22nd December 2019 by Katie Mather
Hello! I’m Katie. I write about beer for magazines like Ferment, Original Gravity and Pellicle, and I believe great
beer can pair with food as successfully and deliciously as great wine.
The year Jamie Oliver told millions of households to slather maple syrup all over their Brussels sprouts was a watershed moment in home cooking history. Nigella Lawson’s pineapple chutney has changed my Boxing Day leftover turkey and ham butties forever. Something I’ve been thrilled to notice recently is that our favourite chefs are also choosing beers to match their delicious home-cooked dishes. For me, great beer can offer just as much complexity and satisfaction as wine. So why not shake things up this year and try matching your Christmas dinner with some of the fantastic beers available at The Whalley Wine Shop?
Traditionally I’d welcome any guest stumbling through my Christmas Day door with a glass of bubbly. This year, however, I’m going to offer a flute of Burning Sky’s fresh, sparkling, dry-as-you-like Saison Été. Elderflowers bring light, apple-lime notes to the earthiness of this beer; it’s an easy-drinking but pleasingly complex flavour.
This light-on-the-palate beer pairs beautifully with potted shrimp because of its spicy notes that sidle up to the mace in the clarified butter. Coriander seed, white pepper and orange peel come through on the nose and in the aftertaste, and being crisp and light, it will cut through this rich dish perfectly.
Don’t be scared of the IPA! This fantastic example has fashionably low bitterness which pairs better with food. The gooseberry, apricot and melon flavours of this beer, combined with its curious white wineyness, make it an ideal match for a luxurious honey-drizzled fruit-and-nutty salad topped with sharp goats cheese or a rich camembert.
Are you like me and insist on having red wine with turkey? Good on you. This year, let me plant an idea in your head — swap your Pinot Noir for a Chimay Tripel. This robust beer packed with fruit and malt stands up well to the cacophony of flavours on any decent Christmas dinner plate. What’s more, its dry finish and balanced acidity makes it a great match for poultry and pigs in blankets.
Floral, grassy, herby aromas lift up from the beer’s frothy head, making it a perfect match for an earthy, caramelised main course. There’s a touch of honey here too from the heather, and a little peat for warmth. It’s light, crisp finish makes sure everything washes down easily.
And you thought the Cloudwater beer we had for starters had a weird name! This decadent beast of a beer pours out thick as cream, and tastes like Galaxy Ripples stirring a giant pot of molten Nutella. There’s a dab of cherry jam in there too, and I think it’ll pair beautifully with Christmas pudding, especially one spiked with plenty of citrus fruits.
Succession is a mixed fermentation beer made with meadowsweet and aged in oak; it’s complex, earthy and has a lip-smackingly dry finish. This one is great for ripe soft cheeses, standing up to their funk extremely well.
Rochefort 10 is often called the best beer in the world. Swap your port for some 10 and you’ll bring raisins, dates and deep liquorice to the cheeseboard, and bitter chocolate too.
Why not come pay us a visit and we’ll be able to find your perfect tipple! Want to get in touch? We’d love to hear from you! Message us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.