Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Brian’s 30th B-day Beer Bash + Giveaway Winners

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Someone got “iced” at his birthday party…

This was extra funny for someone who pretty much only drinks craft beer (and wine and the occasional cocktail…but I mean you’d be hard pressed to find a bud light in this guy’s hand if he can help it)

Apparently it was also really cold and gave him brain freeze! 


Before those shenanigans ensued, there was a lot of work to be done!

On Sunday we had over 50 people at our house, friends and family, to celebrate Brian’s 30th birthday which was actually on the 23rd!

The theme of the party?  BEER.  That was easy, but I had to do a little more than just serve beer, that was a given anyways.  He had already brewed two batches just for the party!

So my thought was to create a little beer fest/tasting for the party!  Complete with custom tasting glasses.


I had my cousin Patrick design a logo.


Brian’s Hoppin’ 30th!  LOVED it!!!IMG_4557

I worked with the great folks at Kappy’s in Medford and selected 6 local brews that I’d have on hand for a tasting.

It was actually really hard to pick out the 6 beers!!  I wanted all local beers, preferably ones that maybe not everyone has tried, and I wanted a variety of styles!


Local was easy.  There are a TON of Massachusetts breweries!   

From left to right:

  1. Blue Hills Watermelon Wheat (actually I wanted Clown Shoes Clementine but they didn’t have it in stock, so I grabbed a few Watermelon Wheat for a light “fruity” beer).  Canton, MA
    • Strong watermelon flavor, but it’s natural watermelon flavor.  Refreshing, I liked it, but I could see how some people might find it too fruity.  Blue Hills has some great beers though!! 
  2. Slumbrew – Flagraiser IPA – Somerville, MA  (I was glad that Brian hadn't tried this one yet!  And he liked it!)
    • I’m learning to like IPA’s.  I’m not a fan of the very bitter ones.  The bitterness is from the hops, BUT some IPA’s have a lot of hop aroma without being bitter…those are the ones I like.  Also harder to find I think as IPA’s I originally wanted were too hard to get.   But this was very good!  Verging on bitter for me, but Brian really liked it and is happy we have extra left over.
  3. Cambridge Brewing Co. - Sgt. Pepper – Cambridge, MA (this beer recently won a gold medal at the World Beer Cup so I was excited that I actually was able to get it) 
    • This is a Farmhouse Ale, a type of Belgian beer.  Its light and refreshing but is brewed with peppercorns so you just get a little of the pepper taste/feel left in your mouth.  Its subtle but you notice it. 
  4. Night Shift – Somer Weisse – Everett, MA.
    • I was REALLY excited about this one!!  It literally JUST came out.  This is a nanobrewery in Everett, MA and they have some really interesting sounding beers.  This was their newest and the bottles were actually had written with the date they were filled….5/20/12.  I knew NO one at the party would have tried this one.
      It is a Berliner Weisse Sour Ale brewed with lemongrass and ginger.
      I am a big fan of sour ales, and this was delicious!  Tart, refreshing, and a lovely ginger taste to it!  Brian and I are both excited we have extra bottle of this now!
  5. Pretty Things – St. Boltophs Town – Somerville, MA
    • This is a Yorkshire dark brown ale.  Brian is a big fan of Pretty Things beers and this is no exception.  I for some reason can’t remember this one aside from liking it :) 
  6. Slumbrew – Porter Square Porter – Somerville, MA
    • Another Slumbrew!  Named after Porter Square which is in Somerville :)  This Porter is brewed with cocoa powder and conditioned with cacao nibs from Taza Chocolate (another local company!).  This beer is delightful.  I love the chocolate/coffee notes.

I didn’t know how the whole tasting would unfold at the party, but what ended up happening was that after people ate, we did cake…etc, people gathered around and we all tasted them in order :)  It was really fun and I think Brian loved it.  He said I did a good job with my selections…phew!  It was SO hard not to ask him about it (that part of the party was a secret).


Another somewhat “stressful” aspect of this party was that I, myself, wasn’t really making much food!  Most of the food was brought by family and friends.  I usually have a hard time letting go of the reigns in the kitchen, but I knew for this many people I needed help!!  Plus my aunts are all amazing cooks and are used to feeding a big crowd.

My mom was also a huge help getting things ready AND making food!

