Signature wedding cocktails are so last year. Now that craft beer is becoming more and more ubiquitous -- and beer lovers are meeting and marrying over pints -- it's about time a wedding package included the chance to brew your own custom wedding beer.
Enter the crafty planners over at Four Points by Sheraton LAX -- aka L.A.'s beer hotel -- who are now selling their Hoppily Ever After offer, which allows couples to connect with a local brewer and get hands-on by making their own wedding-day beer. It's the first of its kind that we could find anywhere in the country.
Here's how it works: Similar to meeting with chefs to get the right reception food and florists for those perfect bouquets, the custom wedding beer first requires couples to get to Enegren -- a nanobrewery in Moorpark -- for a consultation with the brewers. They tell them what style of beer they're interested in, what ingredients and flavors they want and the brewmasters draft a recipe that will make it happen.
The future bride and groom show up on brew day and help make their beer on Enegren's tiny pilot system. Then they come back a few weeks later for a final tasting session before approving it as reception-ready.
Around three kegs of the finished product are purchased from Enegren by Four Points and the cost is incorporated into the wedding package, just as any other beverage would be. Voilà. DIY wedding beer.
The hotel's general manager, Phil Baxter -- who also made the decision to open a craft beer bar in the hotel an unheard-of 13 years ago -- got the idea for what is being called "brews and I do's" while at Sierra Nevada Beer Camp last year, when he watched a San Diego brewer make a Big Day IPA for his wedding.
"Wouldn't it be cool if you could combine the Beer Camp experience [of collaborating on a recipe and participating in production] with customizing a beer for a wedding?" Baxter asks.
Finding a local brewery that could help him with his idea, however, was easier said than done, since most produce batches that are far too large to finish off during a private party. El Segundo would have been ideal because of its proximity, Baxter says, but Enegren's nanobrewery status won it the pitch, since its small size allows it to make just the right amount.
The package isn't exclusively being offered for weddings, either. Four Points can connect you with Enegren to make a special beer for any occasion held at the hotel, from reunions to holiday parties.
"We wanted to do this also to promote our event facilities. A lot of people don't think about the airport for a wedding place, but transportation is easy and we have this beautiful outdoor pool," Baxter says. "We were already known as the beer hotel, so this is just another part of that position."
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