Tips: Food and Beer pairings for ChristmasAnd Ale Roast Goose recipe

It’s that time of year again and I am busy getting into the Christmas spirit. Actually, at this time of year I am pretty much the opposite of everyone else. All my events calm down and I drink and socialise less than any other time of year than perhaps, January - although hopefully Tryanuary will encourage more (moderate) socialising in our pubs or get-togethers with friends over a few interesting bottles.

However, let’s talk more about the season of indulgence. Actually, beer is a good choice around this time of year, more complex and nuanced than wine and lower in alcohol, you can double your fun with your pairings to your Christmas food or the time spent with family and friends.

Personally, one of the things I love is the pomp of opening a champagne-corked bottle of beer, something with a bit fizz, acidity and pizzazz, for this you can look to some of your favoured lambics, which also go extremely well with oysters in my opinion, which is my favoured festive starter (and has also led to Christmas being known as ‘annual Melissa tries not to stab herself in the hand day!’). 

But it’s really the big event where your beer choice can make or break the event, so here are some tips around how you best pair some big beers for maximum effect.

Pairing tips

Generally, your pairing can be affected by your sides; not a fan of Brussels sprouts, or other bitter greens, you can choose a style with a bit more bitterness, like an American-style barley wine like the Kees take on it.

If you don’t have a sharp side dish like spiced red cabbage (and even then you can chance it if you, like me, have a love for acidity) then a complex barrel-aged beast like Wild Beer Co’s Modus Operandi, with complex oak notes and a subtle tartness.

If you’re not utterly overindulging with very fatty food then I’m particularly looking forward to Manchester-based brewery Marble’s interpretation of the classic Gale’s Prize Old Ale that’ll be out soon. If my sneak preview is anything to go by, I recommend the Madeira one highly. If you fancy something on the bigger booze heat side, then go with the Emelisse Barley Wine - if you’re going the whole hog, goose or turkey then maybe save those for the cheese later.

Christmas pudding, for me, is a near impossible thing to pair to because I simply don’t like it!

Christmas pudding, for me, is a near impossible thing to pair to because I simply don’t like it!

But my husband assures me that Fuller’s Golden Pride is an excellent pairing and, as it’s Christmas, I’ll bow to him just this once. Personally, I’ll take my Christmas pud in a glass in the form of Baladin Leon!

See, miracles really do happen around the festive season - I hope yours is a cracker and cheers!

Ale Roast Goose

Just before you panic and think ‘god, a goose, that’s huge and expensive!’ let me just say you can use it for a couple of ducks if you want; just use the same amount of ingredients as below, distributed equally between the two birds or, reduce the ingredients by half for just one.

And the duck version isn’t just for Christmas, it makes for a great entertaining dish too, freeing you up to spend more time with friends and family.

Also, don’t be afraid to add herbs or spices to this recipe, it’s incredibly forgiving. Fancy a bit of sage, go right ahead, maybe some cinnamon or chilli, sure, why not? Honestly, it’s just a canvas on which you can paint your own Christmas experience.

Ale Roast Goose recipe

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