So we have come to the fork in the road…meaning…WHAT BOOZE AM I GONNA SERVE WITH DINNER!
This can be a tricky situation ESPECIALLY if you have no idea what people like or where their tastes lie.
I’m gonna be honest. And don’t let anyone in on this secret….If the booze is free and flowing, they will drink it. Simple.
So now that we have that figured out, let’s do some quick and easy holiday food and beer pairing.
I’m very elementary with how I pair food with beer on Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, Sweethearts Day or National Hat Day. Because of my low level way of doing things, I like to revolve everything around the oven roasted foods. So, I’m going to highlight the roasted character of both the foods and the beer and go from there. The Maillard Reaction is a type of non-enzymic browning that adds color and flavor to foods. The beers I have picked all have delightfully roasted grains or candied sugar added and all of the food on my holiday table will be delightfully oven roasted…minus any of the delightful stuff my Mom burned. 😉
Bier de Garde
The name loosely translates to “beer for keeping” or “beer for cellaring.” It’s medium bodied, malt focused and is bold enough to stand up to heavy foods due to being higher in alcohol and carbonation but, the flavor is light enough that it doesn’t overpower lighter dishes. Due to this profile, bier de garde is great with many different types of food regardless of ethnicity. It can also be pale to amber in color, depending on the brand and is very palatable.
Abbaye De Saint Bon-Chien – BFM (Brasserie des Franches-Montagnes)
Oro De Calabaza – Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
Farm Hand French Style Farmhouse Ale – Brewery Vivant (Some consider this a saison, others a bier de grade. On that note: Saisons are great with holiday meals as well!)
Dubbel or “double” loosely alludes to the strength of the beer. This beer originated in the halls of the Trappist Monastery in Westmalle. This stronger, darker brown or “bruin” ale came to be in 1926 and has been one of their most popular beers ever since. This is another beer that’s high in carbonation, so it also cuts through heavy greasy foods but is also perfect for side dishes since it is spicy, peppery and caramelly…just like your sweet potatoes or your brown sugar glazed carrots or your black-eyed peas or your cornbread dressing or your…where was I??? Oh yea…beer.
Westmalle Trappist Dubbel – Brouwerij Westmalle
Abbey Belgian Style Ale – New Belgium Brewing
Horny Monk – Petoskey Brewing Company
Pies, pies, pies and more pies. This is perfect for your sweet potato pie or your pecan pie or your pumpkin pie or your…here we go again. I must be hungry. Although not a wine at all, this beer reminds me of a dessert wine because it ages very well, is very high in alcohol and has notes of sherry, port and leather.
Third Coast Old Ale – Bell’s Brewery, Inc. Although this is considered an American barleywine, its taste is very much English-style. No hop flavor, carmelly, malty, sugary, sweet and delectable.
Bourbon County Brand Barleywine Ale – Goose Island Beer Co
Kuhnhenn Bourbon Barrel Barley Wine – Kuhnhenn Brewing Company
Now you folks know what to do this holiday season or what not to do…depending on if you trust me or not.
Bottom Line: No matter what beers you choose, pick ones that YOU love and that YOU will drink happily all night long. As I said before…if it’s free…they will come.