Beer, wine and champagne are certainly wedding cocktail hour and reception staples. So much so that some couples are even forgoing an open bar and choosing to only have these liquors served. But with or without an open bar, a great addition to your alcohol list is a signature beer representing you at your wedding. Following in the footsteps of the signature cocktail, it’s just another fun way to customize your wedding event to your own personalities and tastes and to truly make it your own.
Signature wedding beers go hand in hand with the microbrewery and craft beer craze that’s been gaining in popularity year after year. More than ever, restaurants and stores are offering an interesting selection of hand-crafted and local beers and the influx of pop-up beer gardens in our cities and towns is certainly helping to fuel our desire for new and exciting brews. Besides being so much on trend, choosing a signature craft beer for your wedding from your local brewery is also a great way to support your own community and promote small, independent businesses!
What to Choose
Whether you know how to brew your own signature beer or plan to bring in one from a local brewery, your wedding beer selection should be a smooth, easy-drinking brew that appeals to a wide variety of tastes. It should also pair well with your wedding menu. You'll want to limit your ABV (alcohol by volume) to a lighter selection such as a lager, pale ale or a session IPA.
Keep in mind, it’s also preferable to choose a seasonal beer that’s fresh and fits in perfectly with the time of year of your wedding event. Or instead, select a beer that matches your wedding theme or your honeymoon destination. You can also simply promote your favorite brew!
Because beer flights are so huge right now, consider choosing several different signature beers for your guests to sample in tastings. It clues your friends and family in to all your favorites in such a fun way, while also offering multiple flavor profiles to keep everyone happy. Consider selecting beers from different breweries, and include descriptive signage to let your guests know what they're sipping so they can buy their own favorites later.
How to Choose It
Don't worry if you're not the expert beer connoisseur. If you don’t know how to choose just the right signature beer or beers for your wedding, just ask for advice from your supplier. They'll also let you know exactly how much to purchase for the size of your wedding event. As a general rule however, you should have one drink per adult per hour of your reception.
But before you start shopping, be sure to check with your venue! Some have rules on if and where you can purchase your own beer and how much you can serve at your event.
Where to Get It
If you’re looking for your signature beer in the Philadelphia area, check out our short list!
Dock Street Brewery Founded in 1985, it's touted as the original Philly microbrewery. Check out their website for information on ordering one of their signature beers, and take note of their new location opening soon in the Fishtown neighborhood.
Iron Hill Brewery A popular brewery with many convenient locations in the Philadelphia area and in South Jersey. Choose one of their house beers or splurge on one of their bottled reserves. They even have a great catering menu for your tented reception.
Flying Fish Brewing Co. This microbrewery has been a South Jersey staple for over 20 years. Take a tour of the facility and visit their tasting room to find the perfect beer for your wedding day. And sample their session sour Salt and Sea for consideration at your beach themed, summer wedding event.
Levante Brewing Company One of the most recent additions, opening the doors on their site in West Chester, PA just seven years ago. You can buy sixtel kegs, crowlers or growlers for your reception. Consider placing growlers with their newest draft on your reception tables or at beer stations.
Diehard beer loving couples should also note that Dock Street Brewery's South location is available to host weddings up to 150 guests onsite. Levante Brewing's West Chester Taproom is also ready to host small wedding receptions. And check out Manayunk Brewing Company in the Manayunk section of Philadelphia, too, if you want to hold your reception in an awesome craft brewery setting.
A variety of ‘brew your own beer’ supplies and classes are also making it easier for beer enthusiasts to constitute to their own exacting tastes. We found a couple establishments in our area that will teach you how to brew your own beer for your wedding! Take a look at Philly Beer School in the city and Keystone Homebrew Supply in Montgomeryville, PA if you'd like to perfect your home brewing skills with a class or just buy your brewing ingredients and supplies.
Afterwards, you can purchase custom designed labels at online retailers such as grogtag.com or on etsy! Here, a ton of different styles and price ranges can be found, with some delivered as complete label sets and others that come in a digital file for you to print at home. Most offer quantity pricing discounts with some offering over 150 purchased as low as $.99 a label. You’ll even find labels for beer growlers on etsy, perfect for sharing your homebrew if you don't have time for bottling.