As summer comes to an end we think about those last few events, parties and concerts we want to attend as those warm nights and sunny days drift away. We may also think about hosting one last summer hoorah, ourselves. Luckily though, here in lovely Colorado, the weather (usually) stays nice long enough for us to host and celebrate into late September. That’s why this week, we’ve chosen to help you organize that last summer get together: a beer or wine pairing!

While hosting a beer or wine pairing sounds super fancy and perhaps, too challenging to be successful, as per usual, Just Be is here to help! We’ve gathered resources, vendors and tips to help you throw the best end of summer tasting. Furthermore, the option of beer or wine really makes this party suitable for any host and makes guests happy, too. If you’re feeling adventurous, you might even do both! Either way, we want to help your pairing be a success. So, read on and let the tasting begin!

Firstly, we want to let you know that hosting a pairing doesn’t have to be an audience/facilitator or seated sort of event. Most of the time, it’s just as easy to set up a table like this one from Tablespoon:

The table is laid out with recommendations and also, experimentations. It’s all easily accessible and allows people to pair and taste as they’d like. The same sort of set up can be done with beer as well. While we weren’t able to find a table quite as organized as the wine pairing, we did find a pretty good set up at Lovebeerlovefood.

Secondly, hosting a pairing doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, there are tons of options. If you’re looking to get guests involved, assign them a pre-selected (your choice) beer or wine to pair and share. It saves you money and also ensures that people are excited about coming to the pairing. Sort of like, “I wonder who will like my beverage and what it will be paired with!” We also recommend shopping local. You’ll likely be able to find the best product and hopefully a better deal while shopping local. For fresh cheese, meats and sweets we recommend shopping with local grocers Marczyk Fine Food. The folks at Marczyk make everything from scratch and locally source their goods. In other words, they’re sustainable, economic and delicious!

Thirdly, hosting a pairing doesn’t require you to be a Sommelier or Cicerone. If you love beer or wine and food then you’re set; because the internet is your oyster when it comes to things like this. Pinterest is a great option and Google is a great resources for learning how to host a stellar pairing. As previously mentioned, we were able to find some great tips at Tablespoon and LoveBeerLoveFood. Another great money-saving option begins with making a visit to locally owned Little’s Fine Wine, Beers and Spirits (from our Going Local blog). If you were reading along with us, you know that Little’s provides FREE tasting services and an expert brought straight to your home. All you have to do is buy the wine. So if you’re worried about the knowledge and informational part of hosting a pairing this is the perfect (and economical) solution for you!

Lastly, we know that the setup and décor of an event like this can be challenging. You want your set up to be comprehensible, organized and classy. Luckily, local party supplier The Entertaining Shoppe has you covered! Based on South Pearl Street in Denver, The Entertaining Shoppe is a great place to shop for your pairing party needs. They’ve got both wine and beer tasting décor/utensils and they even show you how to set it up with perfectly staged photos! They’ve got beer paddles, cheese boards, unique glasses and everything in between.

For Beer:

For Wine:

We understand that these things can be a little pricey, so we don’t expect you to buy everything in the photos but at the very least, they can give you a good idea on how to decorate and organize your pairing. PS: you can only purchase online.

We know this isn’t a comprehensive guide but we hope that we’ve given you enough to get your pairing headed in the right direction. Send us your photos, comments and suggestions. We’d love to see how successful your pairing party was with the help of Just Be!