We had:


  • chips/dip/salsa
  • veggies/dip
  • deviled eggs
  • mini blt “bites” (my friend made these, they were little cherry tomatoes stuffed with a bacon mixture…SO good!)
  • layered Mexican dip
  • hummus

Main Course:

  • Ancho Chili Chicken (a family favorite!)
  • pulled pork
  • burgers +lots of toppings (I even cooked up bacon and caramelized onions!)
  • baked beans with bacon breadcrumb topping
  • salad
  • bean salad
  • 2 different pasta salads
  • potato salad
  • grilled veggies
  • hot dogs


  • Cake!!  2 Amazing birthday cakes
  • banana cake w/chocolate icing
  • cheesecake
  • brownies



IMG_4529 IMG_4528 IMG_4527  





Luckily for us it was an absolute PERFECT day weather-wise.  Everyone was outside the whole time!  So we set up all the food on the cabana bar.

In case you forgot our backyard looks like this (day after, I totally missed any pictures of the actually party!)



We’re also now in the possession of a new umbrella, fire pit, and that tent on the left!!

Birthday Cake?  Oh yes.  So funny story.  I’ve mentioned my aunt owns a bakery and makes amazing cakes, well I had heard she was swamped with work so I didn’t want to bug her to make a cake for the party.  So, I asked my friend who owns another amazing bakery.

Turns out my aunt did have time and ended up making a cake!

So we were blessed with TWO incredible cakes…by luck one was chocolate and the other vanilla.

My Aunt’s cake (her bakery is Honey’s Bakery and Cafe in Medfield, MA)

IMG_4518 IMG_4538

It was a rich chocolate Guinness cake (the Guinness was in the cake too), with a chocolate ganache filling. 

The other cake was from the Danish Pastry House (Medford and Watertown, MA)


I had asked her to use the logo :)


This was a vanilla cake with a passion fruit white chocolate filling and fresh raspberries.   

OMG.  Cake heaven!!  They were both INCREDIBLE!  If you need a cake you can’t go wrong with either place!! 

So basically the party was a BIG SUCCESS!!  I’ve heard my family had a wonderful time, we had a blast, and couldn’t have asked for a better day :)

How do you handle hosting a big crowd?  Have you ever had to host a big crowd before??  Do you delegate? 

Now GIVEAWAY winners for the UFX and VBarre classes!

The two UFX winners are:




And the VBarre winner is:


Congrats guys!! 

Please email me ASAP at and we will get you set up!  The UFX sessions start next week! 


  1. Sounds like you threw a fabulous party and everyone including the birthday boy had a great time! I love how you paid attention to all the little details. I have a very hard time delegating, but I'm finding that I have more and more friends who love to cook and throw parties too, so it's getting easier and easier to let go of the reins a little!

  2. FunandFearlessinBeantownMay 31, 2012 at 8:10 AM

    This sounds like a great party!  I'm curious to hear how the baked bean dish was.  I flagged that recipe from Bon Appetit!

  3. omgosh! What a party! You totally rock! The cakes are gorgeous and the food looks amazing. I'm totally stealing some of the food idea for Kaylin's birthday :) The little beer glasses you got made up are a great idea

  4. My aunt made the beans, I actually had no idea it was a Bon Apetit recipe :)  They were SO good!  Similar to your standard baked beans, but definitely a little more smokey taste from the bacon and I love how dark they got.  We had left overs and I noticed the second day that I found them a tad on the sweet side (although I tend to like less sweet things in general) so I bet you could cut down a little of the sugar.  But this was a great recipe and I only heard good things from everyone who ate them! 

  5. You are like the perfect wife. When the time comes, one day, I shall be looking for pointers on how to be amazing to my man, haha. :)

  6. That party looks like so much fun and those cakes are fantastic!

  7. What a great party! I'm glad to have that list of local beers - they sound delicious 

  8. What a fantastic birthday celebration! I remember tasting Clown Shoes Clementine beer at that Stone Hearth event - too bad you didn't get to buy some but that watermelon beer also sounds delicious! I like fruity beers :) And those cakes! Yum!

  9. What an awesome party idea!  Did you get the custom glasses printed locally (I'm looking for a place that will do these in/around Somerville)?

  10. I remember you telling me you were friends with Kathleen at DPH. Cake-making friends are good friends to have ;)

  11. What an amazing party!!! Brian must have been psyched!!!  Hopefully I'll actually celebrate my 30th one of these days!  I'm definitely calling your aunts shop to get a cake for my moms birthday in a couple weeks.  I'm so impressed!

  12. oh my gosh, what a party!!  love all the helping hands, you pulled off a great event :)

  13. Emily @ A Cambridge StoryJune 5, 2012 at 4:37 PM

    What a party - I think you get the wife of the year award for those glasses and that awesome spread! 

  14. Omg, this is so amazing. I kind of want to steal this whole idea for Adam's bday. I was already thinking a surprise party had to be had but I like this theme... and custom glasses. Super cool. :)