Monday 24 December 2012

Beers with Christmas Dinner

My favourite meal of the year is tomorrow! The fridge is bursting with food and the boxes of beer in the garage are constantly calling me. Here’s what I’ll be opening on Christmas day...

The sipping beer for the morning and during the cooking will be Kernel’s terrific Table Beer. I think I’m in love/obsessed with it. So light yet so excitingly overflowing with flavour and juicy hop aroma – my early Christmas present to myself was buying a bunch of these. I’ll probably also open a Thornbridge Tzara which is one of the best new British beers this year, I reckon.

Pre-dinner livener will be an appetite-grabbing gueuze. That brisk carbonation, the tartness and the dry finish makes me ferociously hungry. I’ve got a Drie Fonteinen that’s looking more delicious by the hour.

Starter this year will be pea soup. Simple: smoked bacon, leek, garlic, peas, water, thyme and mint. With that will be a Westmalle Tripel where the slight sweet sulphurous edge is going to mirror the depth of the alliums. It’s also another beer which I’ve come to love this year.

Main course is the full-on turkey experience. Bird, roast potatoes, every kind of veg you can fit on a plate, stuffing, pigs in blankets, gravy in the gaps. It’s a mountainous meal and a tough one to tackle with a beer... I reckon it’s the veg and gravy that you want the beer to match with. I’m going with Fuller’s Past Master’s Old Burton which is rich with nuttiness, there’s hints of chocolate, berries and earthiness, while staying wonderfully light and not overpowering  my gravy gets made with port so that's work wonderfully. 

Dessert is always Christmas pudding, obviously. Richly fruity, boozy and bolstered by brandy butter, you need a big beer to handle it. I’ve got some BrewDog Tokyo* or Black Tokyo Horizon which will be up for the job. Port-like, deep with chocolate and dark stewed fruit plus an uplifting floral backnote which keeps it fresh.

Then after dessert I flop onto the sofa with a packet of Rennie – anyone who gets out a cheese board at this point is an obscene food pervert. Maybe later in the evening I’ll go back for some more Table Beer or just grab random nice bottles from the cupboard. Or, more likely, I’ll move over to wine when I visit the in-laws.

Merry Christmas!

(Top image from here)


  1. Haven't quite decided my Christmas day beers yet, but have plenty to choose from. Will almost certainly go for Fullers 1845 with the turkey, but have some rather special beers to choose from as well. Will probably just see how the mood takes me.

    Have a good Christmas, Mark.

  2. good celebration
    Have Drie Fonteinen waiting as well, plus Andechser Doppelbock, Wild Beer Epic, Tornado and a Gale’s 2005 Royal Navy commeration beer as well as St Austell’s Bad Habit at my local, and a 20 year old port — Thursday awaits… happy Christmas Mark, looking forward to your book

  3. You've just reminded me Adrian, I've got an Andechser Doppelbock tucked away in the shed, along with several other similar beers.