We love beer. Unfortunately (fortunately), our distinguished palate for beer is at a much higher level than our budget allows most weeks.
Along with loving a great bottle of craft beer, Mike is also a gold metal award winning brewer. Yep...he does it all. Home brewer, fence builder, Thai food maker, woodworker, bathroom cleaner, diaper changer, mall shopper and Downton Abbey watcher (I got the whole package with this guy.)
But back to the beer...
We host our fair share of gatherings here at The Smith Homestead. I love a good mingle at the house. Anytime of the day or night, in any season, there is always reason to gather friends together.
At our most recent party, the theme centered around great beer and food. In celebration of Mike's birthday I planned our first Blind Beer Tasting. Each person/couple brought their ultimate favorite beer to enter into the tasting along with a $5 entry fee. Once the entries arrived, they were brown bagged and numbered in the back bedroom and then brought out to party central (i.e. the living room/kitchen/dining room) where they were put out for tasting.
There were score cards, rules, food to munch on, a great music mix (made by yours truly), lots of candlelight and best of all....no kids. Did I mention this was a night time affair? I encouraged my girlfriends to dress up along with me and we'd dance the night away. Thankfully my girlfriends agree to these sorts of things and we did, in fact, dance the night away with our fancy clothes and heels on.
(Before we talk food: Lets talk photography. My uber talented, world traveling, photographer friend Tina, took these photos. She owns Vrai Photography...see that nifty button of her's over there on the side bar? Click it to see some amazing images. She also took that very flattering photo of me up there on the right hand side, recently.)
As for the food, we kept it pretty simple. I didn't want to get all crazy with the beer/food pairing side of things since we didn't know what people would be entering. So I kept it more with the theme of what we'd eat at a corner bar on a Friday night.
On the menu:
Country Ham & Biscuits
Build Your Own BBQ Slider Bar with slaw and Sriracha
Individual Seven Layer Dip Salads with chips
Hummus, Pita and Veggies
White Castle Casserole (brought by the amazing college chef, Josh Waddle)
Fig and Goat Cheese Dip (brought by Josh's equally amazing mom, Julie)
Brownie & Blondie bar
Chocolate Chip Cookies with Sea Salt
There were 15 entries, a prize pool of $75 and one fantastic trophy. 2 runners up were announced and the winning beer of the night ended up being...(drum roll please)... Bell's Two Hearted Ale. The winners, new friends of ours Michael and Jen, were the lucky recepients of the trophy and the loot.
And back to that trophy for a minute....isn't it a beauty? It reminds me of that fancy mirror ball trophy on Dancing With the Stars (hee hee).
I actually think I had more fun making this than any other craft project I can remember in recent history. Mike laughed at me as I sat like a little giggly kid at the kitchen table with my hot glue gun and stack of beer bottle caps. There is definitely something magical about using a hot glue gun on a cheesy craft project, isn't there?
If you want to make your own, (because who doesn't want their own beer trophy)?, here's how:
5 easy steps to your very own beer trophy:
1. Find the most horrendous looking vase you can at the thrift store. Mine was $1.50 at Goodwill.
2. Stop at Michael's on your way home from Goodwill and buy a Styrofoam ball to fit on top of the vase. If you don't have a hot glue gun, you'll need one of those too (just a cheapy one will do the trick). And if you don't have any old brown paint laying around your house, pick up a small bottle of craft paint before heading to the check out line.
3. Now, if you drink alot of beer and just toss the bottle caps in a drawer after popping the top, you may already have a stash ready to go. If not, your local home brew supply store or large liquor store will probably have bottle caps. They are cheap and one bag should do the trick.
4. Assemble your goodies on the kitchen table and get to work. Lay down newspaper and start painting your Styrofoam ball brown. While the Styrofoam dries, plug in the hot glue gun to get the glue stick warming up.
5. When the Styrofoam ball is dry, glue it to the vase. After that, start gluing those bottle caps to the Styrofoam. I had no rhyme or reason to mine...I'm sure you could be much more methodical about it. I was far too giddy for method.