SURPRISE! A Manly 30th Birthday Beer Tasting!

24 August 2009
Let me tell you a little tale of debauchery, of drunkenness so fun that it can be called nothing but EPIC. That my friends was the Original DJS (named for Dave, Jon, & Steve) party thrown in 2002. I didn't attend as Dave and I were just friends at that point and though I WAS indeed invited to said gathering, going to a party at "my friend's cottage somewhere in Michigan" with Dave seemed a little weird and probably would have really pissed off the person I was dating at the time. They were banned from Jon's (parents') cottage for FIVE years. I kid you not.

So this year, the three wives planned a little surprise party for the boys turning 30. The DJS Old Man Style. It was a party for men, not boys. It was filled with BEER, inspired by Jon's website The Daily Hops. It was also epic and yet, we didn't have to sleep in tents, drink bad beer (well there WAS Natty Light), or partake in any blackouts from Harry Buffalo. It was a little more refined and a lot less crazy. And so... I give you the DJS, Old Man Style.

The INVITE! We originally had planned on sending empty beer bottles with a custom label as an invitation, however due to the super secret nature of the planning and the large number of invitees we had to do something a little less obvious! I had these printed up at vistaprint and along with some custom envelopes and fun addressing we sent them all out undetected!

Another GREAT idea was to set up a custom email address so that we could keep track of RSVPs. We also set up the gmail address to be on vacation setting and sent an auto reply to each person that rsvp'd saying this:
Thanks so much for your RSVP! Don't forget this is a SURPRISE for Dave, Jon, and Steve so keep it quiet!

If you're coming...
AWESOME! There is all sorts of manly food and craziness in
store. And maybe some poker, but not strip poker because you know, moms n' stuff will be there and dude, no one wants to see their mom playing strip poker. (Hi Mom!) The dress is casual, but the hotter you look the better chance you'll have of scoring at the end of the night. And dancing, well the chicks will be dancing and Dave will be dancing and probably breaking an ankle. And BEER. Don't forget the beer. And speaking of forgetting beer... don't forget to have yours ready to drink for the tasting. That means cold, if it needs to be cold or room temp, if it needs to be room temp. There will be ample space to keep it chilled once you get to the party, but it's up to you to get it drinkable before that. And the prizes are good, so bring your A game people. It's going to be an absolute blast and very manly. But not so manly that things won't match, I mean really who wants to go to a non-matching, stupid, "real" man party with no awesome prizes and fun drunk girls anyway?

If you're not coming...
See above awesomeness and cancel whatever lame-o plans you might have had.

Sincerely,The Best Wives in the Universe... no... sincerely, we
totally are.

We printed out fun vintage beer ads and put them in 4x6 cheapie frames and had them on tables along with piles of cards and games for people to play. By the end of the evening we even broke out a game (or 20) of Twister!

The arrival! SURPRISE!!!

So, when everyone arrived (prior to the arrival of the boys) our fabulous bartenders (my sister, BIL, and friend) took their 6 pack, put it in the commercial cooler we borrowed, asked them to sign in on the list which beer they brought, and handed them their tasting glass with ballot.

Then the tasting began! We set up a galvanized container filled with ice to keep on the bar so that people could see what was already opened and help themselves if they so chose. More often than not, people asked for (and got!) recommendations from the bartenders. They could also ask to have anything opened in the cooler if it wasn't out already.

We also created a how-to menu for mixing your own beer cocktails! This was a really fun addition and since people had their small tasting glasses, they were a lot more adventurous about trying different things!

To keep the tallying EASY we had a best and a worst category. We didn't tell anyone about the worst category until after they arrived because let's face it, we could have ended up with 80 6 packs of REALLY bad beer! We wanted people to go for unique different beers so there would be a wide range to taste.

This is a pic of Karen and I tallying up the votes mid-way through the evening. We had prizes for the top two beers, the bottom two beers, AND a prize for Dave's Favorite, Jon's Favorite (which incidentally was the same as the top winner!), and Steve's Favorite

The winners of the favorites got a 4 pack of custom home brew that we also gave to the boys as gifts. A wonderful friend of ours created an insane chocolate coffee stout and I made some fun labels. There are pics below. The top prize got a basket with Tastefully Simple Beer Bread, freezable mugs, a book on beer, and a bottle of beer. The second prize got a great Beer Marinade from Williams-Sonoma. The worst prize was a Beer For Dummies book and Budweiser marinade. The second worst prize won a hideous 'beer' citronella candle.

