Sierra Nevada Celebration
Rogue Yellow Snow
Rogue Santa’s Reserve Ale
Samuel Smith’s Winter Welcome
The easiest way to handle the need for beer at a holiday open house is to have a cooler containing a few different commercial lager/ale options for people to grab when they want one. You might have 3 or 4 rooms of different people doing different things and letting your guests decide when and what to grab makes things less stressful for you.
For dinner time pairings I have had great success with two styles of beer. Belgian/abbey ales and freshly hopped unfiltered pale American ales. I think both of these beers have different food pairing assets.
A Belgian white is creamy and has some spices to match with almost any food. A maltier Belgian beer with a thicker body can easily handle roasted meats, squash and stuffing. Some unique aromas from Belgian yeasts can liven up different pairings. The Brooklyn Local 1 is a food friendly Belgian-style from NY. Chimay makes several abbey and Trappist style beers that should be easy to find and great matches with an array of holiday dishes.
Sebago Brewing from Portland ME, makes a Local Harvest Ale in this style using freshly picked hops. It is aromatic, very flavorful and very refreshing. The Rogue Captain Sig’s Northwestern Ale is a bit bigger, but still a hop monster just in a brown ale form. This will appeal to heavier beer drinkers, but still provide that sold pairing foundation.
If you are looking for an innovative way to get your beer drinkers involved in cocktail hour, consider making shandys. A shandy is a blend with ale that might contain lemonade, lemon/lime soda, ginger beer or other sweet and sparkling beverage. The results can vary. Generally it turns out to be a malty, bready drink with some more citrus and/or spice and a bit sweet. Your choice of beer should be something with a light body, unfiltered and some hop influence, but not too much. Try a 2/3 to 1/3 ratio for first timers. If they like the beer better this drink won’t be a huge shock.
The painting above was painted by a friend of ours Meredith Ingersoll. We were drinking homemade cider up in VT and she asked to take one of the bottles home. She turned that bottle into a beautful painting. We have another of hers depicting a martini glass on its way.
Here are a couple of beers we tried recently that were fun with different foods:
- Fruili - imported from Belgium. It is a Belgian strawberry beer made with light malts, orange peel and spices. It is a light, sweet, berry flavored sour beer that matched flavors with Brie and Dubliner cheeses.
- Woodstock Inn & Brewery Wassail - I had to mention this beer because of my initial explanation of its flavors, bread pudding. We made pumpkin pies and that was similar in flavor to the beer, and enough to remember it! This beer would work with dessert even though it isn’t at all sweet; the spices should help integrate it a bit.
Holiday Pies - Post 2 of 4
Holiday Wine Advice - Post 1 of 4