White elephant parties are a goofy holiday tradition, but for your beer loving friends, getting a crummy bottle (even as a gag) is really no joke. Instead, host a White Whale party: Not every beer will be a sought-after rarity, but everyone will get a taste of something delicious.
1. Send your guests a broad list of beer categories with creative descriptions (think: Hella Hoppy, Boozy ‘n’ Barrel Aged, Holiday Nice Spice, and Super Sour). You should also have a Wild Card designation, which can be a catchall for any other specialty beers. Ask each of your guests to buy one or two different largeformat bottles that fit into those categories.
2. Select a colored ribbon for each of the categories: Hella Hoppy is green, Boozy ‘n’ Barrel Aged is gold, etc.
3. Ask your guests to pre-wrap their bottles, and when they arrive, have them tie the appropriate ribbon around each one.
4. Place the name of each of your guests into a bowl, and draw them one at a time. As each name is drawn, the guest can select any bottle. If they brought two bottles, run through the names twice.
5. Have your friends unwrap the bottles as they select them, and track what each guest has received.
6. After all of the bottles have been unwrapped, allow for a trading period, where your friends can swap bottles to get something they may like better.
7. At the end of the exchange, ask the group to decide which beers are the “white whales,” or the best beers of the night. Remind them that this is the season of sharing… time to pop the coveted ones open and pass them around! Do this until everyone has had their fill, even if it means all of your guests go home empty-handed.