Archive for the ‘Wedding’ Category

If you’re a beer drinker, you know that weddings aren’t always the best place to find a quality adult beverage that suits your palate. And if you’re lucky enough to find an alternative to Bud Light, Coors Light, or Miller Lite, it’s likely to be some “exotic” brew like Heineken, which isn’t going to knock your socks off.

So when my fiancée and I began looking at venues for our own wedding we assumed that we, like so many betrothed couples before us, would be stuck serving whatever beers the venue wanted to serve, with little wiggle room for a wannabe beer snob like me to add in a few wildcard selections. But as it turns out, the venue we chose is allowing us to buy and serve any alcohol we want, which means we can customize our own beer list. Hoo-ray beer!

That said, I don’t know as much about beer as I’d like to–or should, given how much of it I’ve drunk over the years. So, I enlisted the help of beer connoisseur Henry Joseph. If you’re an avid reader of this blog (i.e. Mom), you may recognize Henry’s name from previous posts–one about New York City’s Pony Bar and another about the best holiday seasonal beers. Here’s Henry’s take on wedding beer, in his own words:

I LOVE going to weddings. Scratch that. I LOVE dressing up and drinking all day. Weddings are usually good for that, but they are RARELY good for offering you a tasty beer to drink all day. This always bothers me, and I usually stay away from beer altogether, opting instead to start with whisk(e)y and moving on to vodka sodas with maybe a Coors Light in between. Heaven forbid someone offer up an Allagash White at a wedding…

Now if someone wanted to put some thought (and money, of course) into it, there are plenty of beers out there that would be PERFECT for a wedding. That Allagash White I mentioned is definitely one, as is any number of other wheat beers. Say, for example, Franziskaner Hefeweizen or the recent GABF Gold Medal winning Dreamweaver Wheat from Troegs.

Saisons are another great option. They tend to be mild and approachable in flavor leaning toward the sweet side and offering pleasant fruit/spice notes. Ommegang’s Hennepin is widely available and tastes pretty good to boot.

(Now I’m not gonna do what you think I’m gonna do and recommend Saison DuPont, the Platonic Ideal of the style because it is damn near impossible to find a bottle that isn’t skunked–draft is amazing and should always be drunk. This is the dirty little secret of the beer geek community. Everyone just walks around pretending like it doesn’t happen and saying it’s the best saison there is when the truth is that two seconds in the light has an irrevocable negative effect on its flavor. Rant. Over.)

Saisons are a little harder to find but Ithaca makes a great one in the spring time called Ground Break. It’s available right now and you should go drink it.

Of course, you can also go the lager route and offer up a nice crisp, clean alternative to your Bud-Miller-Coors. Go continental with some old German light lagers like Augustiner Edelstoff or heck, even just a simple Spaten Lager and you can have a refreshing beer to drink in large mass and your guests will hardly notice the absence of macro swill. Or you can stay closer to home and go with Victory’s Lager–it’s only one of my favorite beers ever from one of my favorite breweries ever.

In the end, though, it’s your wedding and you can serve whatever the hell you want. I’ve known some people in this industry who’ve poured some pretty cool stuff at their weddings. Some have even poured beer that they made themselves! I’ve never done this so take the following advice with a whatever, but your caterer will probably have beer distributors that they typically work with and they should be able to provide you with a product list. Or if you’re in good with your friendly neighborhood bar/beer store, they may be willing to order a keg for you. There’s no need to make people drink more shitty beer. You’re inviting your friends and family to share this special moment with you, make sure they have something special to drink, too.

As always, big thanks to Henry for schooling us all. What’s your ideal beverage at a wedding? Do you have a preferred “wedding beer”? Please share in the Comments section!

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“It’s like playing laser tag,” said the smiling Crate & Barrel associate, explaining to my fiancée and me how to use the barcode scanner before sending us off into the wilderness that was two floors packed with home goods.

