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The Flavors of Fall

Oct 08, 2013 11:19AM ● By Cate Reynolds

Take advantage of the season with an outdoor beer-tasting party.

Fall is the perfect time for outdoor gatherings. The air is cooler, the mood is more relaxed, and the organic beauty of the season makes us long for good friends, good drinks, and good food. With a variety of seasonal brews and longstanding staples on the shelves, why not take advantage of the vitality of a new season by hosting a relaxed Brews & Bites outdoor party? Here are several tips to get you started. Invite a few friends to the gathering, asking them each to bring a favorite beer to taste and share. For the beers you’ll be tasting, cover up the label with numbered printables available at Use a piece of craft paper as a table runner so that everyone can write on it.

Be sure to have plenty of small bites on hand for guests to nibble on while tasting. Do your homework to make sure your tasty fare pairs well with various flavors of beer. Combinations often work best when food and beverage share some common flavor or aroma, according to Think the nutty flavor of an English-style brown ale paired with cheddar cheese or the rich, caramel flavors of an Oktoberfest lager paired with roasted pork.

You can also look to the classic cuisines of beer-drinking countries for inspiration, according to That is, after all, where schnitzel with pale lager and oysters with stout came from. One key piece of advice from Be sure to match strength with strength, meaning delicate dishes work best with delicate beers, while strong-flavored foods demand assertive beers.

With beer in hand and the menu prepared, it’s time to have fun tasting and taking notes. At the end of your dinner, announce who brought the most popular bottle!

Caitlin Moran is the editorial director of the Glitter Guide, a blog that offers fun, chic, and colorful lifestyle tidbits on everything from fashion to fitness, each injected with a healthy dose of glitter. Visit for more inspiration.

• For a recent photo shoot, picked up adorable tasting paddles and glasses at Target and then added ribbons and twine to the paddle handle. Pour your beer from lightest to darkest and number the beers to match their respective bottle labels.

• Skewers of Grilled BBQ Shrimp & Pineapple are especially delicious with lighter beers.

• The chef at Main Ingredient in Annapolis created a tasting menu for’s shoot, complete with shaved beef sliders and soft pretzels and rosemary dipping oil.

Natalie Franke, Annapolis

Styling & Production:
Caitlin Moran for Glitter Guide

Graphic Design & Printables:
Striped Cat Studio

The Main Ingredient, Annapolis

Floral Arrangements:
Intrigue Design & Décor, Annapolis (