I was recently married to a wonderful woman that I had been dating for three years. She had been behind me 100% through the start up of Urban Oyster and into the creation of our very first tours. She had endured my growing fascination with the world of craft beer as we launched our Brewed in Brooklyn Tour. Fortunately for both her and me, she also has had a life-long love affair with beer. So when we decided to get married, it only made sense that beer would play a prominent role in our nuptials. The world of wedding planning can be a soul-crushing experience for even a veteran planner, and most of the typical wedding stuff is about as creative and original as Superman 4. The options you see in most wedding magazines for dresses, flowers, cakes, and food all seem designed to create the same cookie cutter wedding – and you have to pay the equivalent of an Ivy League tuition for the privilege of doing so. My future wife and I were not so enamored with this style of wedding, so we opted for the do-it-yourself variety where we, or a close friend or relative, personally designed most of our wedding. The bar component at a wedding has wonderful potential for creative ideas and personalization, so I took charge of that aspect of the preparations. "Do what you love" is my motto.
I then turned my attention to kegs. Two of my absolute favorite beers are not bottled: Brooklyn Blast, which is the Brooklyn Brewery's double IPA, and Kelso Pilsner, which is, simply put, the best craft pilsner in the U.S. in my humble opinion. I also knew that the average beer drinker, who probably wasn’t ready for Blast or Black Chocolate Stout, would find Kelso Pilsner a lot friendlier. Now the challenge with the kegged beer was this: our wedding was taking place at the beach where we had rented a house for the entire week. The wedding was at the start of the week, and we would be hanging out with friends and family for the rest of the week, so I knew that we’d need beer not just for the wedding but for the balance of the time we were there.
If I got regular pump picnic taps, the beer would probably only last a day or two at the most. That meant we needed a CO2 system for the beer. Strangely enough my fiancé did not want to lay out the $500+ it would have cost us to buy even the cheapest CO2 taps. So that left me looking for a way to rent a jockey box (a tap system made out of a cooler) for the week. Now, if you live on the west coast it seems that it is not a problem to rent a jockey box. However on the east coast, for whatever reason, they are simply not available. Luckily for me my friend Will Stephens at Beer Menus had a friend willing to loan me one for the weekend so we did indeed have fresh, cold, well carbonated beer for the entire week.
The last piece of beer creativity I injected into the wedding was to brew our own beer. I can’t recommend this enough to anyone planning to get married. Even if you don’t homebrew yet, homebrewing is so easy and turns out such great beer and there is nothing like the feeling of serving your own beer at your wedding. Not to mention your guests are very impressed. We took it one step further by eliminating the champagne toast and instead doing a homebrew toast.
We were so excited about the beer for the wedding we made little signs for each beer with descriptions and alcohol content on there so people would know what they were drinking. Unfortunately, one of the relatives at the party took a liking to the Black Chocolate Stout and downed three bottles before we even served appetizers. Needless to say, that guest made an early exit as that beer packs a wallop. So much for not having liquor. Other than that one mishap though, everyone loved the beers, and we converted a number of people to the beers we brought.
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