For the party, we created our very own DIY rustic barn wood sampler boards, a pumpkin Beer-o-Lantern, and super cute “Brew for 2” to go samplers that were filled with the same beer we tasted that evening. Since it is the fall and we didn’t want our guests to be cold while on our roof, we supplied blankets in our “cozy corner.” Antique apple crates we picked up at a local farm were the perfect addition to our rustic chic-themed night. To go with the beer, we made homemade pretzels and Ghirardelli Chocolate Stout Beer Cake, which was to die for! On top of the cake we made a fun little flag banner that matched the theme of our invitations. When guests arrived at our home, they were greeted by our crab door knocker and a fun little sign in a simple white wooden frame. Finally, we placed wheat in a few empty bottles to finish off the décor. The night was truly spectacular — the perfect couples date night to escape the everyday stresses of life.
DIY Beer Sampler Guest Favors
Empty six-pack beer cartons
Gray spray paint
Full sheet (8.5 x 11 inches) printable labels
Paper cutter or scissors
Step 1: Print your own design on labels or download and use the “Brew for 2” labels we created.
Step 2: Coat all sides of the empty beer cartons with gray spray paint.
Step 3: Once paint is dry, cut out labels and attach to the front of the beer cartons.
Step 4: Add a variety of beer. (Note: We also added his and hers tags to each bottle.)
DIY Rustic Beer Tasting Board
Old barn wood boards, approximately 1 to 1.5 inches thick
2-inch diameter forstner drill bit (We got ours at Lowe's)
4.5-ounce beer flight sampler glasses (available in sets of 24 from The Webstaurant Store)
Step 1: Cut boards to 3.5 inches wide by 20 inches long. We used a hand saw to keep more of a rustic rough look, but you may also use a table saw or a circular saw if you have one available.
Step 2: Using the forstner bit, drill six 2-inch diameter holes ½-inch deep into each board. Spacing centers of holes 3 inches apart will result in 1-inch separation between each hole.
Step 3: Add tasting glasses and fill with beer!
Ghirardelli Chocolate Stout Cake
Adapted from Bon Appetit
4 ounces unsweetened Ghirardelli chocolate, chopped
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
14 tbs (1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups plus 3 tbsp sugar
3 large eggs, separated into whites and yolks
3/4 cup chocolate stout beer
2/3 cup freshly brewed strong coffee
1 pound Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
To make cake:
Step 1: Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour two 9-inch diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch high sides. Line bottom of each cake pan with parchment paper round; butter and flour parchment.
Step 2: Place chopped chocolate in medium metal bowl. Set bowl over saucepan of barely simmering water and stir until chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove bowl from over water and set aside.
Step 3: Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl to blend.
Step 4: Using electric mixer, beat butter and 1 1/4 cups sugar in a large bowl until fluffy and pale yellow, about 2 minutes. Add egg yolks 1 at a time, beating until well blended after each addition. Beat in lukewarm melted chocolate, then stout and coffee.
Step 5: Beat flour mixture into chocolate mixture in 2 additions, just until incorporated.
Step 6: Using clean, dry beaters, beat egg whites and remaining 3 tablespoons sugar in another medium bowl until stiff but not dry. We found that using an electric hand mixer was easier than using a stand mixer for this step.
Step 7: Fold 1/3 of egg whites into cake batter to lighten, then fold in remaining egg whites in 2 additions. Divide batter between prepared cake pans (about 3 cups for each), and smooth the tops.
Step 8: Bake cakes until tester inserted into centers comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Transfer cakes to racks and cool in pans 20 minutes. Invert cakes onto racks; remove parchment paper and cool completely.
To make frosting:
Step 1: Place chopped chocolate in medium heatproof bowl.
Step 2: Combine whipping cream and espresso powder in medium saucepan. Bring cream mixture to simmer over medium-high heat, whisking occasionally.
Step 3: Pour cream mixture over chopped chocolate. Let stand 1 minute, then whisk until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Chill chocolate frosting until slightly thickened and spreadable, stirring occasionally, about 2 hours.
Step 4: Using serrated knife, trim rounded tops from both cake layers so that tops are flat.
Step 5: Drop 1 1/4 cups frosting by large spoonfuls over top of cake layer; spread frosting evenly to edges with offset spatula or butter knife.
Step 6: Top with second cake layer, trimmed side down. Spread remaining frosting evenly over top and sides of cake.
Photography, Party Design, Paper Goods + Decor: Liz and Ryan / Bottle Opener for Invitations: Williams-Sonoma / Forstner Drill Bit: Lowe's / Tasting Glasses: The Webstaurant Store / Soft Pretzel Recipe: Adapted from Fifteen Spatulas / Cake Recipe: Adapted from Bon Appetit