Tuesday, 6 December 2011

3 beers of Christmas Dinner or The Non-Stop Rise of Beer Part 2

This post is for brookstonbeerbulletin.com/the-sessions/ A collection of beer bloggers, who once a month write on a chosen subject. This is my first post for them and further evidence of my growing interest in the world of beer. The subject is loosely based around the 3 ghosts of Christmas, my own thoughts lead as ever to how this relates to food.

Christmas day is about family, presents, soppy films, booze and as much food as you can possibly handle. Therefore I've switched my ghosts from Past, Present and Future to Starter, Main and Dessert. After the day time grazing of scrambled eggs and smoked salmon, chocolates, mince pies and for some reason un-shelled nuts (even though the rest of the year they come conveniently shelled, salted and ready to eat.) You come to the main event, the meal of the year, Christmas dinner.

In previous years, this would have been a time to select your favourite wines, sparkling to fortified to white to red to fortified, back to red, back to fortified and so on. However, this year there could be an alternative. Beer. A meal (which effectively continues throughout the rest of the evening) which holds more calories than would normally carry you through a week and a drink with each course. So how would a beer convert plan this event.

To start - With the ensuing pork and poultry based onslaught of Christmas dinner, there really is no need for a starter, simply an aperitif, a palate sharpener that will help your taste buds experience everything put forwards. For me this year it will be Marble and Dark Star's collaboration, Saison. Dryness lifted with the characteristic Marble hit of hops.

The main event - I'm very traditional when it comes to the Christmas dinner, pigs in blankets, stuffing with sausage meat, sprouts, roasted carrots, roasted parsnips, roasted potatoes, cranberry sauce and a huge turkey. This is rich, slightly sweet and packed with different flavours. Therefore I'll match this with Liverpool Organic's Imperial Russian Stout. A slight sweetness, full body, but enough alcohol to cut through the different meats.

To finish - Christmas pudding and cream. A dark, rich, sweet pudding with a load of alcohol added at the end to finish it off. Hardknott have over the last year become one of my favourite breweries, and their new Vitesse Noir (a triple stout made with chocolate, vanilla and espresso coffee beans) has the strength and sweetness that will match this most decadent of desserts.

There is my dinner paired with 3 of my favourite beers, I'm sure I'll experience a number of new beers, new breweries and new styles over the next year, but these will make this a very happy meal. As the Shiel tradition states, I will then disappear into the lounge to drink Port, eat Stilton and fall asleep in front of this years film; but some traditions should never be lost.