Have you thought about what you plan on drinking through the holiday season? While champagne, wine and spirits seem the easy choice have you considered adding beer to the menu? With the variety of styles and flavours available our foamy friend fits perfectly into any seasonal scenario. Below is my guide to help you through anything thrown your way.
One or more holiday parties will be scheduled into your calendar whether you like it or not. Work functions, distant family reunions or friends trying to show how super organized they are will add pressure to your time and waistline. Tables laden with creamy dips, mountainous trays of cheese and crackers, and any deep fried or baked finger foods that was pinterest-able this year. Your best beer for these events (if alcohol is permitted) would be wheat beers, Witbiers and saisons. With a higher carbonation they help scrub the fat from your palate and are refreshing enough that you won’t feel weighed down. A bonus is a lot of these beers have natural flavours of orange, clove and coriander; very festive.
Try: Side Launch Wheat, Blanche de Chambly
You have spent all day fighting the crowds. It was probably too cold to leave your coat in your car that you had to park a mile away and carrying it is impossible since you have hundreds of shopping bags straining your fingers. When you get home the best beer to crack open will be a nice, cold crisp pilsner, kolsch or Helles. And knowing you lunch was missed so the beers’ lower alcohol percentage will not knock you out for the day. Because you know those presents won’t wrap themselves.
Try: Creemore Springs Lot 9, Muskoka’s Kirby’s Kolsch
The first snow fall of the year is always the prettiest. The tenth? Not so much. Nevertheless you are obligated to build a snowman/ice skate/ shovel at least once this season. Don’t worry there is a beer perfect for afterwards. You can grab a hot chocolate and sit by a warm fire, but better yet grab a stout or porter that will have similar dark chocolate, creamy flavours. Not a fan of the roasted, coffee-esque bitterness these beers can have? Then try a unique Flander’s Reds with its port and sherry like characteristics. Sit swirling it in your glass while you book a Mexican getaway for January.
Try: Black Oak Brewing Nutcracker Porter, Duchesse de Bourgogne
Holiday Family Dinner
A big meal calls for a big beer. The complex flavours of a Belgian Dubbel, Tripel or Quad are a perfect complement to the complexities of the 2 kind of meat, 3 forms of potatoes, 5 different stuffings, and 12 side dishes. Orange, cloves, banana, white pepper, caramel, dark fruits, plums, and figs are all flavours you can find in these beer and with alcohol percentages reaching upwards to 10% dealing with the family just got a whole lot easier.
Try: Le Trappe, Chimay Red (Premiere)
New Year’s Eve
You made through to the other side of the holidays and this day is all about celebrating your survival. Bypass the punch bowl and drink one of the many fruit beers out there. Flavours can range from raspberry to apple to apricot. Or instead of grabbing that glass of bubbly pour yourself a glass of Geuze, the champagne of beer. Effervescent, crisp and with hints of grape and apple it makes glass clinking even better.
Try: St. Ambroise Apricot Wheat, Oude Beersel Oude Geuze
*All of these beers can be found at the LCBO