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How to Throw a Backyard Party Inspired by IPAs

Bring the crowd-favorite brew center stage this summer.

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An image of a flight of beers in mason jars. Photography by Lagunitas

There’s nothing like the sound of cracking open a cold IPA in the thick heat of August. They’re the supporting act to our summer celebrations; you stash your cooler with a 6-pack before heading to the beach, have a can in hand while working the grill, they’re as reliable as sunscreen on a hot day. But if you consider yourself a true hop head, why not bring IPAs to center stage?

Now’s your chance because August 4 marks a special day for this brew: IPA Day. Hop in on the fun by hosting your own celebration. There’s no need to get too elevated with it; the great thing about this beer is that the style ranges across hops, aromas, and flavors, appealing to all types of drinkers. To help you out, we’ve created a how-to party guide for IPA Day for you and your friends. We’ve lined up everything you need to make this day one for the summer books, with easy tips and a few handy tricks up your sleeve. (If you missed the big day, don’t sweat — there’s still plenty of time to party before summer ends).

Ask everyone to bring their favorite brew

If there’s one thing an IPA day party needs, it’s — you guessed it — beer. Ask everyone to bring a 6-pack of their favorite IPA to share, and grab a few options of your own to put out. Look to IPAs that range in hop levels: Of course, there’s the classic crowd-pleasing IPA — like the highly drinkable Lagunitas — but for those wanting a variety that’s still light, crisp, and hoppy, pick up Lagunitas’ DayTime session IPA. Or if you’re looking for something more vibrant and citrusy, try the tropical Hazy Wonder, and if you dare, reach for a Maximus Colossal Double IPA.

Pick out a complementary playlist

Succumbing yourself to becoming the party’s resident DJ while coordinating the entire thing is one job too many. And as much as you’ve convinced yourself that you have top tier taste in music, your friends might be on the fence. Ease up on the hosting duties by settling for a pre-made playlist. Choose one that channels the silky smooth vibes of the party, like this one from Lagunitas. Want something more upbeat? Press play on this mix, or if you really want to get into the whole theme, this playlist has 42 hits all about beer.

Canned beers lined up in front of the Golden Gate Bridge. Photography by Lagunitas

Don’t forget the games

No party is complete without the games. But IPAs are made for sipping, not slamming, so play a game that highlights the beers that everyone brought, like a blind taste test. Ask everyone to pour a sip of the beer they came with in a cup — one for each guest — line up all the options, and rank them. The person who brings the crowd-favorite IPA wins and gets to take home some beer-themed swag, like this Mason Jar pint glass or a deck of playing cards. With any summer party, lawn games are a must. Turn your standard game of cornhole into canhole by swapping out the bean bags for empty cans of IPAs. (Pro tip: put a recycling bin underneath to help with the cleanup.)

Serve food that pairs with hoppy beers

If you want to make hosting easy on yourself, throw some sausages on the grill. Spice-forward German sausages, like bratwurst, complement the hoppy wheat ale flavors of Lagunitas’ A Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’, while a ballpark-style hot dog is the perfect pairing for Lagunitas’ well-rounded IPA. Aside from the food on the grill, you’ll want carb-forward options. Keep a few bags of chips handy, place out salty pretzels and a steaming bowl of lemony boiled potatoes. Don’t forget the dips! They can even double as a condiment for the sausages. And if all else fails, just order a few pizzas.

Say goodbye with to-go packs

When the party starts to wind down, don’t let your guests leave without grabbing something to go. To keep on theme with the entire day, create DIY-style packs of IPAs with all of the beer that’s left lying around. Save your 6-pack carriers, stock up on a few of these cardboard bottle holders or go the old-fashioned route and hand out brown paper bags. Days later, when your guests crack open one of the cans, they’ll be reminded of the fun that went down at IPA Day.

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