Christmas Day. A day filled with presents, family, food and beer. A day when my favourite meal of the year is served. A day when an appropriate beer is needed to go with the meal. A day when it’s fine to open a bottle of something nice at 9am and carry on going straight through to passing out in the evening. A day to look forward to each year.
Breakfast is for coffee stout. Something tongue-coating and thick, rich and warming. Any Mikkeller Beer Geek will do the job and set you up for a day of fun. Between breakfast and dinner is a free-for-all before the turkey comes out and gets carved beside a vegetable mountain.
Roast turkey and all the trimmings is a fun challenge for a beer. What you want is something that’s full of flavour with enough booze to give body and sweetness; not too much bitterness as it’ll kill the vegetables and enhance their bitter edges; sweetness is key to buffer the richness of the food; a little spice or Christmassy depth of fruit cake work nicely with everything on the plate. I haven’t decided what’ll be on my dinner table yet but I’ve got a few choices...
Fuller’s Vintage 2010. A fruity-nuttiness plays with a dry bitterness and plenty of malt depth to deal with whatever your fork brings. Any other Vintage would also work very well but there’s something nice about having the 2010 before the year is out (this Vintage is also ready to go right now).
Chimay Blue. This is what I had last year and it’s a winner. Dried fruit with hints of festive spice and an uplifting carbonation. It works so well and the beer’s available in Waitrose so easy to get.
Adnams Sole Bay. A big, fancy bottle, handsome on the table and something a little different. I haven’t tried it yet but I’ve got one in waiting and it sounds like a great beer to try with dinner – Belgian-style, little spice, fruity esters, Nelson Sauvin hops.
Goose Island Sofie. One of the Belgian Goose Island beers, this is 6.5% and aged in wine barrels with orange peel so what you get is a dry, almost-tart beer with a big depth from the orange but also vanilla and body from the barrel it’s matured in. It’s the white wine alternative; it’s also a great beer.
Marble Chocolate Dubbel. What a beer. Spicy yeast, lots of chocolate, lots of body to chase down those vegetables. A richer, darker choice but a good one if you’ve got a bottle hanging around and fancy something different.
I don’t do beer with Christmas pudding. By that stage I’m more stuffed than the turkey was two hours earlier. Later in the day the bottles come back out again, but this year I have no idea what and I’ll be grabbing them depending on what I fancy.
Beers for the turkey: what have you got? And do you have a breakfast beer planned in?