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Ultimate 6er | Beer Pairings for Your Holiday Dinner Party

Beer Pairings for Your Holiday Dinner Party
Katelyn Pelak

The holidays are the time to enjoy exceptional food, delicious beers and your favorite people – so why not combine all three this year? We’ve compiled the Ultimate 6er for holiday dinner party beer pairings, so break out your tastiest recipes and throw a party!

Course 1: Hors d’oeuvres

Light hors d’oeuvres should be served with your cocktail/beer hour, so it’s important to keep the beer on the lighter side in order to preserve your guests’ palates for later courses. While you can opt for a saison or a golden ale, the crispness and flexibility of a pilsner can’t be beat. The Prima Pils from Victory Brewing Co. fits the bill perfectly – the bready flavors are airy enough that they can be paired with most hors d’oeuvres, and the light body protects your guests from feeling full. The carbonated, floral finish leaves the palate feeling clean and refreshed.

Victory Prima Pils

Prima Pils – Victory Brewing Co.

ABV: 5.3%
IBU: 44

Course 2: Soup

For the second course, try a creamy cauliflower or fennel soup. Smooth vegetable soups pair well with dry, nutty browns such as the Best Brown Ale from Bell’s Brewery. The richer the soup is, the more robust a beer it can take. The Best Brown Ale is perfect for this course, as the toasted malt flavors provide a mildly bitter, dry finish that contrasts perfectly with the creamy soup base.

Bell's Best Brown Ale

Best Brown Ale – Bell’s Brewery

ABV: 5.8%
IBU: 30

Course 3: Salad

If using a vinaigrette to dress your salad, stick to a Berliner Weisse or hefeweizen. The fruity and spicy yeast notes of a hefeweizen like the Drunk Monk from 3 Floyds brings out the herbs in the vinaigrette. The Drunk Monk’s clove notes provide just enough acidity to balance the dressing’s spices.

3 Floyds Drunk Monk

Drunk Monk Hefe Weisse – 3 Floyds Brewing Co.

ABV: 5.5%
IBU: 18

Course 4: Entrée

Since it’s likely that your main course is meat-based and served warm, such a pork roast or honeyed ham, choose a beer that will enhance the common spices used in main dishes at this time of year – thyme, rosemary, and maple syrup are all common winter flavors. A great choice for pairing is the Deschutes Jubelale. Dried fruit and baking spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg are present throughout the beer but are never overpowering, allowing your guests to enjoy the depths of flavors in this beer while savoring the dish. The malt profile contains hints of caramel and nuts that are balanced by a slight bitterness throughout, making this beer an ideal match for your main event.

Deschutes Jubelale

Jubelale – Deschutes

ABV: 6.7%
IBU: 65

Course 5: Cheese

Try pairing a blue cheese like gorgonzola with a barleywine. A toffee-based barleywine provides a perfect balance for the salt of the cheese, creating a salivating salted caramel effect. Malt-heavy, rich barleywines like the Rogue XS Old Crustacean are designed for sipping and are perfect for a post-dinner pairing with cheese nibbles.  The sweetness of the barleywine will also prepare your guests’ palates nicely for the next course – dessert.

Rogue XS Old Crustacean Barleywine

XS Old Crustacean Barleywine – Rogue Ales

ABV: 10.6%
IBU: 110

Course 6: Dessert

Tradition dictates that a heavy, multi-course should be complimented by a light dessert. However, we think most would agree that the holidays are a time for decadence and indulgence, so for those of you opting for a rich dessert: try an imperial stout or coffee-heavy porter, depending on the richness of your chosen dessert. We like the Porter from Founders Brewing Co. The beer is complex, rich, and satisfying, and the mix of chocolate, coffee, and caramel malt flavors pair well with a wide variety of chocolate-based desserts. The velvet finish plays nicely with a chocolate cake or cocoa-based crust.

Founders Porter

Porter – Founders Brewing Co.

ABV: 6.5%
IBU: 45

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