With the holiday season fast approaching, it’s time to get cracking on meal-planning — even if you don’t feel quite ready, here’s a quick guide to make sure everything tastes great and pairs well with whatever you’re eating. This year, add an extra kick of flavor and interest to your meals by pairing your favorite holiday recipes with the perfect beers to match.
Here are a few pairings to help you get started.
It’s always a good idea to keep some snacks on hand when impromptu guests arrive. A classic cheese, cracker and meat plate is easy to put together at last minute notice. It also allows guests to nibble as much or as little as they please and pairs great with beers like Saison or American Pale Ale. These are known as barnyard ales, and their taste complements the strong flavors of pungent cheeses like Limburger or Camembert.
Appetizer dishes vary widely from one family to the next. From meatballs to chips and dip to seafood, what you serve might run the gamut of the culinary scene. But what will you serve to drink? Pilsner goes great with light foods because it’s a pretty hoppy lager with many of its floral and spicy flavors. Porter beers, with their roasted flavor, work better with smoked foods, like oysters, nuts and sausages. Depending on the hors d’oeuvres you serve, you might have several beers on hand with suggested food pairings arranged near the appropriate beer.
For Thanksgiving dinner, you’ll be combining a number of textures and flavors — from turkey to cranberry sauce to stuffing — and your beer will be the overarching theme that ties them all together. You’ll need one with strong enough carbonation and alcohol content to stand up to the richness of the fare, while not overwhelming your palate. Look for a nice amber ale which, with its caramelly, bready flavor and fruity aromas, will fit right in with the other autumnal flavors on your plate.
Ham is a staple holiday main course with so many interesting recipes to try. Whether you cure it, broil it, glaze it or all of the above, you can’t go wrong with the hearty taste of ham paired with a nice brown ale. Brown ales are known for their interesting aromas that often combine chocolate, fruit and cinnamon all at once. Brown ales also make for nice sipping ales after dinner is over and the family conversation moves naturally from the dining table to the porch or the living room.
This classic holiday dessert deserves a classic beer pairing, but there’s more than one perfect brew for this pie. The most obvious match: pumpkin porter with pumpkin pie. With complementary spices and that wonderful pumpkin taste, you’ll be breathing holiday spices for days.
A more adventurous take on this classic would be pairing the spiced taste of pumpkin with the sweet smokiness of a Scottish-style ale. Give your guests options and have them vote on which pairing they like best.
The holidays are a great way to enjoy the best of times with families and friends. While a controversial political discussion may ruin everyone’s appetite, a great conversation on tasting notes and beer pairings are something everyone can stomach.
About Four Peaks Brewery
We started Four Peaks with one goal in mind: to craft exceptional beer and be able to share it with good people. That’s all, really. We have a passion for beer and an unwavering respect for what we do. We’ve met a bunch of great people who have become loyal fans and have been fortunate to win some very coveted awards along the way. Visit us online and see our process, our culture and why we are ‘Your beer, Arizona.’