Options for pairing beers with holiday fare

Also available in Monday Magazine, originally posted on November 27th, 2019.

As year-end nears and the shift to the holiday season begins, family and friends will gather for dinner and drinks with invitations that often come with the question of what to bring.

While the tried and true gift of a bottle of wine is still a nice touch, it’s a tradition easily re-energized with some amazing local beers instead. With so many amazing styles of beer out there, making sure your pairing goes well can be tricky. But if you’re unsure, the key to every good pairing is intensity. By matching intensity between the food and the beer, it ensures neither will overwhelm or fall flat, and the flavours can then be used to resonate, enhance, or contrast the pair.

Saisons are a great option to go with any meal, and one of the best in B.C. is the Loral Saison from Île Sauvage Brewing Co. This rustic style tends to be nicely carbonated, helping to cleanse the palate, and this BC Beer Award-winning choice offers herbal notes and character from the barrel that match up perfectly alongside the savoury flavours one would expect with a classic turkey dinner.

If turkey’s not on the menu, then a nice roast ham is always a possibility. The sweet and salty notes from the meal are just pleading for something a little richer, with a little more body.

Hoyne Brewing’s recent release, Bier Garten Weizenbock, is a great option with the beer’s sweetness both resonating with the caramelization of the ham and contrasting the saltiness at the same time.

Unfortunately, not every invitation includes a hint at what’s for dinner, so choices become a bit more difficult. In those cases, relying on something that will go great with an after-dinner treat is a great option, and can lead you right back to some great seasonal classics. Vancouver Island Brewing’s Hermannator Ice Bock is built for this occasion, with its rich warmth, and notes of chocolate and coffee to go along with so many delightful desserts.

Just remember, whatever you bring, drink it responsibly, make sure you get home safe, and enjoy your holidays wherever you are.

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As we enjoy the holidays, be sure to keep those who manage and work at 4 Mile Brewpub in your thoughts. The unfortunate fire that took place will leave the pub and restaurant closed into at least early 2020. The brewhouse is still open, so a great way to support them until then is to enjoy some of their beer over the holidays.