30 Cheers for 30 Years! And maybe 30 Beers...

My husband turned 30 at the end of February... which is just incredibly hard for me to comprehend! It seems like just a couple years ago that he was turning 18 and we went bowling to celebrate...

I had decided way back that I wanted to throw him an awesome beer-themed surprise party. He's really gotten into home brewing in the last year or so, and he really wants to open his own brewery/brewpub some day. We've unofficially named it Brewery 808, after our house number (creative, right?). I figured that would be a perfect theme for his party, and since it's been a really long time since I've planned a party, I went a little nuts!

'Cause who doesn't brew in their jammies?
I was originally planning to rent an old industrial warehouse and deck it out with tables and strings of lights, make all the food (pretzels, cheese dip, all that yummy stuff) and provide a beer tasting bar... but that quickly proved to be way too much to handle. I couldn't even find a location! So back to the drawing board...

I ended up booking the party at Sam & Louie's, a relatively new pizza place in Howard. Their (free) party room seats around 30, they have great food and good beers on tap, and the owner ended up giving me an incredible deal. $218 to feed 40+ people, including drinks!

Now for the crafty part... let's see... where did I start?

It's always great working with a theme for parties. It makes it so much easier to be consistent when planning for decorations. Brewery 808 has a simple little logo that I designed a while back, and I knew I wanted to keep everything in black, kraft brown and Neil's favorite colors, bright blue and red.

To enhance the rustic, manly, beery vibe, I enlarged the logo design and hand-painted it onto a plank made from an old pallet... the funny thing is that Neil watched me paint this the night before and didn't think anything of it. He was still completely surprised by it! I guess we all know how much attention he pays to what I'm doing... ha ha.

You may be asking... what the heck was the red paint for? Or not... but I'll tell you anyways! My brother has this cool little Wisconsin-shaped board with holes in it that somehow holds onto bottle caps. I thought this would be a neat way to display the custom caps I ordered for hubby, so I designed my own and had it cut out on the router at work (thirty beers for thirty years!). I painted it up all cool and planned to stick it in a frame and have everyone at the party sign the matte... but unfortunately it didn't work. For some reason, I couldn't get the caps to squeeze in right and stay there, even after crimping them all onto an empty bottle and carefully removing them. I guess I should have done a bit more research on this one. Oh well!

What it was supposed to do...
I had this idea in my head that it would be awesome for everyone to get a pint glass to drink out of for the night and then take home as a favor, so I went online and found a place that could print the Brewery 808 logo on glasses. I ended up at discountmugs.com. I ordered 36 pint glasses with black bottoms (cool!) and the logo printed on the sides in black. They turned out awesome! I think I paid around $180 for the three dozen, and while there were some obvious printing flaws on many of the glasses, I'm very happy with the value for the price. People actually didn't realize the glasses didn't belong to the bar, so many guests left theirs behind. Should have made a sign! Oh well... now we have more custom pints than we know what to do with.

I also stuck a cute little drink ticket in each of the glasses. I printed them the morning of... I had originally ordered some business cards as drink tickets from overnightprints.com, but once they came I realized they were super ugly (my design was... they did a fine job as usual!) and didn't go with the theme. I ended up doing a tall, skinny design on kraft paper so they'd look neat in the pint glasses.

Beyond drinks and glassware, I just wanted the room to have a fun, beer-themed atmosphere. I cut up some burlap and stenciled lettering onto it for table runners, printed and framed some large beer posters, wrapped empty bottles in colored yarn and stuck custom bottle caps (from bottlemark.com) on wire springs into them. I designed and printed coloring pages (beer themed...) and pencils to occupy kids and creative, socially awkward adults (like me). :)

One of the most fun things I thought up was the "Who NOSE their Hops" game... in which everyone had to try to identify different varieties of hops by smell. I don't know if you've ever smelled hops, but they're pretty stinky! I tried to find ones with names that kind of hinted at their aromas... like Citra (citrusy?), Warrior (kinda rough?), Chinook (what does Canada smell like?)... it was multiple choice, but it proved to be a very difficult game! The winner took home a set of Hop Hunter IPA label coasters that, yup, I made at work the morning of! Nothing like procrastinating...

The game table was decorated with probably my favorite craft of the entire experience- hop garland! I was feeling clever one day and realized that plastic Easter eggs are kinda hop-shaped, and if I stuck a whole bunch of green leaf shapes all over an egg, it would make a really cool giant hop! I used a "birch leaf" paper punch and sticky dots, the leaves from a greenery stem from Michael's and some random yarn and hemp cord to create a dozen giant hops on a string. I'm thinking I may start selling these in my Etsy store! Heck... maybe I'll sell the whole game as a kit! Keep an eye out if you're a beer fan! :)

Overall, the party was a great success, despite my dummy coming early to "have a beer before dinner". He was supposed to be meeting me at 6 after a long day at work, but the funny thing is that I KNEW he would come early. I guess after 13 years I should know these things! He's only early when beer is involved...

It was so great to see family and friends we haven't seen in a long time, and I'm so glad that everyone had fun. The whole thing was worth every minute of work!


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