Crafty Combos For Chrissy Feasts

09.12.2020 by Craig Brown

When it comes to thinking about Chrissy dinner, I want the table to feel alive with flavour, which is why matching the right craft beers with the right food is always a big part of my hosting game plan. But with different people to cater for, how do you keep everyone happy I hear you ask.

Well, my advice is to keep things simple. Now, don’t get me wrong; simple doesn’t mean boring. Nobody could ever accuse me of pouring a boring beer! No, simple is about being smart and making sure you tick all the boxes.

The Crowd-pleasers 

For me, that means starting with the crowd-pleasers; the beers I know everyone will enjoy. Here, you can’t go past a super easy, super approachable Aussie lager like a Shackles, or a Little Creatures XPA, which is a tidy, tight and bright Pale Ale with hoppy aromas.

The Conversation starters

Once I have that sorted, I go on the hunt for something a little more distinctive; a beer I know we can share around the table as we would a good wine to spark a conversation, and which even the self-confessed ‘non-beer drinker’ in the group can have a sniff or little taste of. Here, I’m going a with a Panhead Quickchange XPA or a Malt Shovel Brewers XPA, both of which are flavourful beers, with luscious fruity notes.

Adding a Touch of Glass

To help create more of a sense of occasion around Christmas dinner, I find pouring a beer into a stemmed glass is a nice little touch. A simple wine glass will display all the beauty of that special beer. When pouring beer into a wine glass, be sure to remember these three points to really let the flavour and aroma sing; pour the glass half full for more aroma, pour the beer with plenty of foam for aroma and texture, and hold the stem low so you don’t warm the glass.

Crafty Chrissy Combos

When pairing craft beer with Chrissy food, I’m looking for classic combos that go together like Santa and his reindeer or Bruce Willis and a terrorist attack at the Nakatomi Plaza. So, here’s my list of top Christmas food and beer pairings:

Cold seafood/Oysters/Prawns/Cured Salmon - Panhead Pep Torque/White Rabbit Weisse-ling

For the same reason lemon brings a cold or raw seafood dish to life, these zippy sour beers can make seafood starters dance. If I’m hosting, it’s a sure bet my guests will be welcomed with Oysters. Of course, Champagne works for this pairing. But you can flip the script with one of these flirty beers that bring more to oysters than a shallot vinaigrette ever could.

South East Asian Style Salad/greens – Brooklyn Summer Ale

We Aussies love the fragrant flavours of Southeast Asia and they’ve become a popular addition to the Christmas dining table, where the pairing of a Brooklyn Summer will compliment all those heady floral aromas.

Roasted Pork or Turkey – White Rabbit Grand Cru

Big bottles like the White Rabbit Grand Cru are fun to share around the table and there’s always a little cheer when the cork is popped. It’s fizz and acidity make it the perfect beer to cut through the fattiness of a pork roast, and its juicy flavours mean you’ll have no need for the fruit that is traditionally served with these meats.

Trimmings for the Roast (roast vegies/potatoes/gravy) – James Squire Jack of Spades Porter

Look, I admit it, I’m guilty of filling up on sides. And if roast potatoes sound like the ‘main act’ to you, then you can’t do much better than James Squire Jack of Spades Porter. The rich charry kind of ‘brown bits’ in the corners will hit it off with the soft layers of malt flavours in your favourite porter.

Christmas pudding – White Rabbit Dark Ale

Christmas Pudding has enough gooey, spicy, rum and raisin goodness to dominate most beers, so I choose to close out the afternoon with a graceful dark ale with highlights of toast and dark skin fruits. Then I fall asleep on the couch!

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