We had lots and lots of 'man food' for the party. Wings, mini meatball subs, pulled pork sliders, every dip and chip known to man, fresh from the garden salsa, etc...

The desserts! It wouldn't be a party without an incredible dessert display! Karen drew this for the cake and we had the artwork printed on edible frosting from a local bakery!

We had mini Guiness cupcakes, Kahlua pudding shots, cookies of all kinds, haystacks, chocolate dipped Oreo pops, and chocolate covered strawberries, in addition to birthday cake!

I made a bunch of cute cupcake picks with different sayings on them and fun retro clip art.

I absolutely LOVED the fact that the paintings on the wall (artists Mr Atomic & Ann Kniep) were fun and played well with the manly feel. We had the event in my mom's building in the Sur St Clair Gallery and the space was absolutely perfect for what we did. Everything from the old wide plank flooring to the exposed brick walls to the steel beams worked to create a great manly atmosphere.

In the background you can see the Happy 30th sign we (and by we I mean AMY) put up! This is Steve getting his gift. The three of us decided to get the boys all the same thing, they got a 4 pack of the DJS custom homebrew, two REALLY nice cigars with matches, a tall pilsner glass, and a card from all of us. I'm pretty sure that was a manly, fun gift that they all enjoyed!

Here are the labels for the homebrew! I made one with Jon's picture, one with Steve's and one with Dave's, the rest of the information on there is the same on each.

This smile made all of the sneaking, all of the hard work, and the long hours totally and completely worth it. Happy 30th Love! Hope you enjoyed it!!


Emily said...

It was a damn good party. And I'm impressed that no one found out about it beforehand (even if that meant getting yelled at by Steve for not saying anything).

Ashley said...

Ok that is just plain awesome.

Kim said...

What a fantastic idea!!!! It's perfect for my hubby, we just moved to a new base and it would be a great way to celebrate his birthday and get to know the men in his company! thank you for posting!

Oh, and how do you make the Kaluha pudding shots? They sound really good!

Michelle said...

There are lots of recipes online for the pudding shots. You can also use Baileys, but we used a small box of chocolate (instant) pudding, half of the liquid was milk, the other half Kaluha, then we folded in a tub of cool whip. Then we put them in a gallon Ziploc bag, cut the corner off and piped them into the shot glasses. Super easy and YUMMY!!

Be Brave, Keep Going said...

visiting from One Prety Thing...what an awesome b-day party idea! I love it! And everything was done so creatively!

Unknown said...

seriously, my husband would love this! great idea!

Anonymous said...

My husband will be 40 and was think what should I do. Sure glad I saw your idea. Now, I have his party set! Thanks!

Tania said...

Your party concept utterly rocks and your attention to detail was impressive! I've been trying to think of a testosterone themed party for DH's 40th and I may be borrowing heavily from your great ideas. You all are some seriously awesome wives!

Jenn said...

This is, PERFECT! My husband home-brews with my dad & my brother-in-law, they could TOTALLY help me put something like this together. My hubs' 30th is this December and I've been looking all over for a good idea for his party. This is so great!! I hope you don't mind me borrowing & tweaking your idea a bit!! :)

This Confetti LIfe said...

Perfection! Absolute perfection!

Ann @TheAssetEdge said...

What a great idea!

Anonymous said...

Can you tell me where you got your personalized beer labels from. Thanks so much!

Michelle said...

Hi Anon, I just made them (if I had it to do over, I would have gone with the waterproof labels next time)

Antoinette said...

What an amazing party! I LOVE this idea.

I have been trying to plan a "beer themed" surprise party for my boyfriends 30th, but haven't fell in love with any ideas until now. My boyfriend is a homebrewer and it is his passion. It has become quite the hobby in our household.

You had a friend brew the beer for the gifts? I would love to give away my bf's brew, but I know he would notice bottles missing. I may have to figure that part out.

Antoinette said...

What an amazing party! I LOVE this idea.

I have been trying to plan a "beer themed" surprise party for my boyfriends 30th, but haven't fell in love with any ideas until now. My boyfriend is a homebrewer and it is his passion. It has become quite the hobby in our household.

You had a friend brew the beer for the gifts? I would love to give away my bf's brew, but I know he would notice bottles missing. I may have to figure that part out.

Heather said...

Looks awesome! I am hoping to do something similiar for my husband's 30th! Where did you get the tasting glasses??

Anonymous said...

I'm so doing this for my husbands Welcome Home/30th Birthday in the fall :) This looks like so much fun.

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