Looking for 3 food friendly beers to offer at a Dec. wedding reception. Assume the audience has wide ranging tastes. I would like to stay under $20 for 12 bottles. Nothing so small that I wouldn't be able to find it in Minneapolis. Thanks!
1.Fig & Roasted Shallot Tapenade with Crostini
2. Mixed Nuts: Ginger-scented pecans, curried macadamias, sweet-and-spicy almonds
3. Cheese plate with fruit and sliced baguette
4. Latkes with sour cream, lox, apple sauce & caviar
5. Wild Mushroom & Gruyere Crostini
6. Apple & Gorgonzola mini-turnovers
7. Grilled Vegetable Platter with a balsamic reduction
8. Mashed Potato Bar
9. Pork Tenderloin with herbs served with dried cherry & sage marmalade
10. Chocolate cake with ginger mouse and chocolate ganache frosting.
Good witbiers include Avery's White Rascal, Ommegang's Witte, Ballast Point Wahoo Wheat, and Hoegaarden from Belgium.
For the sweeter beers, I'd look at Sam Smith's Oatmeal Stout. If you have access to New Glarus beers from Wisconsin, their Belgian red w/ cherries would probably work well, too.
The closest source for New Glarus would be across the St. Croix River in Hudson, WI. New Glarus Brewery does not distribute outside Wisconsin. That far from New Glarus I would suspect you may only find Fat Squirrel. That would be about a 60 mile trip since I live on the west side of the Twin Cities but I have been thinking about making the trip out of curiosity.
I hope you do better than the standard fare of Bud Light and Heineken that seems to dominate wedding receptions.
I really wouldn't get too wild (or too specific) with the suggestions (may be difficult to get the more obscure beers in mass quantities). I'd suggest that you get the best available example of a lighter and a heavier style beer to cover things. I furthermore would lean to the more approachable of each. So I'd suggest for my lighter style the best German or Czech style pilsner/ lager you can get (e.g. Spaten Lager). And for my heavier I would suggest the best oatmeal stout that you can get (e.g. Samuel Smith). And I'd offer as a third selection something a little more challenging for any possible beer geeks but nothing hoppy (hops like fried, greasy foods of which I see none on your menu). So last I'd have an English Pale Ale (lighter and maltier that the American style yet still assertive). My suggestion would be Fuller's London Pride (if you can get it) or the next best thing.
I like the idea of a seasonal beer, but OSA tastes like gnawing on the actual tree, in my experience. The only ones I've enjoyed were ones that folks had put up for a few years to let the spices mellow out some.
Otherwise, I'd go for a malty winter beer from a local brewery. Deschutes Jubelale or Anderson Valley's Winter Solstice are along the lines of what I'm thinking about.
So, maybe something light, something hoppy, and something warming.
We had a similar party (anniversary) not too long ago and we served Summit (Extra Pale Ale, Pilsner, IPA, Porter, and Oktoberfest). Surprisingly, the Pilsner was served 2:1 over the the Extra Pale Ale. We liked the uniformity of the labels, the Minnesota connection for the out-of-town guests, and the beer is pretty darn good. Not to mention, I was able to get the beer from the same place with ease.
Swing by Surdyk's and chat up one of their beer guys.
I agree with Zander that you have Summit or August Schell available in town for several types of tasty beers. They are inexpensive (as compared to Ommegang, which is "imported" from New York State). They are pretty much universally liked in the twin cities area. They are pretty good examples of their types (e.g. their EPA is a very good pale ale). Definitely want some pilsner, Summit EPA or Schell Firebrick, and maybe something a bit heavier, or seasonal for a "dessert" type beer - such as Summit Winter Ale or Schell's Winter Storm.
There are more complicated options in town as well. For example, Surly and Town Hall both sell growlers to take away, but that will probably prove more expensive and there's the issue of pouring from the growlers vs. a guest simply grabbing a bottle of beer.
Good luck, and best wishes to the new bride and groom!