Friends, football, beers and brats: It’s the perfect recipe for a Texas block party.
Written and styled by Morgan Stephanian, Photos by Ashley Kriegel
As a kid growing up in the 1980s, I remember my parents coordinating several old-school block parties in our cul-de-sac and neighbors bringing dishes to share. Now, my husband and I strive to know our neighbors and help bring our community together. As fall brings cooler temps and the onset of football season, I love to have neighbors over for informal evening gatherings, throw whatever is in the fridge on the grill and pull together impromptu meals. This year, we decided to kick off the fall season with a little neighborly yard-game competition and seasonal beer tasting.
I like to ask everyone participating to bring either a favorite and unique beer, or something they have never tried. (They get bonus points if they bring a selection from a local brewery.) To host a tasting, all you need are small cups, a good table to sit around or serve from and interesting beers with a variety of flavors and intensity. As a general rule of thumb, when hosting a tasting, use the color of the beer—from lightest to darkest—to guide the order of sampling.
Simplified: Provide cards for guests to jot down their favorite beers and, at the end of the tasting, vote who brought the best beer.
Next Level: Look up a description of flavors in each beer to read before each tasting.
Playing games at parties helps guests interact and break the ice. I like to post easy instructions and rules for each game near the area the game will be played for guests to reference.
Simplified: Pick up one or more party games from a local sporting-goods store. Cornhole and ladder toss are always favorites. They are usually inexpensive and will have easy setup and play instructions included.
Next Level: Customize your yard game by making a homemade outdoor scoreboard with chalkboard paint on a cement board. This can also be used to display the types of beer served for the tasting.
Seasonal beer for tasting
Pumpkin beer brats on a bun
Oven-roasted veggies on a stick
Salted caramel apple galette
Pumpkin Beer Brats With Sautéed Onions
2 medium sweet onions, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
2 bottles pumpkin or fall beer
- Saute the onion slices in olive oil over medium heat until they’re very browned, stirring every few minutes. Just before the onions begin to look burnt, add the minced garlic and saute on low for one more minute.
- Mix in the salt and pepper, then slowly pour the beer in while scraping the bottom of the pot to loosen all the browned, crispy bits.
- Nestle the brats into the onions and bring to a soft boil until they are cooked through, about 10 minutes. Move the brats around halfway through so they cook evenly.
- Pull the brats out with tongs and turn the heat to high to thicken the sauce, reducing it by at least half. Meanwhile, put the brats on the grill to brown the outside and get some grill marks.
- Once the sauce has reduced and the brats have been grilled, add the brats back into the pan to coat them with the sauce. Serve each brat on a bun and top it with the sauteed onions.
Salted Caramel Apple Galette
1 pie crust
1 large Honeycrisp apple, peeled and sliced
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup salted caramel sauce
1/4 cup pecans, chopped and toasted
1 egg white
vanilla ice cream
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, toss the apple slices in the cinnamon and sugar.
- In the pie crust, layer the apples in a circle, leaving 2 to 3 inches of space around the outer circle and the edge of the pie crust. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of the salted caramel sauce over the apples and then sprinkle 2 tablespoons of pecans on top.
- Fold the crust up over the edge of the apples to hold in the filling. Brush a bit of egg white on top of the crust to help it brown well.
- Bake for 25 minutes, or until the galette gets a golden-brown crust. Slice it into four pieces, then serve them warm topped with vanilla ice cream and drizzled with the remaining salted caramel sauce and toasted pecans.