Pairing Beer with Christmas Dinner

Posted on December 17th, 2009

For many, Christmas dinner is one of most anticipated meals of the year. Full of good food and good company, this meal can be the highlight of the winter. Although wine is the beverage most often served with this meal, beer pairs well with many of the most common items on a Christmas menu.

When enjoying beer with a meal, there are some basic guidelines you should keep in mind. First, try and match the intensity of flavors. A big bold beer like an IPA or a barleywine will overshadow light flavors. Instead, try to keep your beers roughly as flavorful as the food you’re enjoying. It’s also a good idea to progress toward heavier, more intense beers as the meal progresses and not the other way around. A more delicate beer like a wit bier could seem off if you have it following an intense brew like a stout. The different food courses work the same way; this is why you begin a meal with lighter fare like salad and finish it with rich desserts like chocolate. For a more detailed primer on the art of pairing food and beer, take a look at our pairing guide.

For the Whole Meal – Biere de Garde – This rare French style is smooth and slightly buttery. It’s seen a recent resurgence from American craft brewers like The Lost Abbey and Jolly Pumpkin with their Avant Garde and Oro De Calabaza beers. 3 Monts from Brasserie De Saint-Sylvestre is the classic French version.

Poultry – Oktoberfest (Paulaner), Biere de Garde (3 Monts), Bock (Anchor Bock).

Red meat – ESB/English Bitter (Fullers).

Pork – Belgian Wit (Hoegaarden), Saison (Foret).

Sweet potato – Brown Ale (Newcastle), Pumpkin Beer (Dogfish Head Punkin).

Potatoes – Belgian Tripel (Chimay), Cream Ale (Sam Adams).

Stuffing – Rye Ale (Founder’s Red Rye).

Pie – Dunkelweiss (Weihenstephaner Dunkel), Dopplebock (Ayinger), Cream Ale (Sam Adams).

Green beans/veggies – Pale Ale (Sam Smith).

Cranberry sauce – Lambic (Lindemans Framboise).

Dessert – Christmas beers (Anchor Christmas, Affligem Noel) – We’ll have more on this style Monday.

What are your favorite beers to pair with food? Let us know in the comments or by tweeting your beer next time you enjoy it and adding the #mybeer hashtag.

Cheers and Merry Christmas!

  • Pingback: 10 Beers Perfect For Christmas – Beeriety()

  • alabibecia

    What about those [[like myself]] who eat chinese food for christmas because they’re single and live with their cat.

  • Sounds like you should grab one of each of these beers!