The laser tag comment, I gathered, was for my benefit—an attempt to engage the historically less-interested half of a male-female couple when it comes to registering for wedding gifts. Patronizing as it might have been, I couldn’t help appreciate the effort to involve me. It reminded me of the way older siblings let their younger siblings “play” video games with them by handing them an unplugged controller and letting them go nuts. The younger sibling gets to participate in the game, or so he thinks, despite the fact that he doesn’t actually have control over anything in front of him. (Sorry, Danny, but I absolutely pulled this stunt with you when we were kids. You were not, in fact, the Tecmo Bowl touchdown maker you thought you were.)

Our first stop was the refreshments table, set up for the exclusive registry event we were attending; “exclusive” meant we were allowed inside the store from 9 to 11 am on a Sunday morning, before the store opened to the general public. But much to our chagrin, we learned that the mimosas we’d been told we’d get were actually non-alcoholic cocktails of sparkling grape juice with OJ. We grabbed coffees instead and headed downstairs, past the couches and kitchen tables that our one-bedroom apartment wouldn’t be able to accommodate.

With only two hours on the clock, we decided to tackle place settings first. C&B’s display included about twenty pre-arranged dishware sets—that’s dinner plate, salad plate, bowl, and coffee cup for the nuptial neophytes out there. An associate found us perusing and encouraged us to “play around” with pieces from different sets and explained that we didn’t necessarily have to be so “matchy-matchy” with our selections. She even set us up with our own area at a kitchen table with a placemat.

We found a nice gravel-colored dinner plate with brown trim around the outside that we liked. Next was the salad plate. For that set, as with most sets, the salad plate was just a smaller version of the dinner plate in the exact same color and design. We didn’t want to be too matchy-matchy, so we looked for something else to offset the gravel. We found three different black salad plates from three different sets across a gradient of shininess—from very shiny to no shine (or matte). We chose the middle one. Next, we realized we couldn’t use the bowl from our original set because it was too shallow. What if I needed to bring my bowl of cereal from the kitchen to the living room? Was I confident that this shallow bowl would keep my cereal and milk within the confines of the bowl’s edges? I was not. Luckily, we found a bowl from another set, in turquoise, that we both agreed was functional and aesthetically pleasing relative to the dinner and salad plates.

After we got the dishware down, we move onto the flatware. (I know what you’re thinking: But you didn’t choose your coffee cups! YOU MUST COMPLETE THE SET. Relax. We decided that we liked the idea of serving coffee or tea using funky, mismatched coffee cups. Turns out, we were already avoiding matchy-matchiness in our home and didn’t even realize it.) Selecting our flatware was simply a matter of picking regular-looking forks, spoons and knives. (Incidentally, I wonder if there are couples who spend hours deliberating over their first set of flatware. Honey, I want people to remember our butter knives.)

Before we left that section of the store, it was time to scan all the items, LASER TAG STYLE. And let me tell you, that lady was right: it was exactly like playing laser tag. (Note: It was nothing like playing laser tag.) I was in charge of scanning each item. But after adding eight dinner plates to our registry, I noticed that our salad plates were double the price of the dinner plates…surely, no one would buy us such expensive salad plates! So it was back to the drawing board, but thankfully we were able to replace the black salad plates with white ones without throwing off the delicate balance of the place setting. Consider that bullet dodged. I scanned the bowls, the flatware, some glassware we’d chosen—including four port/sherry glasses, for all the port/sherry we anticipate serving to our hypothetical dinner party guests—and the original placemat the associate had set us up with (by then we were too drained to keep shopping for a different one).

After a quick stop in the cookware section—which included a free sample of bacon sausage cooked in a wonderful Le Cruset skillet!—we were just about out of time and decided to wrap things up by hooking our laser gun, I mean scanner, up to a computer that saved our list and created an account for us. Our registry was officially “live.”

My fiancee’s mother later explained that we should have registered for at least twelve of everything, not eight—our hypothetical dinner party guest list had grown by four hypothetical people—so clearly, there is more work to be done. But if nothing else, it was a start.

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