How to Hold a Mini Beer Festival at Home
Besides the ever-anticipated trip to a Renaissance Faire, the cloak or armor saved for special events, or even the stroll in a forest enchanted by your own imagination, the best place you can find a hint of the fantasy world in the modern era is in a tavern.
Attend a festival all about beer with friends, and you're pratically living in a real life D&D campaign.
I attended my first Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany while I was studying abroad in Paris in 2016. With a group of my fellow students by my side, it was such a fun and memorable experience.
Sadly, due to the pandemic, those who were hoping to attend Oktoberfest in Germany this year will have to reschedule those plans.
However, just because Oktoberfest is cancelled, that doesn't mean you can't hold your own mini beer festival right in your own living room.
In true DIY-style, I created a miniature beer garden that adorned my dining room table through the month of October. The project is not only simple and easy, but it's also a great way to share beer with friends or family.
When I went about starting this project, I knew I wanted to create something small and aesthetically pleasing, but I encourage you to make yours unique if you decide to take on the project. Expand it and personalize it to your taste. After all, this is your personal beer festival.
First, you'll want to think about where you'll be placing your bottles or cans of beer. Would you like a nice big wooden basket or a few small wooden crates? Do you prefer wood or metal? What tone are you going for? Dark or light?
I decided to get two small wooden open-top boxes from my local craft store. They both had braided rope handles and small chalkboards at each end. I went with a dark wood color, since I knew the dark tone would make a nice contrast against the green grass I intended to fill them with.
Speaking of, that's the next step! What will you be using to decorate the inside of your basket or crate? Remember, you'll essentially be creating a bed on which to place your beer, so you don't want it to be overcrowded. However, that doesn't mean you can't create something really fancy, maybe with some flowers or some fairy lights.
For me, grass was essential. Taking the easy route, I picked up some fake grass at the craft store, both of the plastic and paper variety to have some different textures. I also wanted to add some color, so I went to my backyard and picked up some dandelions to bring my fake grass to life.
Next, you'll want to think about additional decoration. This is where you can let your imagination run wild. You can add small benches to have that festival ambience surrounding your beer or you can include a menu nearby with all the different beers being featured.
A festival, for me, is nothing without its banners. So, I took some patterned construction paper I had lying around and cut them up into little banners. To keep up with that rustic aesthetic I was going for, I found two sturdy sticks in my backyard to use as posts for my banners.
After adjusting my boxes just as I wanted them and putting the sticks into position, I measured out the length of my string. Once I was satisfied, I taped my banners onto the string and tied it up. It came out so perfect.
I also created a sign for my festival as you can see above. Using sharpie, I went with "Beer Garden" both in English and in German and an established date just to add some authenticity.
To spruce things up, I included a few fairy garden decorations around my beer garden, like a small house made of an apple.
Once everything is in place, it's finally time for the most crucial part: the beer.
What kind of beer do you want at your beer garden? What kind of theme are you going for? Are you trying to stick with familiar beers or do you want to branch out and try something new? Maybe you want to go with classic ales and mead or maybe instead of beer you want to try hard ciders? And of course, the most important question of all: bottles or cans?
I went for an international theme, focusing on well-known beers from around the world. I was familiar with some, and some were brand new to me. I also knew from the very start I wanted bottled beer. It just worked well with the aesthetic I was going for.
Now that you've got your beer, place them in your garden and enjoy! Take some aesthetically-pleasing photos. Display your creation in your home. Make it the center piece of your next small social gathering. And of course, enjoy the beer! (Please drink responsibly!)
If you try this out, let me know how it goes in the comments. I'd love to hear about it!