Best Beer for Wedding Reception: Top Picks and Expert Recommendations

Best beer for wedding reception

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Selecting the right beer for your wedding reception can be a fun and crucial task, as it adds a personalized touch to the event and keeps your guests entertained and happy. With the vast array of choices available, striking the perfect balance between variety and crowd favorites is essential to cater to the tastes of your attendees. In this article, we will explore some of the best beer options to serve at your wedding reception, taking into consideration factors such as the season and the preferences of your guests.

Considering the amount of alcohol needed for a wedding reception requires thoughtful planning. To ensure you have enough beer in stock, it is generally recommended to calculate one drink per guest, per reception hour. For instance, if you are expecting 100 guests and hosting a three-hour reception, you would need around 100 beers to accommodate the guests. Also, it is important to have a good ratio of different types of alcohol, ideally maintaining a 1/3 beer, 1/3 wine, and 1/3 liquor distribution, along with champagne for toasting purposes.

When it comes to choosing the perfect beer, considering the season of your wedding is essential. Light, crisp options such as Kolsch or Pilsner can be ideal for summer weddings, while bolder, richer flavors like stouts or porters might be more suitable for colder months. Ultimately, the best beer choices for your wedding reception will depend on your guests’ preferences, the time of the year, and your own personal tastes.

Considering Your Wedding Reception

When choosing the best beer for your wedding reception, there are several factors to consider. In this section, we’ll discuss the Budget, Venue, Guests, and Time of Day.


Your budget plays a crucial role in selecting the beer options for your wedding reception. Determine how much you’re willing to spend on alcohol, and use that figure as a guideline when exploring different options. You can choose from a variety of beers, ranging from affordable, domestic selections to more expensive, craft brews. Keep in mind that serving only beer and wine can help reduce alcohol costs compared to offering a full bar.


The venue where your wedding reception will be held can also influence your beer selection. Some venues may have restrictions on the types of alcohol or specific brands they allow, while others may have preferred vendors or partnerships with local breweries. It’s essential to discuss their policies and work with the venue in choosing the beer offerings that best fit their limitations and your preferences.


Your guests’ tastes and preferences should also be considered when choosing the beer for your wedding reception. If you know that your guests mainly enjoy light or domestic beers, you may want to focus on providing those options. Conversely, if your guests have more adventurous palates, offering a mix of craft beers, IPAs, and lagers might be a better option. Remember to also consider any dietary restrictions or preferences, such as offering gluten-free or non-alcoholic beer options.

Time of Day

The time of day, when your reception takes place, can also influence the beer selection. For example, daytime receptions might call for lighter, more refreshing beer options like pilsners or crisp lagers. On the other hand, evening receptions might be better suited for richer, more robust beers like stouts or porters.

When planning your wedding reception, it’s essential to take into account your budget, venue restrictions, guests’ preferences, and the time of day. By considering these factors, you can ensure that the beer selection at your wedding reception is a hit with all of your guests.

Choosing the Right Beer Types

Domestic Beers

Domestic beers are a popular choice for wedding receptions due to their familiarity and often lower price point. They typically include mass-produced lagers and ales, which can be easy-drinking options for guests who may not be adventurous beer drinkers. Some examples of popular domestic beer styles include:

  • American Lager
  • Amber Ale
  • Cream Ale

Imported Beers

Imported beers can add a touch of international flair to your wedding and showcase your personal tastes or cultural background. These beers are usually from well-known brewing countries like Germany, Belgium, and Ireland. Examples of popular imported beer styles include:

  • German Pilsner
  • Belgian Witbier
  • Irish Stout

Craft Beers

Incorporating craft beers into your wedding reception can add a unique, personal touch to your event. Craft breweries offer a variety of beer styles and regional flavors that can cater to diverse palates. Choosing a few different styles can accommodate different tastes and make a memorable experience for your guests. Some popular craft beer styles include:

Flavored Beers

Flavored beers are a great way to add a fun and creative twist to your wedding reception. They often feature unique ingredient additions like fruit, spices, or even chocolate, which can make them a conversation starter among your guests. Examples of popular flavored beer styles include:

Non-Alcoholic Beer

Ensuring to include a selection of non-alcoholic beer can cater to any guests that may not consume alcohol for various reasons. This consideration can make them feel included and not left out during toasts and celebratory events. There are a number of non-alcoholic beer options available, both in traditional beer styles and inventive new recipes.

The Bar Essentials

Best beer for wedding reception
Unique combinations ensure that your guests have something special to remember from your celebrations

Beer Bottles vs Cans

When choosing between beer bottles and cans, consider the style of your wedding reception and preferences. Bottles can offer a more sophisticated look, while cans are more casual and practical. Either option can work, depending on the type of beer available and your overall wedding theme.

Beer Kegs

Opting for beer kegs can not only be a cost-effective solution for your wedding reception but also allows guests to enjoy beer on tap, providing a fresher taste. A beer keg typically contains approximately 120 16 oz. pints. Plan for about one drink per hour, per guest, and adjust the number of kegs accordingly.

Beer Flights

For a fun and interactive experience, consider offering beer flights at your wedding reception. Beer flights allow guests to sample a variety of beer styles in smaller portions. This can be an ideal option for showcasing local breweries or seasonal beers.

Signature Cocktails

In addition to beer and wine, signature cocktails can elevate your wedding bar experience. Work with your bartender to create personalized cocktails that represent you and your partner’s tastes and personalities. Unique combinations ensure that your guests have something special to remember from your celebrations.

