When you’re throwing a party there are a lot of things to consider, including the choice of beverage. If you’re planning on serving beer at your party, what do you choose?
The best beer for a party fits the occasion, location, pleases the guests, and is the right price. Both the location and occasion for the party can affect what beers are appropriate. Additionally, you don’t want to spend all your money on beer. For a budget-friendly option, pick PBR or Budweiser; a great beer for almost any party is Stella Artois.
Keep reading for everything you need to consider when choosing a beer for your party, plus some great recommendations for both cheap and craft beers for your party.
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How to choose the right beer for your party
So you’re getting some people together for a party, but if you’ve been to both a frat and a work party, you know that the word “party” can have several meanings. The beers that would be perfect at one could get you some odd looks at the other.
Every party is different so different beers will make or break the mood. The best way to choose the right beer for your party is to consider four things:
- Guest list
At a frat party, for example, you would want the cheapest beer available since there will likely be a lot of people. The occasion may be a holiday like Halloween, but the main reason is to drink and have a good time.
The people going to the party will be other college students who won’t be looking for fancy beers to savor. As for the location, it would likely be at a frat house where there aren’t any restrictions on glass or cans.
The right beer in this case would probably be one or two varieties of light beer. Natty Light or Coors Light would be cheap, easy to drink, and all-around acceptable.
If you were to choose to get craft beers at the same price, chances are party-goers would be left thirsty.
Obviously, such a large error wouldn’t happen except in the worst sitcom. Even so, there are smaller mistakes that are easy to make. To help you decide what is reasonable for any party I will go over some guidelines below.
Pricing can be one of the more important parts of choosing the right beer. If there are going to be other expenses for the party you don’t want to blow your entire budget on beer. At the same time, super cheap beer is looked down on by certain groups.
When thinking about the price of beer for your party you should first figure out your price range. You should also think about the quantity of beer you’ll need.
The low end will be beers like Natty Light, Bud Light, and PBR. Beers in this range will run roughly $10 per 12 pack of 12 oz beers. This is great when quantity is more important than quality.
In the middle range will be beers that are more expensive but still fairly average. Examples include Stella Artois, Blue Moon, and Samuel Adams Boston Lager. A 12 pack of 12 oz beers can run between $15 and $20. These beers are good at balancing quality and price tag.
On the high end are specialty beers that prioritize quality over quantity. These beers are aged beers, craft double IPAs, and small-batch beers. Often, they are only available in small quantities or expensive enough to make it a bad choice for all but the smallest gatherings.
The number of people coming to your party is very important when considering the price range. Any of these ranges might be fine for a small party. At that point, you want to consider what the guests would enjoy. The more people you have, the more expensive it will get.
The reason for the party will determine how your choice of beer interacts with the event.
Certain occasions call for certain types of beer. Consider how the occasion will shape how fast your guests drink and whether the beer goes with the food.
If you’re throwing a family BBQ, it is safe to assume that your Aunt Janet isn’t going to suddenly start doing kegstands. Since that won’t be the case (unless that’s what Aunt Janet is known for), you won’t have to get a bunch of beers that are easy to drink.
If it is more likely that your guests will drink slowly you can get fewer beers. This can give you the option to get more expensive drinks. A handful of nice beers will often be more appreciated at the family BBQ than at the football game.
The other thing to think about is food pairings. When the occasion does not include food your options are open to you. However, if you want to be more intentional with your beer choice, you can pair the beer with the food.
For example, you wouldn’t pair a heavy stout with sushi at a dinner party. Instead, go with a lighter beer such as a pilsner.
Planning a wedding? Read this article for some specific considerations and recommendations.
The guest list is almost as important a consideration as the cost. Everyone has different tastes when it comes to beer. Some might turn their noses up at cheap beer while others might not appreciate expensive beer.
If your guest list is full of close friends, you can get the beer they like. If you don’t know your guests that well, consider instead what the offered beer will say about you.
If you and your guests don’t have a particular taste in beer, there is no need to spend a bunch of money on fancy beers. When you know what beers your guests like you can pick those and everyone will be happy. The success of the party is then up to other factors.
It’s a little more difficult when you don’t know what your guests like. At this point, you either guess on one or two types of beer or get a variety. It is usually a safe bet to get a couple of different beers in the middle pricing range.
The location of the party should also factor into your beer selection process.
If you are considering providing beer at a party, you should first consider how the location can affect you. Some locations restrict the materials you can bring. Others won’t allow alcohol at all.
If you’re throwing the party at your home, you have the most control over what is and isn’t allowed. However, if you are anywhere public you will have to do some research.
A couple of common locations that require some planning include the beach and the park. Most, if not all, beaches prohibit glass. Broken glass is a hazard to wildlife and any other beachgoers. Some beaches also prohibit alcohol, but that is by county.
Parks are usually similar, but more of them will place restrictions on alcohol consumption.
Overall, cans are usually a safer bet, but be sure to look up restrictions ahead of time.
The best cheap beers for a party
Here is a quick look at 10 of the best cheap beers for a party to get you started. Each of these beers is popular, easy to drink, and of course inexpensive. They aren’t groundbreaking beers by any means, but they will serve the purpose.
When cost is the most important consideration when buying beer for your party, pick:
- Natural Light
- Pabst Blue Ribbon
- Corona Extra
- White Claw
- Angry Orchard
- Samuel Adams Boston Lager
- Dos Equis
The best craft beer for a party
If you’re more concerned about drinkability and you’re looking for something a little more exciting than the most common mass-market beers, you may prefer a craft beer.
Some of the most popular and drinkable craft beers are:
- Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
- Dragon’s Milk Bourbon Barrel Stout
- Avery Brewing White Rascal
- Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA
- Dogfish Head SeaQuench Ale
- Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar
- Lagunitas IPA
- Belching Beaver Peanut Butter Milk Stout
- Stone Delicious IPA
- Toppling Goliath Pseudo Sue
These offer a great variety of craft beers for the distinguished beer connoisseur; they are not for everyone, but they are delicious if they’re up your alley. Most are a little more expensive though not exceptionally so.