With just a couple of days to go until Christmas, thoughts have turned to gorging on the year’s best meal and chucking obscene amounts of booze down our necks. While most will opt for a straightforward glass of plonk to accompany the festive dinner, some dads fancy a proper beer to wash down our turkey and sprouts. But if you’re unsure which beer goes with each course, beer sommelier Ed Hughes gives his tips on the best beers to pair with your Christmas dinner.
Starter: Seafood – pair with Sharp’s Pilsner
Pilsner is a pale straw beer with a herbal lemon aroma. In the mouth the beer is crisp and light with clean fruit notes. Its lighter taste perfectly complements more subtle flavour such as oysters, crab or shellfish.
Why is it perfect to pair with a seafood starter this Christmas?
“It is well carbonated,” says Ed, “meaning it can be used as a great alternative to prosecco or champagne. The pilsner is crisp and lighter tasting, and when served in a champagne flute, can challenge perceptions of how beer can be enjoyed.”
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Main Dish: Turkey with stuffing and roast potatoes – pair with Staropramen
The traditional, balanced Czech pilsner has a hoppy and subtle fruity aroma – and a refreshing, well-balanced and smooth taste. Staropramen can be enjoyed on its own or as a delicious partner to hearty meat – including, of course, stuffed turkey.
Why is it perfect to pair with a turkey and roast potato main this Christmas?
“The ‘maillard reaction’ – a chemical reaction that gives a ‘brown’ or ‘burnt’ aspect to food, and is responsible for the characteristic smell and taste associated with roasting – will give the turkey and roast potatoes a sweet and caramel-like taste, a taste that goes perfectly with the malty sweetness of Staropramen. Staropramen has enough bitterness to cut through the fats and softens the full flavour of the turkey. The flavours associated with a classic roast such as rosemary and garlic pair perfectly with Staropramen and it will also compliment the bacon lardons often added to brussel sprouts.”
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Dessert: Orange Pannacotta or Cheesecake – pair with Blue Moon
A modern craft beer, Blue Moon was first brewed in Denver by brewmaster Keith Villa in 1995, after returning from trip to Belgium. It was given its name after Keith found that “a beer this good only comes around once in a blue moon”.
Why is it perfect to pair with a dessert this Christmas?
“Inspired by Belgian wit beers, Blue Moon is served with a Valencia orange peel which brings out sweeter notes, that are perfect to accompany this classic dessert,” says Ed. “Blue Moon is zesty and has a tangy flavour that goes very well with any citrus-based treat and its full body from the addition of oats in the brewing process offers more depth of flavour, making it perfect to enjoy alongside a dessert like an orange pannacotta or cheesecake. Blue Moon is characterised by its smooth finish so is perfect to enjoy at the end of a meal.”