Jackie Dodd / TheBeeroness.com
Let’s be honest: you aren’t going to pair a different beer with each dish on your holiday table. Who's got the time (or money) for that? Instead, select a beer that’s able to play nice with everything from garlic mashed potatoes to your grandma’s Jell-O salad. To do that, we recommend arming yourself with a few helpful tips:
- Give the hoppy beers a rest today. Go for malt-forward stuff.
- Prioritize carbonation. It will aid in palate cleansing between bites.
- Think of the dominant flavors on the table, and try to find a beer with flavors that match some of those in the dishes.
- Don’t be afraid of higher alcohol.
- Choose a richer, maltier beer to pair with dessert, and a lighter bodied, higher carbonated beer to pair with dinner.
Now that you have those handy pointers rattling around the ol' brain, here are four beer styles we think will be delicious with your next holiday dinner. And we’ve included a few recommended beers that will make sitting next to your loudmouth uncle slightly more tolerable.
Here’s to making it through the holidays with a beer in your hand!
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These crowd pleasing beers won’t overpower any flavors on the table, and will even be palatable for the non-beer-fans (do those people exist?!) at your holiday feast. The nice levels of carbonation will provide a palate cleanse for richer foods. Notes of cloves, coriander, and citrus should mesh well with the flavors on your table.
Recommended beers: Avery Brewing White Rascal, Brewery Ommegang Witte, Hitachino Nest White Ale
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These rich, malty beers lend some beautiful flavors to any cold-weather dishes you’ll be serving. From dark fruits and nuts, to deep molasses and brown sugar notes, this is a beer style that can compete with even the most prominent holiday dishes.
Recommended beers: St. Bernardus Prior 8, The Lost Abbey Lost & Found Abbey Ale, New Belgium Brewing Co. Abbey
Here we have the bass players of the beer world: often forgotten and unappreciated, but can step up and get the job done when necessary. They’ll even drive the van when on tour. Perhaps that last metaphor doesn’t apply to the beer as much. More often than not, these beers are brewed with a hefty malt backbone that’s cut by hops -- but not enough to wreck your palate. We bet you’ll love the warm, rich flavors of nuts, caramel, and toffee.
Recommended beers: Big Sky Brewing Co. Moose Drool, Dogfish Head Brewery Indian Brown, Rogue Ales Hazelnut Brown Nectar
Bière de Garde
An effervescent carbonation and notes of light fruits, toasted malts, and a bit of breadiness allow this beer to pair perfectly with everything from dinner rolls to turkey legs. It has a versatility to take you from appetizers to pumpkin pie without palate fatigue, and it’s also an easy beer for people new to craft beer to fall in love with. Like your super annoying Uncle Paul: Every time he takes a sip is one more moment you don’t have to listen to him speak. Cheers!
Recommended beers: Schlafly Biere de Garde, Lazy Monk Brewing LLC Biere De Garde, Brasserie de St Sylvestre 3 Monts