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Post from Cheap Eats In Houston
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It's not easy preparing for a holiday. It's especially hard when your humble abode has been appointed as the gathering place for family and friends to ascend upon for a day of good food and a good time.

Decorations, menu ideas, grocery shopping, are just some of the items that will be checked off the to-do list, but don't forget about the wine and beer.

It may be tempting to go for the cheap bottles of wine or purchase cases of watered down beer, but it is the holidays, so more thought should go into what you serve your guests. After all, that chili recipe may be a crowd pleaser, yet it's not something you'd want to serve for a holiday dinner. There's a time and place for everything, and the holidays are a time to offer the best to loved ones and friends.

Need holiday inspiration on which sparkling bubbles, winter whites, warming reds, and seasonal brews to aid in entertaining company? Help is near. Houston area bars and wine bars are lending their expertise in sparking ideas for holiday entertainment, offering holiday wine and beer tastings, most under $20.

Join Bacchus At The Elysium for its first annual Holiday Market. Over 30 wines from various regions of France, Spain, and Italy will be available to guests for tasting. Like what you've tasted and think it'll be the bees-knees at your holiday shin-dig? Go ahead and purchase a bottle or two. The cost of admission will be credited towards your purchase.

Cost: $10

Thursday, December 8
5 p.m. - 9 p.m.

Bacchus At The Elysium
2502B Dunlavy
Houston, Texas 77019
(713) 529-2330

Northwest of the Beltway, is a bar located in a strip center serving an excellent selection of craft beers. It's name, The Backyard Grill. Just in the nick of time for the holidays, guests can determine what brews will win their friends over as they join in a holiday beer tasting being offered. Over 10 artisanal beers spiked with holiday cheer will be featured during the tasting, including Saint Arnold Christmas Ale, Shiner Cheer, Lump of Coal Dark Stout, and Rahr Winter Warmer. Space is limited. Reservations are required.

Cost: $15

Friday, December 9
7 p.m.

The Backyard Grill
9453 Jones Road
Houston, TX 77065

The aisles are decked with hops and barley as holiday beers hit the shelves at Whole Foods Market. Taste a select few during an after-hours Winter Beer Tasting at the Kirby location. Eight seasonal beers will be selected for sampling as a beer specialist leads the tasting. Beers will also be paired with cheese. Make sure to pay attention because there will be questions asked through a beer trivia. One lucky winner will receive a Whole Foods Market gift card. Space is limited. Reservations are required.

Cost: $15

Friday, December 9
9 p.m. - 10:30 p.m.

Whole Foods Market (Kirby)
2955 Kirby Drive
Houston, Texas 77098
(713) 520-1937

The Thanksgiving wine showdown is over, now it's time for the last winner take all tasting of the year at The Tasting Room at Uptown Park. Taste 8 winter wines during the bracket-style, Ultimate Holiday Wine Tasting. Decide which wines are the best and purchase a bottle featured at a discount. Purchase tickets to attend the tasting at any location, Max's Wine Dive, or online.

Cost: $30; $60 per couple

Saturday, December 10
2 p.m. - 4 p.m.

The Tasting Room at Uptown Park
1101 Uptown Park Boulevard
Houston, Texas 77056
(713) 993-9800

Whole Foods Market has forgotten about the oenophiles. The Kirby location is hosting a Winter Wine Tasting after-hours. Eight holiday wines will be paired with cheeses, as each wine is discussed in some detail by an in-store wine specialist. Space is limited. Reservations are required.

Cost: $15

Thursday, December 15
9 p.m. - 10:30 p.m.

Whole Foods Market (Kirby)
2955 Kirby Drive
Houston, Texas 77098
(713) 520-1937

What pairs well with a seasonal beer? Find out at The Ginger Man's Annual Christmas Beer Tasting. Craft beers, including local brews made in Houston, will be featured as Chef Angela Gaspard pairs dishes alongside the holiday beers. Space is limited. Reservations are required.

Cost: $35

Saturday, December 17
5 p.m.

The Ginger Man
5607 Morningside Drive
Houston, Texas 77005
(713) 526-2770

Additional holiday tastings to place on your calendar:

Every Saturday leading up to the week before Christmas Eve is The Tasting Room's Seasonal Wine Tasting. Held at the CityCentre location, taste seven wines paired with risotto from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. Admission is $20 and includes a complimentary Riedel wine glass.

The Tasting Room at CityCentre
818 Town and Country Boulevard
Houston, TX 77024
(281) 822-1500

All Tasting Room locations will host a Holiday Reds Wine Tasting featuring five for $10. Visit Uptown Park or CityCentre between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. to participate or the River Oaks location from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tickets are available for purchase online.

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