As the Yule holidays approach you may be planning big meals and family feasts, looking for something a little special to serve, searching for the ideal drink to delight and surprise. Matching moments and meals to drinks is great fun - really. Remember when that meant having to serve fizzy wine as an aperitif, white wine with fish, red with meat and sweet with sweet? All that has changed - now you can choose from a vast array of styles and strengths of beer, each presenting its own unique flavour contribution to the enjoyment of your meal.
It just so happens that I have here in my shop a range of beers ideally suited to various organoleptic tasks. Allow me to make some suggestions:
Classic aperitifs: we have gueuze from Boon and Girardin for lovers of the tart, sour style. If your preference is fruitier I'd point you towards the Framboise (raspberry) and Kriek (cherry) from the same breweries. Keeping it local, you'd favour of course Gadds' # 3 Pale Ale. I myself will be serving De Molen's Amerikaans, a 4.5% highly hopped (but not bitter) pale ale from the Menno in the low countries and Orval, brewed in heaven.
Fish dish: Saison Dupont is hard to beat but I'll be serving Blanche du Hainaut with a little oak smoked salmon.
White meats: if you didn't serve Kriek as an aperitif, now's the time to crack a bottle open - intense, tart, cherry fruit flavour would work better than any cranberries. Alternatively, the more subtle, classy Guldenberg would sit nicely alongside.
Red meats: unapologetically powerful Batch One, from Denmark, has a place on any red meat lovers table but I'll be serving 'No Tomorrow' with our mushroom/nut roasty thing.
Pudding: Banatana would be fun with vanilla ice-cream, though we'll be having Dogbolter Christmas Pudding and it would be rude not to serve Dogbolter with it. You might prefer any of the strong stouts I have here, including the wonderful Amager Imperial Stout, Dark Star's IPRS or Midtfyns Imperial Stout.
Post prandial: why not kick back with a glass of De Molen's Turfbock or Bloed, Zweet & Tranen and enjoy the parlour games with a grin on your face? I will.
All these beers are great served in wine glasses at the table and sufficiently tasty for you not to need a lot. More versatile, and much more affordable than wine, beer is the best accompaniament to food, any day.
Come down to the shop, mention this blog and along with an expertly crafted Yule selection to suit your particular gastro-needs I'll knock 10% off - valid until 25th December, 2008.
Can't say fairer than that.