Great Idea for a “Homegating” Party – A Beer & Food Sampling Bar

by Chris NeaseSeptember 4, 2012

This week’s “homegating” or tailgating party idea was designed with the men in mind, and it’s all about BEER! When I think of tailgating I can’t help but think about beer, as it’s probably the most popular beverage of choice. Next, I thought of my favorite foods PAIRED with beer, which led me to create a “tasting” bar which combines beer sampling with bite size portions of food. These tips don’t have to be limited to just beer though; they can also be used for you or your kid’s favorite beverage of choice. The food options were chosen based on classic stadium or tailgate fare.

Beer & Food Sampling Bar

Beer Sampling

There are a few different ways you can host a sampling bar:

  1. Sample an array of microbrews from different cities {from your favorite pro team maybe}.
  2. Sample an assortment of beers from around the world.
  3. Sample different brands of the same type of beer.

For this party, I chose to sample 3 different styles of beer – lager, ale, and stout. They are set up just as a wine tasting would be, with lighter at the beginning and fuller bodied at the end. Use small clear plastic cups or glasses to serve tasting sized portions. Shot glasses work well, or use a set of glass votive holders like I did here.

The idea is really to taste new flavors you’ve never had before, but you could make it more of a competition if you like, by having guests write down where they think a beer is from, or what type of beer it is. You could also simply have them rate their favorite. To make it simpler and more affordable, you may ask each guest or couple to bring beer for sampling. Just make sure they know which type to bring. For folks who are not beer fans, these ideas could be used with different types of sodas. Think diet and all the different flavor/brand options.
Beer Sampling


Nothing goes better with tailgating than classic stadium food. Since this is a sampling bar I made mini versions of some old standards:

  1. What’s a better combo than beer/soda and pizza? Mini Pizzas are made using biscuit dough, sauce, pepperoni slice, and shredded cheese.
    TIP: Cut the biscuit dough in half and roll out flat for the mini crust. Top, and bake as directed on package.
  2. Pigs in a Blanket are our mini version of hot dogs.
  3. Soft pretzels are served, but broken up for easier handling.
  4. There’s usually a bucket of fried chicken at every tailgate I’ve been to! Our sampler size consists of fried chicken fingers cut into smaller portions instead, but you could also serve wings.
  5. Other snacks available are peanuts in the shell, and pork rinds as a nod to the ole “pigskin” football.

Food Tasting Ideas
I also provided bamboo picks for easy pick-up, and dipping sauces for the pretzels, chicken, and mini dogs. Everything is piled high in rustic containers to keep the spread casual. Some other foods to consider are nachos, sliders, or sliced sausage links.
Food Pairing Ideas


The decor for the party can be simple but festive at the same time. To add a decidedly “football” feel to the table I laid a foundation of turf grass from the hardware store. This is inexpensive and you can buy it by the foot so you get the perfect size you need.

Flowers are always a nice touch no matter how casual the party. I bought a single bunch of flowers from the grocer and placed them in 4 bottles. The bottles are dressed up by adding letter tags from the craft store, which spell out “beer.” I also found striped take-out containers at the craft store, which reference the referee’s shirts. Filled with a yellow napkin {penalty flag} and snacks, these are a fitting addition to the table.

All that’s left to do is add in some football paraphernalia like pompoms, megaphones, helmets, or footballs to add more character to the display.
Party Decor
If you have some beer lovers on your guest list, I guarantee they will enjoy this “homegating” party idea. Cheers!

Shares 0
About The Author
Chris Nease

Leave a Response