Friday, 15 December 2006

Beer O'Clock: Christmas cheer

What to drink with your Christmas comestibles. Beer of course, but what sort? Stu from Real Beer is here to make some suggestions.

Christmas is upon us, a great time to bring home a selection of interesting beers to match with the different food you tend to eat at this time of year – from barbeques to banquets.

While the northern hemisphere sees a proliferation of dark and spicy Christmas ales to match their cold and dark climates at this time of year, our Christmas (hopefully) is full of sun and fun. This means we tend to drink a lot of pale lagers through this period. This year, I’ve been charged with supplying beers to match the in-laws' Christmas dinner, so I’m going to push their boundaries slightly, without scaring anyone who is used to drinking Steinlager or Tui. Too much.

First up: Invercargill Biman, from the huggable Steve Nally’s truly southern brewery, is not an easy beer to get hold of, but it will be a great partner to the old-school prawn cocktail starters. The fruity hop flavours and light caramel sweetness won’t overpower the subtle notes of the seafood, while the gentle bitterness and carbonation will cut through the sweet fatty notes of the mayonnaise based sauce. In the absence of the popular Biman (outlets can be found at the brewery’s website), Mac’s new Hop Rocker would fit the bill.

For the main: Founders Generation Ale, a hearty chestnut-brown ale from the Duncan family’s Nelson-based brewery, is the perfect accompaniment for the roast chicken. The caramelised sweetness of the skin will be complimented by the beer’s sweet biscuity notes and, at the same time, contrasted by it’s toasty background. The deeper nutty notes, coming out of the beer’s malty body, will be the perfect partner for roasted potatoes, parsnip, carrot and pumpkin. Most good supermarkets and bottle stores carry the Founder’s range, or you can find them in all trendy organic stores.

Lastly: an Emerson’s Dunkel Weissbier, from Dunedin’s highly acclaimed Richard Emerson, will match the rich Christmas pudding with brandy sauce. A dish this rich needs a beer of similar standing, and the Dunkel is spot on. Chocolate, caramelised banana and warming alcohol notes all abound on both the nose and palate, while the tart edged notes of the wheat, a light spice, and the lively carbonation, all combining in a lovely cleansing nature in the finish. Another difficult beer to get hold of, but good supermarkets and bottle stores will reward the dedicated beer hunter.

At the end of such a lovely meal I’ll sit back and think about the fabulous range of beers we have available to us in New Zealand. I might even finish the night with something a little stronger, like Emerson’s Bourbon Porter or a Chimay Grande Reserve, and think about what “Beer O’Clock” 2007 might hold in store. What a grand thought.

Slainte mhath, Stu

LINKS: Invercargill Brewery
Founders Brewery
Emerson’s Brewery
More Christmas Dinner options – Beer&Turkey.Com

RELATED: Beer & Elsewhere

1 comment:

  1. With Christmas around the corner and my girlfriend's family over from Sweden for the occasion, what better time to stock up on festive Kiwi beers... Lining the capacious fridge and shelves of DenMT's lair one can currently find a hefty supply of:

    - Green Man
    - Taakawa
    - Emersons Pilsener, APA and Maris Gold
    - Founders Tall Blonde
    - Moa Original and Blanc (in those excellently festive corked bottles)
    - Tuatara Ardennes (plenty of...)

    ...and some other random odds and ends I have been collecting over the last few weeks. Whats not to love about this time of year...



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