The best beer match with Christmas dinner
7 December 2015, By Jonny Garret
Beer and food matching is not an exact science. There are no rules, just guidelines. Like probably don’t have a stout with a Caesar salad, or a smoked beer with raspberry jelly.
But then there are some rules that are meant to be broken. Some IPAs are stunning with carrot cake, and kriek (cherry) beers are mouthwatering with goat’s cheese.
But the chaos really starts when it comes to matching a beer with a roast. There are so many components. Rich gravy, sweet vegetables, earthy potatoes and savoury meat. And that’s before you’re even talking condiments. With Christmas dinner that could be bread sauce, cranberry sauce, mustard… how do you come up with one beer that matches all of that?
Well we’ve cheated by asking all our favourite beer bloggers to tell us what they will be pairing Christmas dinner with. That way we don’t have to answer the question ourselves. We've also got someone else to come up with all the recipes, so check out Jamie Oliver's Christmas page!
Mark Dredge, author & blogger, pencilandspoon.com
I always go for a Belgian Dubbel or Quad - Rochefort 8 is a favourite. Christmas dinner is a massive plateful of different things and my approach is to pair the beer to the gravy. In my house we make the gravy with port so the dried fruit depth in the Dubbel works straight away, there's some festive spices in the beer, there's a strong malt backbone to handle all the big flavours, plus it's got a dry bitter finish which manages to keep it balanced. The beer can also carry on through to pudding and cheese.
Adrian Tierney Jones, beer, pub, food & travel writer, @ATJbeer
Orval with roast goose. Why? Because the carbonation scrubs the palate clean after each mouthful of meat and roast spuds while the citrus and Brett add an extra component of flavour to the dish, blending in and then branching out in a direction entitled gastronomic nirvana.
Steve Bentall, podcaster, Beer O’Clock Show
I'll go with the slightly obvious Weird Beard Black Christmas cranberry stout. The fruity cranberry flavours would work perfectly with the meat just like the sauce, while the dark, robust feel of the stout will complement the trimmings.
Jonny Garrett, broadcaster, The Craft Beer Channel
If we’re talking turkey I always have a spicy saison. It’s got the yeasty depth and sweetness to go with the gravy and veg, then the earthy spiciness to go with the meat and whatever else you throw in there, while the lively carbonation cuts through it all. I'd go for one with loads of depth of flavour, like Saison Dupont. There are even some dark saisons – that would probably be even better.
PJ McKerry, blogger, brewgeekery.com
I like a gammon joint as part of my festive meal, glazed with honey and mustard and studded with cloves - it is Christmas after all. When it comes to beer, my ideal pairing is Westmalle Tripel, which at 9.5% is robust enough to stand up to the seasonal swine. It’s syrupy sweetness complements the glaze and acts as a counter to the saltiness of the meat, while the spicy yeast notes find a partner in the cloves and the lively carbonation cleanses the palate. Perfect.
Picture: David Loftus, jamieoliver.com