We all know that a wedding is all about the bride and generally more often than not the groom sits back & says “Yes dear, that’s perfect” or “No honey I don’t mind how many people we invite”. We, the grooms usually take a back seat when weddings are prepared, however in this ever changing world & with the evolution of the beer industry and a growing variety of quality craft beer out there to take a look at, it is quickly becoming an aspect that the groom can take control of to ensure he feels a part of the process and also to ensure the guests are given an opportunity to drink beer with the same appreciation we give to wine at a wedding and thus make for a much more enjoyable evening at the reception for everyone invited.
Recently I went to a wedding in the Yarra Valley an area known for its wine and also more recently for a small posse of local craft breweries. So I was surprised and initially shocked to see that while there was an array of wine on offer and cocktails there was a serious limit on the style of beer available. Basically we had Boags Light or Cascade Premium… Given the selection, I started with a glass of red during the pre reception portion where guests mingled and when we were seated and our waiter asked what we would like to drink I took it upon myself to ask him if he had any craft beer available. His response was, “We have some Hargreaves Hill but it’s not for the receptions it’s for private dining guests”. I was somewhat shocked at the suggestion that the venue felt craft beer would not be a viable option to offer a wedding couple for their guests, and bugged him once more before he gave in and began to supply me with Hargreaves Hill Pale Ale throughout the night. Something I greatly appreciated.
Clearly the beer at a wedding is generally a forgotten subject and if the venue doesn’t raise it then the bride and groom to be won’t question it. Which brings us to the topic at hand -”Selecting Craft Beer For Your Wedding” and how to go about it without firstly offending your bride to be and secondly without offending the venue on their usually bland beer list.
The first thing to consider is how to go about getting your fiance to let you work the drinks list without freaking her out by adding a few bob to the wedding cost (yes craft beer will cost you more). Perhaps look at it from the angle of making her understand you are helping lighten her work load in the lead up to the wedding (some of you may have beer drinking fiance’s so this will be much easier).
The second thing to consider is to understand what beer is actually out there and what the costs may be for having it supplied at your wedding. There may be an additional corkage fee for external supply of beer at some venues while others may allow you to arrange supply yourself for the venue and simply serve it on your behalf. Either way be sure to speak to the venue to ensure they will allow it.
Finally once you have the OK from the fiance and the venue to select some craft beer you have to begin the search for what beer you actually want. Now I understand we all have our favourite beers and you may be a craft nut like me and know what you like but you should think about the guests! Will they enjoy the same beer you do? What kind of beer do they drink now? Most likely it will be a form of macro beer (mass produced) like Boags or VB etc… so don’t go too flavour heavy with your selection because it may just put some people off completely and spoil the night for them. Nothing worse than going to a wedding and not being able to down a few beers!
My suggestions would be to go for something that is what the craft beer world considers a “Transition Beer”. Be wary though – some beers that look like transition beers are actually “Faux Craft” and are produced by those cheeky macro brewers under the guise of another brewery. Choosing a “Faux Craft” beer may appease some guests but they are generally full of adjuncts and not all that nice, plus if you’re going to this effort, you want something that is truly “Craft” and easy to drink.
To assist you in this endeavour I have put together a list of beers from some of my favourite Australian breweries (love to keep it local) that produce some outstanding transition beers and are generally reasonably well priced. Enjoy!
Specialty Beer (For the Groom & Groomsmen)
Bridge Road Brewery
Chevalier Saison – Saison/Farmhouse Ale
Bling IPA – India Pale Ale
Single Batch – Seasonal Beers Brewed In Small Batch (Styles Vary)
Southern Bay Brewery
Hop Bazooka – IPA (India Pale Ale)
Le Petit Tronc – Saison/Farmhouse Ale
Standard Selections (For the guests)
Bridge Road Brewery
Beechworth Pale Ale – Pale Ale
Australian Pale Ale – English Pale Ale
Golden Ale – Golden Ale
Two Birds Brewing
Golden Ale – Golden Ale
Sunset Ale – Amber Ale
E.S.B. – English Special Bitter
Pale Ale – Pale Ale
Cavalier Pale – Pale Ale
Stone & Wood
Pacific Ale – Golden Ale/Blond Ale
Jasper Ale – Altbier
Feral White – Witbier
Hop Hog – American IPA
Golden Ace – Golden Ale
Little Creatures Pale Ale – Pale Ale
Little Creatures Pilsner – Pilsner
Coopers Pale – Pale Ale
Coopers Sparkling – English Pale Ale
Southern Bay Brewery
Southern Ocean Ale – American Pale Ale
Southern Bay Draught – Pale Lager
Requiem Pilsner – Pilsner (New Age)
There are many more options out there available and a little bit of research can go a long way. However with the range shown here I’m sure there is plenty to get you on your way to quality beer at your wedding. If however you are determined to get the beer perfectly right for your special day then I can offer a service to assist in the selection of the perfect craft beer for your upcoming wedding and heck it doesn’t have to be an Aussie beer! But I’ve always been one to support local before global.
Mark Iscaro came across the world of boutique/craft beer when in the early 2000′s he stumbled upon a bottle of Chimay Blue which quickly became his favoured beer along with many other Belgian beers. From there he began his own craft beer journey sourcing craft beer from local places visited when on holidays throughout Australia. Mark has recently become an avid home brewer and is known for putting Olives into his homebrew. He is also one half of the TV show “Craft Beer Crusaders” which recently finished airing its first series on Channel 31 and is currently working on series 2.
His favourite beers of choice are generally Belgian & Hopped up beers of any style. You can read his reviews on Boutique/Craft beer at his blog. Mark is also available to help you select the right craft beers to suit your wedding menu! Drop him a line through his website, check out his TV show Craft Beer Crusaders or follow him on Twitter or Facebook!