Florida Beer for Christmas Dinner
Every beer on the market has a contribution to make to Christmas dinner. The right beer with the right course… the combinations are limitless. That would be an easy article to write. Here the ante is increased when the beer must be from a state that has a small number of production microbreweries, distribution that does not bring every beer to every part of the state, and a large number of people who enjoy beer, namely, Florida.
Every beer in this article was produced in Florida, by a different microbrewery, in a different style. Each course of the meal will be met with a different beer from a different Florida brewery. Limit one beer per brewery (alternates are listed with each course).
First Course- Salad Course with Saint Somewhere Saison Athene
This course will be a salad, any salad with Tarpon Springs’s Saint Somewhere Brewing’s spicy, versatile Saison Athene. A saison is a Belgian-style farmhouse ale. Historically a saison is low in alcohol, brewed with whatever spices are on hand, and versatile enough to be enjoyed with almost any meal. This saison is brewed with chamomile, rosemary, and black pepper. This beer will complement most salads, and add some spiciness to the meal. (Alternately try Cigar City’s Guava Grove Saison)
Second Course- Cheese Course with Dunedin Brewing’s Piper’s Pale Ale
This course will involve cheese (preferably cheddar or an equally sharp cheese) paired with Dunedin Brewery’s Piper’s Pale Ale. A pale ale will have less bitterness than an India Pale Ale and the hops in the beer will not necessarily overwhelm the sharpness of the cheese. This beer traditionally has a fair amount of hops that will pair nicely with the sharpness of the cheese. Some crackers added to the mix can help the palate adjust to the hops. (Alternately try Cigar City’s Jai Alai India Pale Ale or White Oak India Pale Ale)
Third Course- Turkey with Cigar City’s Bolita Double Nut Brown Ale
This course will pair the turkey with a deep, dark, nutty Double Nut Brown. This beer has a lot of malt and nut character that will play nicely with a basted turkey. This beer’s dark side will play up the roasted notes of the turkey and the turkey will accentuate the beer’s nutty notes. Be warned, this beer is seductive: it is a 9% alcohol beer that tastes like a 2% alcohol beer. (Alternately try Saint Somewhere’s Lectio Divina)
Dessert Course- Chocolate with Gordash Brewing’s Mack In Black
This course will feature Gordash Brewing’s Mack In Black Stout with anything chocolate. This stout is brewed with an addition of pomegranate to add a fruity quality to the finish of the beer. The first part of this dark beauty will play well with anything chocolate and the back end of this beer will complement berry fruits. This beer is not as heavy in body as a traditional stout or imperial stout and has the potential to be less filing, that is if a large meal full of good beer and good food has not been filling enough. (Alternately try Cigar City’s Marshall Zhukov Imperial Stout)
Whatever the beer choices for your holiday meal, the best pairings are the ones that you do not expect. The holidays are one of the best times of the year to experiment with beer and food pairings. There will undoubtedly be plenty of food, so try whichever beer you happen to have in your hand with a food you think it may go well with. If this combination works, tell someone. If it does not work, tell yourself to keep trying.
Cheers and Happy New Year!