Wine and Champagne

Wine is a must-have at weddings, and it’s usually advised to have a 50/50 split between red and white wine. Stocking 25% wine, 25% beer, and 50% liquor is a good starting point. Also, don’t forget the champagne or sparkling wine for the toast!

In summary, curating a well-rounded and personalized bar experience for your wedding reception consists of considering beer options (bottles, cans, or kegs), offering beer flights, crafting signature cocktails, and stocking wine and champagne.

How to Stock the Bar

Alcohol List and Quantities

When stocking the bar for your wedding reception, consider offering a variety of alcoholic beverages to cater to different guests’ preferences. Beer, wine, and liquor can be provided as the main alcoholic options.

For beer, a good ratio is to serve 1/3 beer, 1/3 wine, and 1/3 liquor. When selecting liquor choices, consider popular spirits such as vodka, rum, gin, tequila, bourbon, and whiskey. Adjust the list according to your guest demographics and the overall theme or style of your wedding.

For wine selection, it is recommended to provide a white, a red, and a sweet wine choice, with a 50/50 split of red and white wine.

When determining alcohol quantities, consider the number of guests and their drinking preferences, as well as the duration of the reception. A good starting point for quantities can be found through this wedding alcohol calculator.

Bartending Staff and Mixers

Hiring bartending staff for your wedding reception not only ensures proper drink preparation and service, but also adds an additional level of professionalism and safety to your event. Make sure to account for mixers in your alcohol budget, as these are essential for creating a variety of cocktails for your guests.

Common mixers include:

  • Tonic water
  • Soda water
  • Cola
  • Lemon-lime soda
  • Orange juice
  • Cranberry juice
  • Pineapple juice
  • Grapefruit juice

Garnishes and Ice Supplies

Don’t forget to include garnishes and ice supplies in your planning. Garnishes such as lemons, limes, and olives are essential for many cocktails, while ice keeps drinks cold and refreshing throughout the event.

To estimate the amount of ice needed, consider factors such as the number of drinks, event duration, and available refrigeration. For garnishes, prepare a list of required items based on your chosen cocktails and their individual recipes.

Remember, stocking the bar for a wedding reception involves a variety of factors including alcohol selection, quantities, bartending staff, mixers, garnishes, and ice supplies. By considering these elements carefully, you can create a memorable and enjoyable experience for you and your guests.

Special Touches for Your Wedding Reception

Custom Beer Labels

Consider adding personalized details to your beer selection by designing custom beer labels. This creative touch can showcase your wedding theme, colors, or even your story as a couple. Simply work with a graphic designer or an online service to create the labels, and then apply them to the beer bottles or cans for a memorable and unique addition to your celebration.

Brewery Wedding

If you and your partner are beer enthusiasts, consider hosting your wedding reception at a brewery. This venue choice offers both a unique atmosphere and the opportunity to feature the brewery’s signature beers. Additionally, many breweries already have event spaces available, making them an excellent and convenient option for hosting large parties or intimate gatherings.

Special Beers for Toasting

In addition to offering a variety of beer options at your wedding reception, consider choosing a special beer to be used specifically for toasting during your celebration. This might be a limited-edition brew, a high-end craft beer, or a personal favorite of the couple. By selecting a unique and memorable beer for toasting, you add yet another layer of customization to your wedding reception that will be remembered by your guests for years to come.

In conclusion, adding special touches to your wedding reception can be as simple as incorporating beer into your event through custom beer labels, hosting your celebration at a brewery, or selecting a unique beer for toasting during your big day. These personalized details will not only impress your guests, but will also make your wedding reception truly unforgettable for all those involved.

Estimating Alcohol Consumption

Wedding Alcohol Calculator

Wedding alcohol
By considering the number of guests, their drinking habits, and the duration of the event, hosts can better plan for their bar service

A Wedding Alcohol Calculator is a helpful tool for determining the appropriate amount of alcohol for your reception. By considering the number of guests, their drinking habits, and the duration of the event, hosts can better plan for their bar service. Typically, you should plan for one drink per guest per hour. For example, if you have 150 guests and a two-hour reception, you’ll need 300 drinks total.

Personal Preference and Variety

When selecting beer for your wedding, take into account the personal preferences of both the couple and the guests. Offering a variety of options such as light and dark beers or various levels of sweetness and bitterness will accommodate different tastes. Here are some examples of beer categories to consider:

  • Light beers: lagers, pilsners, ales
  • Dark beers: stouts, porters, brown ales
  • Hops-forward beers: IPAs, pale ales
  • Sweet and malty beers: amber ales, Belgian-style beers

To further diversify your drink options, you can also offer other types of alcohol such as wine, cocktails, and non-alcoholic beverages.

Overestimating vs Underestimating

It’s better to overestimate than underestimate when planning alcohol consumption. An overestimated supply ensures guests won’t run out of drinks and allows them to enjoy the event without worry. Keep in mind that leftover beer can often be returned, so be sure to check your vendor’s return policy beforehand. On the other hand, underestimating may lead to an unhappy experience for both guests and the newlyweds. If you follow the guidelines provided by the Wedding Alcohol Calculator and consider personal preferences and a variety of options, it is likely that you will meet the needs of all your guests.

Remember, it’s essential to stock a sufficient amount of beer and other beverages for your wedding, accounting for personal preferences, variety, and the number of guests. By using a Wedding Alcohol Calculator, reviewing your guests’ preferences, and understanding overestimating versus underestimating, you can successfully plan your beverage menu for a memorable wedding reception.