of a blonde ale brings out all the flavors that have been slow-roasted into the chicken.
Having fried chicken instead? You can try a traditional light lager. It balances out the richness of the chicken with just enough bitterness and carbonation.
Can you brew?
The New York Times highlighted a couple in Texas who brewed their own beer for their wedding. They were able to craft 20 gallons for their friends and family that each had a wedding-themed name.
The names of their beers included “Tie The Knot Scot” and a porter called “For Richer or Porter.”
Having a homegrown beer for your guests will add a personal touch. If you think this is a winning idea for you and your partner, gain a bit of brewing experience and load up the barrels.
Can you pick a theme?
Esquire suggests picking a drinking theme to help you decide which beers to serve at your wedding. Their website features a couple who chose to have a beer from every city they’ve worked or lived in since they’ve known each other.
If you’re having a winter wedding, you can choose beers that have winter-themed names or labels or make it truly feel like a winter wonderland. Or like you’re roaming over an Alaskan tundra. Maybe you’re the adventurous type.
By choosing this route, you add flair and personality to your menus for a memorable experience for every guest.
And with all that being said, there are so many beers to choose from. Would you like a robust, bold-flavored stout or a floral, fruity IPA?
Despite all the choices you have at your disposal, it’s best to only have 2-3 beer options. This way, you make sure your guests are satisfied, but you aren’t running around stressing yourself out over Uncle Tony’s disdain for Blue Moon.
Here is a list of popular imported and domestic beers you can consider serving at your wedding.
Popular Domestic Beers
- Blue Moon
- Budweiser and Bud Light
- Trumer Pilsner
- Fat Tire
- Miller and Miller Lite
- Coors and Coors Light
- Sam Adams
- Shock Top
- Michelob Ultra
And if you want to spice things up a bit with Stouts…
- Guinness Draught
- Young’s Double Chocolate
- Stone Brewing – Xocoveza Mocha
- Goose Island Bourbon County
From IPAs to stouts to lagers, there are many beer options to choose from for your wedding. Keeping a few factors in mind like the season, setting, and the menu is essential to picking the right one.
Keeping it light with a lager pair well with rich, flavorful dishes, warmer weather, and daytime weddings. Going bold and dark works well with heartier dishes, cooler weather, and evening or nighttime weddings.
Adding a theme to your beer selections adds personality to your wedding and will be another piece of your special day your guests will carry out the door with them. Brewing your own beer to go along with the theme is an added bonus and will warm the hearts of your friends and family.