If the holidays snuck up on you this year and you've found yourself scrambling to build the perfect menu, we’re here to make the most important part of it (the beer) easier! While we’re not advocates of pairing beer specifically to what you have on your celebratory plate (because what perfectly matches turkey, cranberries, AND that weird thing your aunt makes), we do recommend having a few different styles on hand to please the beer lovers amongst you. Read on to discover what we’re bringing to the party…
We like to start out the festivities with a crisp pilsner or lager. Our favorite right now is the Prima Pils from Victory Brewing Company. The brewery describes this beauty as heaps of whole flower European hops and fine German malts. We say that it’s smooth, balanced, and the perfect way to get your taste buds ready for the main event! Longing for more adventure than a lager can provide? Saison Bernice from Sante Adairius Rustic Ales is delicious!!
Once the turkey hits the table, it’s time to bring on the brown ale. For years our go to has been Lagunitas' Brown Shugga’ Ale, though we might dig its 2011 replacement “Lagunitas Sucks” just as much. The newest object of our affection however, is Ninkasi’s Sleigh'r. It has the toasted malt flavor you want in a brown ale, but with a crisper finish traditionally reserved for lagers.
Second helpings of heavy side dishes go down a lot easier, with an IPA’s punchy hops thrown into the mix. We’re loving Deschutes Brewery’s, Chasin’ Freshies. Experimental hops from Yakima Washington, make this IPA one of the best we’ve tried since traveling North to Russian River Brewery, for Pliny the Younger earlier in the year. Fresh hops are rushed from vines to kettles, capturing the best from the hop flower. Bold, juicy, brilliant, but get it while it lasts, as this is a limited edition brew. Can’t find it? We like Bells Two Hearted Ale, and Sierra Nevada’s Celebration IPA, almost as much.
Someone once said, “If you eat pie first, you’ll always have room for it.” As it turns out, we’ve yet to encounter a time when the room couldn’t be made for pie, and we find it even more enjoyable when paired with a creamy stout. Deschutes Brewery’s Abyss holds our top spot for stouts this year. It’s aged in bourbon, Oregon oak, and Pinot Noir barrels, and is the perfect companion (or replacement) for custardy pies, and whatever sweet things you might encounter at the dessert table. Other solid options include Alesmith Brewing Company’s Speedway Stout, and Fremont Brewing’s Rusty Nail.
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