The best beers for Christmas day
4 November 2015, By Bryn Fowler
Christmas beers go far beyond spiced ambers and imperial stouts. When you’re preparing for the full chaos for the extended family you’re going to need something to get you through the day, as well as provide a delicious night cap once everyone else has gone to bed.
Here are our favourite beers come Christmas time, from festive breakfast to a Boxing Day hangover cure. For our mixed Christmas cases, click here!
A fantastic and unique Belgian tripel, brewed in Belgium but finished in France, where it is bottle conditioned with Champagne yeast and treated like a bottle of Champagne, with the traditional turning of the bottle as it conditions. The result is that it lifts the bready, spicy triple and enhances all those apple-y spicy notes, adding a grape-like aroma and deep, dry finish.
WHEN: Brilliant as an alternative to Champagne with breakfast, and even makes a great bucks fizz!
In our family the drinks don’t stop flowing, so we may be only just out of our PJs but as we unwrap the presents we’re still on the sauce. Of course, you’ll want something light and Fourpure pils is crisp, refreshing and reassuringly hoppy.
WHEN: All morning, before lunch
Matching a beer with Christmas dinner is nigh on impossible. With all the different flavours going on and endless different sides there are few beers up to the task of matching them all. I have always gone for a saison – it’s light so it doesn’t over power, but a good one has enough spice and dryness to cut through almost anything. Saison Dupont is yet to be bettered.
WHEN: Turkey dinner
Apparently some heathens don’t actually have turkey on Christmas dinner, so if you’re one of them I sincerely hope you go for a big old ham. Why? Firstly because it’s the next best thing, but also because a marmalade glazed ham with a big, pithy double IPA is heaven on a plate.
WHEN: Lunch, if you don’t like turkey
I honestly believe there isn’t a wine in the world that could match the sheer richness and booziness of a well-made Christmas pudding. But there are literally hundreds of beers that can. Most Belgian quads or sweet imperial stouts are up to the job, but I chose Rochefort 10 because it’s got all those dates, prunes and bananas but also strong carbonation that will lift the stodginess.
WHEN: Christmas pudding time, right after your dad nearly sets fire to the table
Perhaps the trickiest time of the day is the early afternoon, battling to stay awake as all the blood rushes to your digestive system, and the Queen bores you sober with a load of drivel about what us normal people should do next year. What you need here is something exciting, not too heavy and importantly not too alcoholic so you don’t end up shouting at Mel Gibson in Chicken Run.
WHEN: The afternoon lull
And now my favourite time of Christmas day. The old folks are snoozing, the board games abandoned and the fire is crackling. This is when I crack open my Unser Aventinus, a gorgeous raisin-y and datey doppelbock, and pour it into a brandy glass to sip by the fire. Whilst doing so I contemplate the big issues of the world – do I have a man crush on Ryan Gosling; can I recycle used tissues; is granddad sleeping or dead?
WHEN: Once the fire is lit
It wouldn’t be Christmas without a Christmas beer, and this is my absolute favourite. It’s best enjoyed once everyone else has gone to bed and you’re trying to ignore the fact that it’s all over for another year.