Let’s face it – your game night sucks. It doesn’t suck, you say? Let me guess… you guys pig out on cheetos and bad pizza and get grease and cheeto dust all over the pieces while you drink whatever was cheap that week. Yeah, your game night sucks. Allow me to present a better option.

There are a few key tricks to running a successful beer tasting. Good glassware is a huge one. Ditch the plastic cups, and have some good glasses on hand. Either have a variety of nice logo ones, or plain, but for crying out loud don’t just go to Target and grab the four pack of Corona glasses. They don’t have to be expensive or fancy, but if it looks cheap, it will feel cheap (both IKEA and Target have very inexpensive, logoless glasses that are perfect). If you have any good breweries in the area, or have visited some and have glasses from them, even better. Bonus points if they are all in the freezer before hand.

Plan your game well – either a game that plays quickly, that you can play a few times (Catan is pretty great, in my opinion) or a longer game that you can have a couple breaks in the middle of (D&D or other RPGs, an apocalypse game of 40k with 4+ players, that sort of thing). The more you – the host – have set up in advance, the better everyone’s night will be. Sending out invitations with instructions and rules on them is totally optional, but if you’re doing a special game day instead of a regular one it can be fun.

Now, the actual tasting: instruct everyone to bring a six pack of their favorite beer. ‘Favorite’ is key here; this isn’t where you need to show off how much of a beer snob you are. Bring your favorite beer and don’t judge anyone else for what their favorite is. Don’t just drink it, instead serve it in flights. Pour glasses of the same beer for everyone, and have whomever brought what is being served tell why they like it. If they have a good story to go with it, even better. Plan the breaks in the game, either at a convenient turn or time depending on the game, and serve the next flight of beer.

A word of caution: this isn’t about getting drunk. Enjoy the drinks, the games and the company. Don’t suck the beer down and move to the next. Everyone will have a better time that way.

Happy gaming (and drinking!).

Dean Richard is the author of the 3024AD series, a science/speculative fiction series of short stories and novels. Short stories can be read for free and you can follow him on Twitter