Thursday 16 December 2010

Beer with roast turkey and all the trimmings

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?


  1. Starting the day with Mikkeller Jackie Brown and to the christmas table i think i go for Chimay red, at 7% abv im sure i wont miss Santa.

    Best regards David

  2. Sole Bay is the beer Iam going for myself... been saving it.

    but also got a Estrella Damm Inedit as a backup

  3. Ill be starting the day with a bacon buttie and a bottle of coffee based beer round at my parents, as i do every year this year it will be the beer geek brunch weasel!

    after that im not sure, ive got a few bottles i was saving for christmas day but i'll wait and see what i feel like on the day.

  4. The challenge of the Christmas turkey is a good and long running one for me. Recently I cracked it in a trial run and had similar ideas to you. For me, any Biere de garde like 3 Months. I used 3 Monts and it worked wonderfully.

  5. Stick me in the Beer-Geek-Brunch-on-Christmas morning list.

    If you can't open that beer on Christmas morning, when can you open it!

  6. Last year I pulled out Beer Geek Brunch Weasel but we ended up having Saints & Sinners Insomniac with our kedgeree breakfast.

    During Christmas dinner I've eyed up a 9 pint mini keg of Thornbridge Raven. And as I'm one of the few who'll be drinking beer that means lots of dry hopped black IPA goodness for me!

  7. I had an idea that Saison Du Buff would go well with Christmas dinner, but perhaps more of the same seasonings isn't sensible.

  8. when the mother in law arrives we're having brucj of scambled eggs with smoked salmon. they are on the bucks fizz but i'm being given the M&S belguim cherry wheat beer. do you think that would work???

  9. I think a basic old Saison Dupont is the way to go with turkey. I had that with turkey on our (American) Thanksgiving last month for the last two years in a row and it is just a great beer to go with the bird. Sometimes the classics are the ones to go with.

  10. I won't be having beer with my breakfast as I have to drive to my mum's, but I'll be starting with a mulled ale shortly after arriving.

  11. Last night, I was at the Westerham Brewery where they showcased lots of beers, including seasonals. They also served turkey baps, which was a perfect accompaniment to their Christmas brew, God's Wallop (it was definately the food accompanying the beer on this occasion, but bring o the 25th Feast!)

  12. Saving a bottle of Adnams Sole Bay for lunch and a bottle of Blue Moon for brekkie.

  13. Water.



    Don't want to talk about it.

  14. Some good drinking will be happening on Christmas day, it seems!!

  15. Ciggie and bucks fizz, followed by a hamlet and a paradox smokehead! Also, it's xmas nearly time for ab:02 and ab:04.