March 21, 2011

Notes on a Brew Day for Somebody Else's Wedding, Pt. 1: Selection International Argentine Malbec

Image from
Yup. I brewed a wine. A double batch, actually. On a weeknight. In between putting the kid to bed and washing the dishes and amidst racking a Dortmunder. Gotta love wine kits!

But let's begin at the beginning: this post is going to be the first in an ongoing series about brewing (or vinting, if you must [get it?]) for an occasion. I have undertaken to provide the adult beverages for my cousin's wedding this fall. To date I've brewed (and vinted, if I must) for three other weddings, including my own, and this time I thought it'd be interesting to document the process and compare notes with others who've done the same.

So: Malbec. I like Malbec just fine, but the reason I'm making a double batch of this particular kit for the wedding is because my cousin and her fiancee spent a year traveling together in South America, working on organic farms and vineyards before returning to the midwest to start their own farm, and Argentina got stuck in their hearts.

Awww ... isn't it cute when the airlocks bubble at the same time?

Also on the docket for the reception: by request, a rebrew of last year's biere de garde that Cousin Rachel quite liked, and a to-be-determined crowd pleaser of some stripe ... I'm thinking a Kolsch, or maybe a blonde ale with some fruit from their land. Look for posts on these brew sessions in the weeks and months to come.

So, for those of you who have (or are planning to), what did/will you make for your occasion, and how did it go over?


  1. I'm planning on making some beer for my sister's wedding this fall. She and her fiance both love craft beer though many of their friends are prefer "regular beer". I'm planning on making and bottling something that I can cellar now for at least 6 months, and then kegging a selection closer to the occasion. I'll definitely need a crowd pleaser too, then probably I'll go for something hopbursted or wet hopped with a friend's homegrown hops, a wheat something or other, a nice toasty porter (it'll be fall!) and maybe a biere de garde or Oktoberfest or something like that.

  2. I'm actually brewing this weekend for a wedding in which I am the best man. I'm brewing a Belgian Dubbel from the Northern Brewer Kit. The plan was to brew something that they could enjoy on their wedding night, cellar, and enjoy again on their one year anniversary. Even though the Dubbel won't be very high in ABV, I still think that it will weather the year just fine.

  3. I just finished formulating a Mild Brown recipe for my buddy's wedding in June. He's currently crushing on a beer in that style, so I thought it'd be fitting to brew one up for him. It's probably more for the bachelor party than the wedding, but the wedding was my muse nonetheless.

  4. My older brother and his wife are fans of wine, so for their wedding I made two batches of wine, a reisling and a merlot. Both were from kits and were pretty simple to make. I borrowed a filter from my homebrew shop and was given a double lever corker (which I still have).

    The venue for the reception would not let us serve the wine or even put it on the tables, so we gave a bottle of each to everyone that came to the rehearsal dinner.

    I heard stories several years later about people serving it at dinner parties. That made me pretty happy.

    My brother and his wife took the remainder home with them, and they still open a bottle every year on their anniversary.

  5. Not for a wedding, but for a wedding gift: I brewed some prickly pear mead with local honey for when my two best friends got married to each other, and gave them four bottles worth (she is not a very big fan of drinking, she's gluten intolerant, and she hates bubbles, so mead it was!). 1 bottle for the honeymoon, 1 bottle for the 1 year anniversary, 1 bottle for the 5 year, and 1 for the 10. The honeymoon bottle went over very well, but they haven't reached the one year yet; I'll be sure to check in when they do!

  6. I brewed up a custom Oatmeal-Amber Ale for my cousin's wedding last fall...went over very well! We'll see how the 1-year bottle goes down in October....

  7. I'm in the process of bulk aging/souring a batch of Oud Bruin for a very good friend's wedding. It'll only be for the wedding party, though, not the entire guest list.