May God give you heaven’s dew
and earth’s richness—
an abundance of grain and new wine.
When I was a kid, Easter was probably the biggest holiday in our house. My family would always get dressed up in our finest spring attire to go to church and then come home for the climax of the holiday—the egg hunt.
Talk about nostalgia. I’ll never forget the wonder and excitement of catching a glimpse of bright color in the distance, then running toward it like a crazed animal to snatch that precious egg before anyone else could. HA! It’s MINE!!! It was my time to be viciously greedy and hoard all the eggs I could get my hands on. ‘Cause that’s what Easter’s all about, right?
My sister and I took our egg hunts extremely seriously. Before the hunt we’d switch our church shoes for some performance sneakers to crush our competitors. And while my parents assumed we would some day grow out of this tradition, we only got more competitive with time. As a teenager I even got in trouble once or twice for playing dirty and trying to body-slam my sister out of the way to insure I came out victorious. What can I say? I like to win. Oops, I mean, the Lord is risen! Let’s be Christ like!
Besides fighting brutally for the win, there was another awesome part to look forward to—finding out what wondrous treasures our parents, er, I mean, the Easter Bunny, had left inside our eggs! We’d excitedly open those bright plastic eggs to sun-melted chocolate candies, pennies and ancient jellybeans, but we had the most fun with the notes and “coupons” our parents would leave for us. “Good for one trip for ice cream.” Hell yeah!!! “Good for an eternity of God’s love.” Ughh… “Come on mom and dad, we already have that!” we’d groan, feeling cheated and robbed.
Then there were the coupons we could redeem to have my dad do his famous Mighty Mouse call “here I come to save the daaaaaay!” or my mom’s demonic witch cackle, which, while not very Easter-like, required a lot of energy and never failed to leave us wide-eyed and clapping for more. As teenagers the coupons got even better, with things like “good for one free tank of gas” or “one oil change.” One year when my grandma was visiting, my parents invited her to write notes for the eggs, to which she mischievously inquired, “Can I write shove it?” They vetoed her first choice but things like “Easter Bunny better run, hunter’s coming with his gun!” still made it into the mix among messages like “He is risen!” and “Jesus loves you!”
About five years ago, about a week before my family’s Easter celebration (which obviously included an egg hunt), some friends invited me to something truly life changing:
AN EASTER BEER HUNT!
Wait, what? An Easter Beer Hunt? Is this possibly the greatest idea ever? Why, yes. Yes, it is.
The Easter Beer Hunt takes all the things I loved about the egg hunt and made them even better. Now instead of competing for plastic eggs filled with melted candy, pennies and messages of love, I was competing for delicious, cold beers! Not that messages of love aren’t wonderful. But you can’t really drink those.
Ever since that day I have been an enthusiastic advocate for this new tradition. Now it’s time for you to have one! Here’s a guide to throwing your own:
Here’s how the Easter Beer Hunt works:
- Each participant brings a six-pack or more of cold beer, preferably something unique and delicious. No Natty Ice, please. Maybe some friend with a good job will bring some fancy microbrews and high-class imports!
- Once all the beers are gathered, the organizer or “Beer Bunny” counts and hides them throughout the designated area (back yard, certain parts of the house, etc) while the sequestered hunters eagerly warm up for the competition. Beers can be hidden anywhere from bushes and grass to inside a washer/dryer or even under the couch or in the recycle bin. Get creative!
- Once all the beers have been counted and hidden, the Beer Bunny debriefs the hunters on the rules of the game, (no tripping, punching, clotheslining, etc) making clear which areas of the property are off-limits. At this point each hunter should have a bag or beer case to stash his or her loot. I prefer a canvas bag to ensure I have a place for as many as I can grab.
- Finally, the game commences and mania ensues. The crazed hunters scatter across the yard, snatching every beer they can while laughing and squealing with delight.
- Once it seems all the beers have been found, the hunters count theirs to compare with the original total. The game continues until all beers are found, although people are often unsuccessful at finding them all, and the host will likely find random beers in his or her yard months later.
- Time to party! Everyone sits back and relaxes, taking inventory of their loot and trading with friends (this is when the serious beer snobs show their true colors). The rest of the afternoon is full of springtime merriment—drinking, talking, and eating (have everyone pitch in for pizza or ask people to bring food to share).
While some people might throw a Beer Hunt on Easter Sunday (before or after the kids’ egg hunt), one can host this kind of party any time in the Easter season. It’s a great in-between-holiday to link St. Pattie’s Day and Easter! Just be conscious of the dangers of over-glorifying drinking around children, especially tweens and teenagers.
Reasons why I LOVE the Easter Beer Hunt:
- It’s a fun way to try out different beers without having to buy a whole pack of them. Check out the single beer section at your local liquor store!
- It’s a nostalgic activity that turns adults into kids again.
- It’s the ultimate way to celebrate the end of lent.
- It’s a competition in which the prize is BEER.
- It’s a great excuse to be outside in Spring.
- It extends the Easter season!
Hooray! Now someone please throw an Easter beer hunt and invite me! Please remember to drink responsibly and NEVER drive drunk! Seriously.
- Do a “soda hunt” instead of a beer hunt. Use unique and specialty sodas, flavored mineral waters and stuff like that. Virgil’s, Hansens, Pellegrino, etc.
- Mark one beer as the special beer, and give whoever finds it a special prize.
- Hide a few growlers among the other beers to really wow your guests.
- Invite people to bring other kinds of bottled alcohol to share. Mini bottles would be perfect for an adult Easter basket!
Some fun facts about beer:
- Beer is the world’s most widely consumed alcoholic beverage, and is the third-most popular drink overall, after water and tea. It is thought by some to be the oldest fermented beverage.
- Some of the earliest Sumerian writings contain references to beer; examples include a prayer to the goddess Ninkasi, known as “The Hymn to Ninkasi”,which served as both a prayer as well as a method of remembering the recipe for beer in a culture with few literate people.
You can make your own beer at home! Check out this website on how to do it: